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Man Utd 1-0 Watford: Scott McTominay heads early FA Cup winner at Old Trafford

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Scott McTominay’s fourth-minute header was enough to give Manchester United an unconvincing victory in their FA Cup third-round tie against Watford on Saturday.

The hosts did have chances to increase their lead, but Juan Mata failed to find a finish to an excellent three-man move just before half-time, then Daniel James and substitute Marcus Rashford had shots saved after the break.

But none of those opportunities were better than that for Hornets defender Adam Masina, who saw his effort blocked by United keeper Dean Henderson not long after McTominay had struck.

Now under their fifth manager in two years, Xisco Munoz, Watford had other chances too – Joao Pedro’s header went straight to Henderson and Ken Sema was off target with his.

Mason Greenwood and Donny van de Beek did little to press their claims for a regular starting slot in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-choice side, while Jesse Lingard – making only his third appearance of the season and the subject of interest from a number of clubs in the January transfer window – showed glimpses of form but eventually faded.

United will go into the hat for Monday’s fourth and fifth-round draws, while Watford are left to focus on winning promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

No risks with Bailly

Given the increasing awareness of the effects of concussion, the decision of United’s medical staff to take no risks with defender Eric Bailly when he was caught in the head by Henderson’s knee as the keeper punched clear was a welcome one.

The Football Association had hoped to introduce concussion substitutes by now but it has not yet been able to as detailed protocols are yet to be received from Ifab, the world game’s rulemakers.

As Bailly was guided towards the tunnel in the last minute of the first half, Maguire replaced him and helped United keep the clean sheet which ensured they reached the fourth round for the 34th time in their past 36 attempts.’

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Henderson
  • 33Williams
  • 3BaillySubstituted forMaguireat 45+5′minutes
  • 38TuanzebeBooked at 65mins
  • 27TellesBooked at 72mins
  • 39McTominay
  • 34van de Beek
  • 8Mata
  • 14LingardSubstituted forMaticat 80′minutes
  • 21JamesSubstituted forRashfordat 68′minutes
  • 11GreenwoodSubstituted forMartialat 69′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1de Gea
  • 5Maguire
  • 9Martial
  • 10Rashford
  • 17Fred
  • 18Bruno Fernandes
  • 25Ighalo
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 31Matic

Watford

Formation 4-4-2

  • 26Bachmann
  • 32Navarro
  • 5Troost-EkongSubstituted forWilmotat 76′minutes
  • 31Sierralta
  • 11MasinaSubstituted forNgakiaat 58′minutes
  • 23SarrBooked at 38minsSubstituted forSemaat 58′minutes
  • 14ChalobahSubstituted forPhillipsat 84′minutes
  • 19Hughes
  • 7ZinckernagelSubstituted forHungboat 76′minutes
  • 10João Pedro
  • 18Gray

Substitutes

  • 1Foster
  • 3Ngakia
  • 6Wilmot
  • 12Sema
  • 40Dalby
  • 41Barrett
  • 44Hungbo
  • 49Crichlow
  • 52Phillips

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