Manchester United reached the FA Cup fifth round and avoided any further embarrassment against stubborn fourth-tier side Cambridge United with a 3-0 replay win at Old Trafford on Tuesday that did little to excite their fans.
After drawing 0-0 at Cambridge, who were promoted from the minor leagues last season, United eventually made their superiority tell with goals from Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and James Wilson, although it was a largely laboured display.
Louis van Gaal’s side, who almost fell behind in the first minute when Cambridge striker Tom Elliott hit the post, will next play third-tier Preston North End, who beat cup specialists Sheffield United 3-1 away in their fourth round replay.
Second-tier Fulham flirted with an upset against Premier League visitors Sunderland after taking a first-half lead, but were eventually beaten 3-1 after conceding three times in the last half-hour at Craven Cottage.
Cambridge, the lowest ranked team to reach the fourth round, were already big winners having guaranteed themselves a bumper payday of about one million pounds ($1.52 million) from gate receipts and TV money – a huge sum for a team at their level.