Manchester United beat Wolverhampton 1-0 in an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday but lost Marcus Rashford to an injury that could force him out of a Premier League match against fierce rival Liverpool at the weekend.
Juan Mata illuminated a dull game by running through unchallenged and producing a deft chip over Wolves goalkeeper John Ruddy in the 67th minute for the only goal at Old Trafford.
The teams drew 0-0 in a match featuring few clear-cut chances at Wolves on Jan. 4, and the replay was hardly much better.
Rashford, who went off with a knock after 58 minutes of United’s 4-0 win over Norwich in the league on Saturday, entered as a 64th-minute substitute but lasted only 16 minutes before hobbling off, appearing to hold the left side of his back.
The England striker, who is United’s top scorer this season, tried to play on after getting hurt in a tackle by Matt Doherty but didn’t look right and fell to the ground near the center circle before signaling to come off.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowleged that his decision to play Rashford “backfired” – four days before his team plays Premier League leader Liverpool at Anfield in what is traditionally viewed as the biggest game on the English soccer calendar.
“You’ve got to take (chances) once in a while,” Solskjaer said. “He’ll be tested in the next few days – we have to see for Sunday. He couldn’t run. He struggled a little bit with his back and got another knock. It didn’t help.”
Wolves thought they had scored in the 11th minute through Pedro Neto, only for the strike to be ruled by VAR for a handball against Raul Jimenez in the buildup.
“It’s constant, all we are talking about is VAR. It’s ridiculous, it’s stupid,” Wolves defender Conor Coady said.
“You can’t celebrate. Raul Jimenez didn’t even know he had handballed it. … All of it is terrible, for me. It’s not for me, it’s not for a lot of players. But people higher up in the game are happy with it.”
United will play either Watford or third-tier Tranmere in the fourth round. Their replay was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch and will be played next week.
Cardiff won 4-3 at Carlisle in the other replay on Wednesday....