Scott McTominay’s eighth-minute header was enough for Manchester United to overcome Aston Villa at Old Trafford and clinch an FA Cup fourth-round tie with Middlesbrough.
McTominay was given free reign to run to the edge of the Villa six-yard box, where he received Fred’s superbly weighted cross and steered the ball beyond Emiliano Martinez.
The goal sentenced Villa manager Steven Gerrard to an uncomfortable return to Manchester, where he was taunted by home fans for his Liverpool loyalties.
The outcome, though, was extremely severe on Gerrard and his teammates. Twice in a matter of minutes early in the second period they had the ball in the United net, only for both to be ruled out. The second was a straightforward offside goal against Danny Ings, albeit the flag was not raised until after Ollie Watkins had put the ball in the net.
However, the first was far more debatable and involved a lengthy wait for the video assistant referee to ask Michael Oliver to make the final decision by consulting the screen, the referee eventually ruling Jacob Ramsey was offside and impeded Edinson Cavani in the build-up.