Derby County exited the FA Cup in the Fifth Round at the hands of Manchester United in a 3-0 defeat at Pride Park Stadium on Thursday evening.
United’s record goalscorer, Wayne Rooney faced his former side for the first time in a Rams shirt. The game also saw the return of George Evans after a lengthy spell out with injury as he slotted in to the central defence.
Despite Phillip Cocu’s side standing up to the Premier League giants for spells of the game and having their fair share of the chances they were undone by a pair of goals in the first-half and another midway through the second.
Luke Shaw opened the scoring for United when a rebounded shot fell to him and he half-volleyed off the ground and into the net. Odion Ighalo added another from close-range soon after and was on target again in the second half to seal their progression to the quarter-finals of the competition with a trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich City.
The Rams were first to come close through youngster Louie Sibley who was not phased in the slightest by the Premier League opposition.
Brilliant work by a fellow academy product, Jayden Bogle, set up the chance, with the full-back winning the race down the right flank before cutting inside and charging down the middle. He poked the ball in the path of Sibley who drilled a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and it whistled inches wide of the post.
The 18-year-old was a threat again just seven minutes later. After pressure in the Derby box, the ball was cleared to Sibley in the middle of the park and he held off Shaw then turned and strode forward with three United players chasing him down. Eventually, Shaw hauled him down on the edge of the box.
Rooney stood over the set piece to the left side. His effort curled beautifully and for the second time in the early stages, Rams fans thought they had the opening goal, but Sergio Romero palmed it beyond the post.
Derby firmly had a foothold in the game and until just past the half-hour mark had kept the Red Devils at bay on the attack. They first threat came from Ighalo from close-range, but Kelle Roos did well to block his effort.
The visitors goal soon came though in the 34th minute. They piled on the pressure in the box but initially the defence held strong, but after failing to make the clearance, the ball fell to Bruno Fernandez. His half-volley struck the Derby defence and rebounded back out to Shaw. He struck and his effort bounced off the ground right in front of him and bounce over and into the back of the net.
That lead was doubled with four minutes left to play in the half when Shaw turned provider. He crossed in to Ighalo in front of goal and, under pressure, he managed to turn and send a low shot into the back of the net.
Derby came out strong in the second half and narrowly missed pulling a goal back twice in the opening five minutes. First, Max Bird rifled a low left footed effort from 25 yards out that rocketed through the box and drew a strong save by Romero who just managed to hold on to it.
Soon after, Bogle fired a cross from the right towards Martyn Waghorn at the backpost and his header was a lick of paint wide of the mark.
After all the Rams’ early efforts at the beginning of the half, United found another the supress the any threat of a comeback.
Ighalo drilled a goalbound effort just to the right of Roos in goal, but Bogle was there to block it off the line. It fell straight back to the striker and he lashed in his second of the night into the roof of the net.
Jack Marriott came off the bench and had a chance with 15 minutes left to play when he fired a low shot from the right towards the back-post, but it was deflected out for a corner.
There was one final chance for the Rams and it came from Rooney. He stepped up to a free-kick in a similar position to his early effort. This time, he went even closer and his effort rattled off the crossbar.
However, the Rams were able to find a way back in to the game and will return their focus solely on the Sky Bet Championship for the remainder of the season, starting with Blackburn Rovers on Sunday afternoon.
Derby County: Roos; Bogle, Evans, Forsyth, Lowe; Bird, Rooney; Knight, Sibley (Shinnie, 80), Lawrence (Whittaker, 44); Waghorn (Marriott, 67)
Unused Subs: Hamer, Clarke, Martin, Davies
Manchester United: Romero; Dalot, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw (Williams, 80); McTominay, Fred (Martial, 73); Lingard, Mata, Fermandes (Pereira, 67); Ighalo
Unused Subs: De Gea, Greenwood, Matic, Tuanzebe