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.
Watford are heading to Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals following a 2-1 victory over shellshocked Arsenal.
The Gunners were going for a third win in succession but were left licking their wounds as their form plummets across all competitions.
Sport360 Deputy Editor James Piercy gives his analysis on what is becoming a poor end to the Londoners’ season.
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French giants Paris Saint-Germain, inspired by four stunning Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals, turned on the style Sunday to beat Troyes 9-0 and clinch a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 crown in record time.
Just four days after advancing to the Champions League quarter-finals, PSG wrapped up the club’s sixth French title with eight games to spare by beating a Troyes side destined for an immediate return to the second tier.
Laurent Blanc’s men obliterated the French record for the quickest league victory, currently held by Lyon who won the 2007 title under Gerard Houllier with five games to go.
Unlike last season when Paris waited until late March to take over top spot, the capital club have set the pace uninterrupted since beating Gazelec Ajaccio 2-0 in their second game of the campaign.
Three goals in six early first-half minutes settled PSG’s nerves at Troyes’ sun-kissed Stade de l’Aube.
First up was Edinson Cavani, the Uruguyan capitalising on a poor back pass to sneak in to beat goalkeeper Matthieu Dreyer on the second attempt.
Pastore made it 2-0 shortly after, a David Luiz interception played quickly to Ibrahimovic, whose sublime backheel found the Argentinian who toe-poked a looped finish past a despairing Dreyer.
No sooner had the game been restarted than Adrien Rabiot was the welcome recipient for PSG’s third after following up on a Cavani shot that rebounded off Dreyer.
It was then time for Ibrahimovic to take centre stage in 10 magical minutes.
The towering Swede made it 4-0 just seconds into the second-half after Cavani intercepted another poor clearance, “Ibra” gifted too much space on the edge of the box and making no mistake as he drilled the ball low into the left-hand corner.
Ibrahimovic’s second was a gem, a first-time mid-air volley of an inch-perfect Angel di Maria cross as PSG swamped Troyes.
His third — and 100th in Ligue 1 action — was equally sublime, the 34-year-old Swede meeting a Layvin Kurzawa cross at full speed and unleashing a blinding right-footed shot that swerved into the far corner of the net.
Matthieu Saunier compounded Troyes’ woes with an own goal, while Lossemy Karaboue saw red for hauling Cavani down in the box with 16 minutes to play.
Dreyer did well to save Cavani’s penalty, but the striker tapped in at the second bite.
It was left to Ibrahimovic to wrap up the 9-0 rout, the striker showing great strength to ride a tackle and unleash an unstoppable shot after a Pastore through-ball.
The Ligue 1 title was the fourth time Blanc has won it as a manager having also guided Bordeaux to the 2008-09 title.
But PSG’s ambitions go beyond simply retaining the league title, with the club also through to the League Cup final on April 23 and set to face Lorient four days earlier for a place in the French Cup showpiece as they seek to defend last year’s historic treble.
How PSG fare next month will go a long way to determining how successfully their season is portrayed, with Blanc’s side due to play the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on April 5-6 ahead of the return fixture a week later.