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An early headed goal by Scott McTominay proved decisive for Manchester United as they held on by the skin of their teeth to beat Aston Villa 1-0 in an absorbing FA Cup third round tie at Old Trafford.
While victory was a welcome relief for United manager Ralf Rangnick, it was a performance that showed just how much work he has to do if United are to challenge for silverware.
Villa will wonder how they bowed of the competition after responding to McTominay’s eighth minute opener with a dominant display, striking the woodwork twice, forcing David De Gea into several saves and having two goals disallowed.
McTominay glanced in Fred’s curling delivery to give the hosts a flying start, but from then on they struggled to contain a lively Villa side who played the better football.
The reward for 12-time FA Cup champions United is a home draw against second-tier Middlesbrough.
Man United vs Aston Villa latest news
DISALLOWED! Ings bundles in but it’s ruled out
WOODWORK! Watkins denied by the bar
GOAL! McTominay heads the hosts in front
Man United team news: Ronaldo not in squad
Aston Villa team news: Watkins and Ings start
Report on a nervy win for United
22:31 , Matt Verri
22:02 , Matt Verri
So, United do enough to make it through to the fourth round. Just. Middlesbrough at home is their reward for getting past Villa.
Ralf Rangnick’s side meet Villa again, this time away from home, in the Premier League on Saturday.
They’ll be looking for a much-improved display.
21:51 , Matt Verri
United hold on and they are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after beating Villa 1-0!
Villa pushed them really hard, and were probably the better side on the night. But they couldn’t take their chances, and that has cost them.
Rangnick’s side progress, and it’s Middlesbrough at home up next.
21:49 , Matt Verri
90+4 mins: Poor decision-making, and that could be that for Villa.
El Ghazi picks it up and jinks into the box, blazing over from the edge of the box. Tight angle, and he had Ings waiting at the far post.
21:48 , Matt Verri
90+3 mins: El Ghazi looking pleadingly for a free-kick, but he’s not getting anything for that.
Goal-kick United. Gerrard looks on frustrated, he knows his side deserved more tonight.
21:45 , Matt Verri
90 mins: Six minutes it is. That will encourage Villa.
Unfortunately for them, United have a throw-in and can kill a few more seconds.
21:44 , Matt Verri
89 mins: Konsa still down, blood coming from his nose. Definitely got caught by Shaw, but didn’t look deliberate.
Up now, fine to continue. You’d imagine there’s going to be a fair amount of added time, potentially as much as six or seven minutes.
21:42 , Matt Verri
87 mins: Corner Villa. Up come the defenders again.
McGinn to take... over everyone and out for a goal-kick. Poor delivery.
Konsa has gone down screaming, holding his face as he challenged with Shaw to get on the end of the corner. Referee not interested.
21:40 , Matt Verri
85 mins: Time for more subs.
Rashford and Fernandes off for United, Lingard and Elanga on.
Fernandes strolls across to give the armband to De Gea. United closing in on a nervy win.
21:38 , Matt Verri
83 mins: Glancing header from Ings, not enough on it though and the chance goes.
United break with Greenwood on the right wing. Has Fernandes in support, and they keep the ball. Happy to play at walking pace.
21:35 , Matt Verri
81 mins: Fred makes the run forward and Fernandes floats it towards him.
Brazilian is happy to slow things down, before knocking it off Ramsey to win United a corner. Fernandes takes the opportunity to tie his laces, hosts just trying to run clock down now.
Has Villa’s chance gone? Didn’t make the most of their earlier domination.
21:34 , Matt Verri
79 mins: Villa think Dalot has taken it out of play, but the linesman tells them it hasn’t.
Doesn’t matter too much, McTominay then sprays a pass straight out of play.
Villa make a sub, Buendia off for El Ghazi. He’s got ten minutes or so plus added time to be the hero for his side.
21:32 , Matt Verri
77 mins: United just slowing down Villa’s momentum now.
Isn’t that constant pressure that there was for the first 20 minutes of the second-half. United are just about sneaking through to the fourth round as it stands.
