THE NOTEBOOK: Old Trafford took no mercy on Daniel James

THE NOTEBOOK: Manchester United booked a semi-final that will bring back bad memories for Gordon Smith… and Old Trafford took no mercy on Daniel James

  • Manchester United beat Fulham 3-1 in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday
  • Fulham took a deserved lead but then collapsed in the space of five minutes 
  • Willian, Aleksandar Mitrovic and manager Marco Silva were all shown a red card

Manchester United punished five minutes of madness from Fulham to book their place in the FA Cup semi-finals as they came from behind to win 3-1 at Old Trafford.

Fulham were full value for the lead that Aleksandar Mitrovic gave them five minutes into the second half.

However, the wheels came off with around 20 minutes left as manager Marco Silva, Willian and Mitrovic were all sent off within 40 seconds of one another.

Bruno Fernandes then scored twice either side of a Marcel Sabitzer goal to turn the game around. 

Below, Sportsmail‘s CHRIS WHEELER takes a look at some of the things you may have missed. 

Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Manchester United beat Fulham on Sunday afternoon

Smith’s sad reminder 

Just when Gordon Smith thought his agonising FA Cup final miss had been consigned to history, Manchester United go and book a Wembley date with Brighton next month. Expect to it many more times in the coming weeks.

It will be exactly 40 years in May since the two clubs drew 2-2 in the 1983 final. It may have turned out differently had Smith not wasted a glorious late chance after BBC commentator Peter Jones uttered the famous words ‘and Smith must score’.

United won the replay 4-0 and Smith’s regret has only grown over time. ‘It niggles me more and I don’t know why,’ the 68-year-old said in a recent interview. ‘I say to myself about that day: ‘What were you doing, man?’ It was so stupid.

‘They’re so nice there. I’ve got a column in the programme, my face on a mural at the new stadium. Imagine if I’d won them the cup?’

Maguire’s bad luck 

A second start in the space of four days for Harry Maguire isn’t something that has happened to the United captain too often this season.

Erik ten Hag hinted before kick-off that Maguire’s place in the line-up owed more to the absence of Raphael Varane with a minor injury than a reward for a solid performance in the Europa League win over Real Betis on Thursday.

Unfortunately, an early booking means Maguire will be suspended for United’s semi-final against Brighton at Wembley.

No happy return for James 

Dan James might have been a popular figure when he was playing here for United.

But that counted for little when the Fulham winger was left flat on his face by a robust challenge from Lisandro Martinez towards the end of the game. 

The Old Trafford crowd loved it and cheered wildly as James – one of four substitutes sent on by Fulham in the 89th minute – got gingerly to his feet.

Lisandro Martinez cleaned out Daniel James with a crunching challenge in the closing stages

Record-breaker Mitrovic 

Before his meltdown, this was actually looking like a good day for Aleksandar Mitrovic. 

The Serbian’s opening goal was his first in the FA Cup at the 12th attempt for Fulham and Newcastle, and took him to 12 in 25 games in all competitions this season – his best season in the top-flight of English football.

The fast show 

Usain Bolt turned up at Old Trafford looking very dapper in a grey suit and tie, and even made a brief appearance on ITV before the game.

The world’s fastest man – and ardent United fan – admitted to asking pundit Roy Keane to sign a jersey for him. 

He also discussed his unsuccessful trial with Australian club Central Coast Mariners in 2018, having previously claimed he didn’t get a fair chance.

‘For me, it’s something that I have always wanted to try,’ said Bolt. ‘I watch it and I love the game so much and I thought, “you know what, why not give it a try?” So I was very serious, but it didn’t work out as I wanted it to.’

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