There was to be no FA Cup fairytale for Derby County captain Wayne Rooney, whose side slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United in their FA Cup fifth round clash at Pride Park. January signing Odion Ighalo netted a brace for the Reds, after Luke Shaw scuffed a fortuitous opener into the net midway through the opening half.
It proved a fairly routine win for United, but for at least the first few minutes it looked as if Derby might make it a contest. Twice they went close early on: first when teenager Louie Sibley flashed a shot wide from the edge of the area, and then when a curling Rooney free-kick drew a near-post parry from Sergio Romero.
For a while, the Rams did a good job of soaking up United’s pressure, and not until a Juan Mata daisy-cutter was gathered by Kelle Roos just short of the half-hour did Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men muster a shot on target. However, five minutes later they were undone by a hefty slice of bad luck, coming as Luke Shaw scuffed a shot that bounced off the turf, looped high over the keeper, and plopped into the net.
Within minutes, United had doubled their lead. Shaw was again involved, thrusting into the penalty area and picking out Ighalo, who emerged strongest in a tangle of legs and spooned past Roos from close-range. Again Derby might have thought themselves unlucky, but it was an impressive show of strength and skill from United’s loanee.
Derby went within a whisker of pulling one back in an impressive start to the second half, with Martyn Waghorn flicking Jayden Bogle’s cross just wide. Yet the Rams’ sortie was brief, and the game was put to bed by Ighalo with 20 minutes left. It was a fine move, culminating in a one-two with Mata and an emphatic finish, the ball flying high into the roof of the net after the Nigerian’s first attempt was blocked. The third goal sucked all life from the hosts, and United ran out comfortable winners.