MAN UNITED 1, SWANSEA CITY 2
Manchester United’s troubled start to 2014 continued as they lost to Swansea City at Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
After the New Year’s Day home defeat against Tottenham, this was another hugely disappointing display from the Reds who exited at this stage of the competition for only the second time since 1980.
It looked as though 10-man United, who had substitute Fabio Da Silva sent off in the latter stages, would hold on for a draw until Wilfried Bony headed the Swans’ winner in the 90th minute.
Earlier Wayne Routledge had given the side from South Wales the lead only for Javier Hernandez to equalise, all in a four-minute spell early in the game.
It was another laboured display from depleted United as they rarely troubled the Swans’ defence and they can have few complaints about their latest loss which heaps even more pressure on David Moyes.
United’s manager thought his side didn’t deserve to lose adding Fabio’s sending off was a turning point in the game.
He said: “We had most control of the game, but we need to make more scoring opportunities.
“We were relatively comfortable without creating too many chances. We lacked a little confidence in the final third and not taking our chances.”
It was United’s fourth defeat in the last six games at Old Trafford which has become far from invincible for visiting teams.
And it was a further setback for Moyes who has had a challenging opening to his managerial career with the Reds after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson.
“It has been a tough start and we are disappointed not to have won more games and to have played better, but I am sure it will soon turn,” he explained.
United’s manager, who had seven players ruled out, made six changes from the side which lost to Spurs at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day.
Moyes refused to use this as an excuse saying he still fielded a strong side which almost entirely comprised international players.
Out of the side went the injured Wayne Rooney, David De Gea, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick and Adnan Januzaj.
Anders Lindegaard won a recall for only his second game of the season while there were also starts for Rio Ferdinand, Alexander Buttner, Shinji Kagawa, Darren Fletcher and Hernandez.
Swansea, without a win in seven games, brought in five fresh faces following their New Year’s Day home defeat against Manchester City.
Hernandez had a couple of early openings as his first effort was blocked by Dwight Tiendalli and the second was a fluffed air shot.
Swansea showed how it should be done as they went ahead in the 12th minute through Routledge.
United’s defence was split open by Alejandro Pozuelo’s through ball and Routledge raced clear to lob keeper Gerhard Tremmel from the edge of the box.
The equaliser came four minutes later following a rampaging run down the left by Buttner who delivered a delicious cross which Hernandez volleyed home from inside the six-yard box for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Antonio Valencia blazed over, Buttner fired a fierce free kick through the defensive wall but straight at Lindegaard and Hernandez volleyed wide across the face of goal as United looked for a second goal.
Swansea had the better of the openings early in the second half as Pozuelo and Bony both fired wide.
United, who were badly in need of new attacking invention, brought on Januzaj for Valencia midway through the second period.
Their day went from bad to worse when Fabio was dismissed in the 80th minute following a dangerous challenge on Jose Canas.
The 10 men looked to be set for a replay until Bony struck in the last minute of normal time heading Routledge’s left-wing cross into the roof of the net from six yards for his 13th goal of the season.
And it might have been an even heavier defeat as in stoppage time both Bony and Alvaro Vazquez both had chances to add a third goal for the Swans.