21:29 , Matt Verri
74 mins: Greenwood is suddenly away down the right, and he has Rashford in the middle.
Goes by himself though, Martinez saves his shot and the rebound is back out into the box. Rashford doesn’t get on the end of it though, because he’s moaning at Greenwood for not passing to him. Bizarre.
21:27 , Matt Verri
72 mins: Van de Beek on for United, replacing Cavani. Rare minutes for the Dutchman.
Looks like a 4-3-3 of sorts, with Fernandes through the middle, and Greenwood and Rashford either side.
21:25 , Matt Verri
71 mins: Watkins close again!
Villa are doing everything but score. The striker sends a brilliant curling effort towards the far corner, but it’s just wide of the post. Not sure De Gea was getting there.
21:24 , Matt Verri
70 mins: Just 37% possession so far for United. No control in the game whatsoever.
And they have another yellow card to add to the tally. Dalot goes flying in to challenge Targett, and he’s into the book too.
McGinn lofts it into the box, Cash wins the header but it’s eventually cleared.
21:23 , Matt Verri
68 mins: United racking up the yellow cards. Shaw can have no complaints either.
Ramsey gets to the ball first, and nutmegs the United left-back who brings the Villa man down. Into the book Shaw goes.
Villa want another foul from the free-kick, but it’s behind for a goal-kick.
21:21 , Matt Verri
67 mins: Brilliant strike from Cash, but De Gea is up to the task as he tips it behind for a corner.
Caught that really nicely, the Villa right-back. All Villa, but United are still somehow holding on.
That helps, McGinn’s corner straight into De Gea’s arms.
Ings thought he’d equalised...
21:20 , Matt Verri
Here's the VAR check, on what Aston Villa thought was an equaliser, in its entirety.
All 3 minutes & 45 seconds of it.
📺 Watch #MUNAVL on @BBCiPlayer and @BBCOne.#FACup #bbcfacup pic.twitter.com/RS9osiDXzJ
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) January 10, 2022
21:20 , Matt Verri
65 mins: Luiz goes down in midfield after a challenge from Fred, free-kick. And the Brazilian goes into the book.
Fred was leaning back as he left a leg dangling, and Luis was very happy to go over it.
Buendia to put it into the box... short to McGinn, who puts it in himself. Headed away.
21:18 , Matt Verri
63 mins: De Gea kicks the ball straight out of play, that’s not going to help United regain control.
Throw-in, and Varane completely misjudges the flight. Ings in behind, but his cross into the box is cleared.
21:16 , Matt Verri
61 mins: Wonderful ball over the top, Ings brings it down in the box but United scramble it clear.
They make a mess of that though and Villa come again. Buendia very nearly gets a shot away, but it’s blocked.
United cannot get out. At all.
21:14 , Matt Verri
59 mins: Great spell for Gerrard’s side. Ings played in and he sends a ball across the face of goal, but De Gea claims. Offside flag goes up.
Ings through again... dinked over De Gea and Watkins fires it into the net... OFFSIDE AGAIN!
Villa are all over United, but they can’t quite get that goal. Or at least an onside one.
21:13 , Matt Verri
58 mins: Great run from Ramsey takes him past the United shirt and into the opposition’s half. Plays it into Watkins who lays it back... Ramsey wasn’t expecting it though.
Villa win it back and they’re straight on the attack. McGinn wins his side a corner.
21:10 , Matt Verri
56 mins: Tempers boiling over, as Fernandes brings down McGinn. The Scotsman is demanding a yellow card.
He might be losing his head a bit, terrible tackle on Fred. He can be very grateful he’s avoided a booking there.
21:08 , Matt Verri
Well then. Michael Oliver is across to go and look at the monitor.
We’ve all of a sudden moved on from the offside, and we’re looking at a block from Ramsey on Cavani as the ball was swung in. VAR looking at everything!
GOAL DISALLOWED! Villa are not level.
