Goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, and substitutes Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku powered Manchester United past Yeovil Town to advance to the next round of the FA Cup. Alexis Sánchez had a hand in the first two goals in his highly anticipated debut, as the Reds’ professional display saw them through.
José Mourinho named his usual mix-and-match side for cup ties against lesser sides, and as such, Sánchez made his United bow in a team from which he will likely be the only one to also start again on Wednesday against Tottenham Hotspur. The disjointed nature of the starting XI was apparent very early on as United struggled to show any fluency in their play.
It was the hosts who started the game on the front foot, while their more illustrious visitors were still finding their feet. Sergio Romero was called into action in the 8th minute, keeping out an effort at his near post. By the 20th minute, he had already collected another pair of crosses from potentially dangerous free kicks that - fortunately for the Reds - Yeovil were unable to turn into real chances at opening the score.
United eventually started asserting their superiority though, and after a few minutes of controlled possession, Scott McTominay brought the first save out of Artur Krysiak with a shot that was just fizzing inside the post.
New boy Sánchez was showing flashes of his quality, while still looking understandably a step off the pace. His lack of match sharpness did not stop him from asking the ball, however, and he was involved in the opener. The Chilean played in Rashford on the edge of the box in the 41st minute, and while it looked like the pass had evaded him, hesitation from the covering Yeovil defenders gave the youngster an opening to pounce and bend the ball past Krysiak.
United entered the break without having looked anywhere near their best, but still carrying a lead, and looking fairly comfortable.
After the restart, United were camped out in Yeovil’s half, picking up where they left off. Unfortunately for the home side, their first foray forward in the second half inadvertently led to going further behind.
After Yeovil had won a corner that came to nothing, the visitors set off on a counter-attack. Juan Mata held the ball up near the half line, before playing Sánchez into space. United’s new number 7 showed just enough patience to pass the ball into the path of the onrushing Ander Herrera, who lashed the ball across goal and into the far corner. Herrera’s shooting has been comically wayward of late, but for the second time in three years, he found the back of the net at Huish Park.
Within minutes of the second goal, Mourinho sent on Romelu Lukaku in place of Mata, perhaps to give Sánchez a chance to start building an understanding with the man likely to be playing just in front of him on the pitch every week. That trial run didn’t last for long though, as within ten minutes, Sánchez himself was withdrawn for Jesse Lingard. The heavy fouls had begun to pile up on the debutant, and Mourinho maybe decided to play it safe.
United put the clamps on for the rest of the match, and looked happy to see the result out. Teenager Angel Gomes came on in place of Rashford late on to make his second senior appearance, as the match had begun to peter out. Lingard was in no mood to be merciful, however, and the in-form attacker collected a throw-in just before full time, took on a handful of defenders himself, and finished clinically in the far corner.
Unfortunately for Yeovil, Lingard wasn’t the only substitute who had no interest in running down the clock. In the final seconds, Lukaku found himself in front of an open goal, and he blasted the ball in from close range to make the victory emphatic.