A late Anthony Martial goal earned Manchester United a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United on Sunday that kept Louis van Gaal’s side in the FA Cup.
West Ham started the game in impressive fashion with three decent chances inside the first 18 minutes as they took the game to their hosts with some excellent football.
The best opportunity was presented to Emmanuel Emenike just five minutes in when Andy Carroll’s through-ball left him with just goalkeeper David de Gea to beat, but the Nigeria international dragged his shot wide.
The re-called Carroll then headed over at full stretch from an Aaron Cresswell cross, before Cresswell again provided the delivery for Emenike to head too close to De Gea, who made a comfortable save.
It was not all West Ham, though, as Manchester United offered more than they had in their dismal 2-0 Europa League defeat at Liverpool last Thursday, which may well have closed one avenue to cup success.
Jesse Lingard, suspended for the trip to Anfield, put a couple of early efforts wide and Marcus Rashford volleyed over the top from a Guillermo Varela cross.
But United’s best two chances of the opening half fell to Ander Herrera, also back in the starting line-up, who sent a close-range volley wide and then shot too high from Marcos Rojo’s pull-back.
The Hammers found themselves living dangerously around the hour mark as United pressed for the opening goal.
Again Herrera had the chance to score, but this time his fierce drive was blocked by Winston Reid — substituted moments later — with United claiming they should have had a penalty after the ball struck the defender’s arm.
Rashford was then denied by visiting goalkeeper Darren Randolph before a moment of controversy at the other end saw Payet go down in the box as Rojo slid in. Replays suggested contact had been minimal at best.
France international Payet, booked earlier for a trip on Lingard, could well have been cautioned, but was reprieved by referee Martin Atkinson and four minutes later struck the opening goal.
Presented with a free-kick 30 yards from goal, the former Marseille man curled the ball superbly past De Gea and in off a post to claim his 11th goal of a memorable season and set West Ham en route to Wembley.
But with just seven minutes to go Martial rescued United — and potentially their season — with a smart far-post finish from Herrera’s deep cross, hooking the ball over the line.
Michael Carrick went close for United and Michail Antonio and Mark Noble did likewise for West Ham in a breathless finish to a thrilling tie.
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