21:07 , Matt Verri
Checking offside, checking handball. Villa may not be level.
Tough to tell if Watkins got a slight touch, which would probably mean Ings is offside.
Really long check...
GOAL! Man United 1-1 Aston Villa | Danny Ings 50'
21:05 , Matt Verri
Cash knocks it past Shaw, and the left-back brings him down. Free-kick.
McGinn sends it deep into the box, Konsa nods it back across goal... AND INGS TURNS IT IN!
Villa are level at Old Trafford! Terrible defending. VAR checking for offside though.
21:03 , Matt Verri
48 mins: Initially cleared, but it comes back to Greenwood on the right.
Cuts inside, perfect position for him on his left-foot. Doesn’t get hold of it at all though, easy save for Martinez.
21:02 , Matt Verri
47 mins: Poor pass from McGinn in midfield, straight to Cavani.
He plays it wide to Fernandes, but that isn’t a great ball either. The midfielder puts the ball into the box towards Rashford, cleared behind for a corner.
21:00 , Matt Verri
Villa get us underway for the second-half. No changes from either side.
20:58 , Matt Verri
Reminder that we will go to extra-time if it’s level after 90 minutes, and then penalties if needed. No replay.
United will be hoping none of that is necessary...
20:53 , Matt Verri
Lots to be encouraged by for Villa.
Watkins, Buendia, Ings, McGinn... they’ve all looked bright. The visitors have had the chances to get back on terms.
But United also look dangerous on the break. Rashford and Greenwood haven’t seen too much of it, but when they have burst into space they’ve been a threat.
Match is very much in the balance.
How McTominay gave United the lead...
20:48 , Matt Verri
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) January 10, 2022
20:44 , Matt Verri
Man United 1-0 Aston Villa
And that’s the end of a really entertaining first-half at Old Trafford. United very nearly doubled their lead right at the end of it, but Rashford’s attempt was cleared off the line by Cash.
McTominay’s goal the only one of the half. Villa behind, but they have arguably been the better side. Plenty for Gerrard to be encouraged by.
20:41 , Matt Verri
45+1 mins: Three minutes to be added on at the end of the half.
United with a good move, and it’s back to Fernandes on the edge of the box. Outside of the right foot, over the bar.
20:40 , Matt Verri
44 mins: It was too far for a shot, but that didn’t stop Rashford. Straight into the wall, barely got off the ground.
McTominay then sends a great effort at goal, brilliant technique on the volley. Martinez saves though.
20:38 , Matt Verri
43 mins: Buendia gives it away cheaply and United are off on the attack.
Wide to Shaw, with space to run into. Cavani and Rashford in the box, but ball in is too close to Martinez.
United then win a free-kick nearly 35 yards out, as Luiz brings down Rashford. Too far for a shot?
20:36 , Matt Verri
41 mins: Dalot’s ankle must be fine, because that was good defending.
Buendia makes a run in behind into the box, ball gets played in towards him. Dalot does really well at the back post to get across and get his body in to stop the Villa man getting on the end of the cross.
20:35 , Matt Verri
40 mins: More good goalkeeping from Martinez, as he comes to claim the corner. Looks to release it quickly... no Villa players have made a return.
Fernandes leaves something on Targett as he leans into him. Free-kick. Very nearly talks himself into the book too.
20:33 , Matt Verri
38 mins: Much better from the hosts.
Greenwood brings it forward on the right and lifts a ball into the box. Headed out to the edge of the box, but only to Fernandes. Catches it well, Cash is on the line to clear it.
Shaw then lets fly from 30 yards... wonderful strike, tipped over by Martinez.
20:32 , Matt Verri
37 mins: Greenwood with an awful pass to send Villa on the attack in United territory.
Great turn from Buendia into space, but he’s eventually crowded out. Fred wins a free-kick, and United can finally get it clear.
20:30 , Matt Verri
35 mins: Or not. Wan-Bissaka told to put his snood back on, Dalot is going to continue.
Finally we’ll get to this Villa corner. Ings makes a good run to the near post, and he’s completely free. Too much on the flick though and it’s over the bar.
20:29 , Matt Verri
34 mins: Dalot down getting treatment. Looks to be a fair amount of blood coming from his ankle.
Wan-Bissaka is getting ready to come on, doesn’t look like Dalot is going to be able to continue.
20:27 , Matt Verri
32 mins: United are hanging on for dear life at the moment.
Ball into the box from Cash. Targett heads it back across to Ings, and he lays it off to Ramsey on the edge of the box.
Strike deflects off McTominay and it flies just wide of the post. De Gea didn’t move. Corner Villa.
20:25 , Matt Verri
30 mins: WATKINS HITS THE BAR!
Wow, Villa should be level. Long ball and Lindelof takes an awful touch that lets Watkins run in behind.
The striker chops back inside and shoots on the stretch... beats De Gea, cannons off the bar. So unlucky.
20:23 , Matt Verri
28 mins: But United nearly double the lead at the other end!
They win it back in a really dangerous position after a poor pass from Luiz, and break with numbers.
Fernandes takes his time before playing Cavani in. Hammers it at goal, deflects off Mings... Martinez makes a good save.
20:22 , Matt Verri
27 mins: Lovely, lovely move from Villa.
Watkins and Buendia combine brilliantly on the edge of the box, and Buendia has space for the shot.
Decent strike, but too close to De Gea and he can save. Visitors building some pressure though.
20:20 , Matt Verri
25 mins: Greenwood blazes over with his right-foot, after a good run to get into the box.
Watkins then sends Varane tumbling to the ground with a nudge in the box. The Frenchman very much not impressed with that.
20:19 , Matt Verri
23 mins: Villa try and go long, but it’s over Ings and runs away.
United haven’t been able to offer much in attack since taking the lead. Rashford probably the brightest player for the hosts so far.
20:16 , Matt Verri
21 mins: Better pressing from United wins them the ball back in midfield.
Cavani tries to scoop a pass through to Greenwood, but he’s closed down himself. Villa have it back... neither side getting time to enjoy a spell of possession.
20:14 , Matt Verri
19 mins: United are a bit of a mess at the back so far.
So much space for McGinn to line-up a shot from 20 yards out. He goes to shoot about three times, but nobody comes to close him down so he keeps bringing it forward.
Eventually lets fly, great strike... De Gea saves well. Ings is offside from the rebound.
20:13 , Matt Verri
18 mins: Watkins wants a foul, Buendia wants a foul... neither get one.
Villa look dangerous every time they get forward, Gerrard will be encouraged by what he’s seen even though they’ve fallen behind early.
Surely more goals in this one.
20:11 , Matt Verri
16 mins: Rashford has started impressively, wide on the left. Cuts inside and fires a ball into the box... hits Cavani and bounces out of play.
Ramsey then brings it forward for Villa and tries to play it wide to Cash. Way too much on the pass, straight out for a goal-kick.
20:09 , Matt Verri
13 mins: Villa have responded so well to going behind.
Buendia works his way into the box as picks it up deep and drives past Fred. Then gets past Shaw far too easily, sends the ball across the face of goal... Ings can’t get there on the stretch.
It was definitely a shot, but very nearly found his teammate.
20:07 , Matt Verri
11 mins: Very nearly 1-1 immediately!
Villa corner is flicked on by Mings at the near post... Watkins diverts it wide from a couple of yards! Huge chance.
Replays show Lindelof got a crucial touch to take it off his foot. Great defending.
Ramsey then into the book for Villa. Brilliant pace to the game early on at Old Trafford.
GOAL! Man United 1-0 Aston Villa | Scott McTominay 8'
20:04 , Matt Verri
Played wide to Greenwood, and his first touch very nearly takes him past Targett. Villa man does enough though and deflects it behind for a corner.
Shaw takes it short, before eventually putting it into the box. Fernandes’ scuffs his volley, and it’s back out to the right wing.
Fred puts in a wonderful box, and McTominay sends a towering head past Martinez. Great ball, great header. United lead.
20:01 , Matt Verri
6 mins: Rashford urged to shoot from 25 yards out... does so. Blocked.
Falls to McTominay and he does the same. Better effort, but it’s a comfortable enough save for Martinez. Bright start from United.
20:00 , Matt Verri
5 mins: Shaw plays it to Fernandes, who has some space on the left wing.
Floats a ball into the box and Cavani is interested at the back post, but Martinez comes off his line to claim.
19:58 , Matt Verri
3 mins: Good footwork from Rashford as he comes off the wing and into the box. Gets past a couple of defenders, but nothing comes of it.
Villa then play it long down the line and Watkins can run onto it. Varane does well to win it back.
19:57 , Matt Verri
2 mins: Rashford playing really wide on the left, Greenwood similar on the right.
Fernandes tries to play a ball into the box, but Konsa comes in strongly to challenge him. Goal-kick Villa.
19:55 , Matt Verri
We are underway for the final time in the FA Cup third round.
United or Villa to make it through? We shall soon see!
19:52 , Matt Verri
Steven Gerrard first out of the tunnel. It is not a warm welcome, as you’d expect.
Villa players and then the United team also out. Kick-off just a few minutes away now.
Warm-ups nearly done...
19:47 , Matt Verri
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 10, 2022
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 10, 2022
19:41 , Matt Verri
15 minutes to go until kick-off...
Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham all through to the fourth round so far. If United don’t add themselves to that list, there will be real problems for Rangnick.
Coutinho passes medical
19:30 , Matt Verri
Philippe Coutinho has passed his Aston Villa medical. The match tonight comes too soon, but he could well feature against United in the league this weekend.
“Philippe is currently in the process of finalising his immigration papers and we are looking forward to getting him on the training pitch with the group on Wednesday at Bodymoor,” Villa boss Steven Gerrard said.
“He is an outstanding footballer who boasts a highly impressive CV laced with plenty of elite honours.
“I am really pleased that we have been able to bring him on board and I am looking forward to working with him.
“He is a player I enjoyed playing with previously and I know the rest of the squad here at Aston Villa will benefit from his quality and experience. His presence will be invaluable given injuries and the AFCON tournament have reduced our attacking options.”
What’s on offer...
19:23 , Matt Verri
It’s the final match of the FA Cup third round.
Winner tonight will face Middlesbrough at home in the fourth round, in early February.
Chris Wilder’s side needed a last-minute winner to beat Mansfield 3-2 this weekend... looked like a thriller!
Rangnick explains team
19:16 , Matt Verri
The United boss has been discussing his team selection for tonight’s clash.
“I spoke with Cristiano yesterday before training, he told me that he had some problems for the last couple of days, some minor problems,” Rangnick said.
“In the end we decided to not take any risks in a cup game that could easily last 120 minutes.
“With Jadon [Sancho], he was supposed to be in the squad. He had some issues with hamstrings on both sides.
“With Phil Jones he is having some minor problems on the calf.”
Visitors have arrived...
19:08 , Matt Verri
19:04 , Matt Verri
No Ronaldo, Sancho, Henderson or Maguire in the United squad tonight. Still no place for Van de Beek in the starting lineup either... not a great sign for his United future.
Cavani leads the line for the hosts, alongside you’d imagine Greenwood with Rashford and Fernandes just behind them.
Strong-looking side for Villa. Watkins was a doubt but he starts up front with Ings in what looks to be a team with plenty of attacking threat.
ASTON VILLA LINEUP
18:57 , Matt Verri
Starting XI: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey, Buendia, Ings, Watkins
Subs: Steer, Sinisalo, Hause, Sanson, Iroegbunam, Chukwuemeka, Philogene-Bidace, El Ghazi, Archer
MAN UNITED LINEUP
18:56 , Matt Verri
Starting XI: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Cavani
Subs: Heaton, Telles, Wan-Bissaka, Amad, Lingard, Mata, Matic, Van de Beek, Elanga
18:49 , Matt Verri
Five minutes until we get the team news from Old Trafford.
Both managers have suggested they will name strong line-ups... we will soon see if they are true to their word.
Will the Frenchman be starting?
18:44 , Matt Verri
United boss is a fan of the FA Cup
18:40 , Matt Verri
He hasn’t been very keen on the League Cup since arriving in England, but Ralf Rangnick was much more positive when talking about the FA Cup.
“I’ve always been a big fan, supporter and admirer of the FA Cup,” Rangnick said.
“I remember back in 1980 or 1981 when I spent my year abroad in Brighton I watched the FA Cup final at Wembley.
“It was West Ham against Arsenal, it was my farewell present from my team-mates at Southwick. I’ve always been a big admirer of the atmosphere, that was obviously the old Wembley stadium.
“For me it’s a very important competition. We will definitely try to play with our best possible team in that game and a strong team.”
Gerrard wants cup run
18:31 , Matt Verri
Steven Gerrard is keen for his Aston Villa side to go deep in the FA Cup this season, believing it could help boost their league form too.
“A good, positive cup run can breed confidence and belief, especially if you qualify through a round when you face Manchester United at Old Trafford,” Gerrard said.
“It will be sorted out on the night, be it extra time and penalties if needs be, so we need to be as ambitious and brave as we can.
“It’s not a case like it used to be where you could set up in a certain way, and maybe have the safety net in a certain period of the game to fall back on a replay.
“The dynamics have changed, but if we can give a really good account of ourselves then I’m hoping it’s going to be an interesting night.”
Rangnick gets Cavani boost
18:24 , Matt Verri
Some goods new off the pitch for the United interim boss is that Edinson Cavani looks to be staying at the club this month, despite reports linking him with a potential move to Barcelona.
“He came into my office and we spoke for almost half an hour,” Rangnick said.
“He told me he will definitely stay. Not only because I told him that he should stay or has to stay, he did it on his own behalf and told me that I can rely on him to stay until the end of the season and give his very best and be a role model for the young players.
“If he should play from the start, he’s available and he’s happy to play. Even if he’s not playing, he will be trying to be the best possible role model for the other players.
“This is good news because Edi is one of those players with vast amount of experience, mentality and work ethic. He could really be a perfect role model for the other players.”
18:15 , Matt Verri
United have struggled so much of late, Villa could well record their second win at Old Trafford this season.
Loss to Wolves, draw against Newcastle, tight wins over Palace and Norwich... United are yet to hit top form under Rangnick. Another painful night could be on the cards.
Villa to win, 2-1.
Aston Villa team news
18:03 , Matt Verri
For Villa, John McGinn could start ahead of his one-match Premier League ban and Tyrone Mings could join him. Ollie Watkins, however, is a doubt.
Steven Gerrard will be absolutely desperate for a win at Old Trafford, and may well go strong as he looks to take advantage of a potentially fragile United side.
Man United team news
17:52 , Matt Verri
Harry Maguire could return to the side after missing the Premier League loss to Wolves and may even partner Phil Jones, who impressed despite the result.
Dean Henderson could also be brought back into the side given he usually operates as the starting goalkeeper in cup competitions.
With United in need of a result, Rangnick may well name a strong side to try and avoid another poor Old Trafford performance.
How to watch Man United vs Aston Villa
17:43 , Matt Verri
TV channel: The game will be broadcast on BBC One.
Live stream: Supporters will be able to watch the game either through the BBC iPlayer or the BBC Sport website.
17:34 , Matt Verri
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage as Man United host Aston Villa in the final match of the FA Cup third round.
The winner will face Middlesbrough at home in the fourth round, so both will be eyeing a potential cup run this season.
United come into the match having lost to Wolves last time out, while Villa were beaten by Brentford, so confidence is not particularly high in either camp.
We’ll have all the latest updates and team news right here ahead of kick-off, which comes at 7:55pm GMT at Old Trafford.