The FA Cup
CambridgeCambridge United0Man UtdManchester United0

Cambridge United 0-0 Manchester United

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Abbey Stadium
FA Cup: Cambridge United 0-0 Man United highlights

League Two side Cambridge United defied the odds to hold Manchester United and earn a richly deserved FA Cup fourth-round replay.

The Abbey Stadium delivered a thunderous roar as referee Chris Foy sounded his final whistle to confirm Cambridge - lying 12th in their division and 76 places below their Premier League opponents in the football pyramid - had secured a money-spinning replay at Old Trafford.

And even though United had the better chances, with Cambridge keeper Chris Dunn saving brilliantly from Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria and substitute Robin van Persie off target - no-one could begrudge them a second crack at Louis van Gaal's side.

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Cambridge have almost been rebuilt as a club, returning to the Football League this season after a nine-year absence, and this performance was testimony to all that work as they more than matched the Red Devils until tired legs inevitably took their toll late on.

And now that process will continue in "The Theatre Of Dreams" as they survived the meeting with a visiting side lacking the spark of captain Wayne Rooney, and failing to create any serious openings until the second half.

Van Gaal, whose side battled thought a third-round meeting with Yeovil Town, will have been bitterly disappointed with his team's lacklustre display - even though they are still overwhelming favourites to reach the fifth round.

United, who rested Rooney and Juan Mata, lacked creativity during a laboured first 45 minutes in which they were more than matched by Richard Money's underdogs.

Money made no secret of his plan to unsettle the Premier League side,external-link with seven players crammed into the six-yard area in an attempt to make life difficult for goalkeeper David de Gea with sheer weight of numbers.

Cambridge United v Manchester United
Cambridge UnitedManchester United
HonoursDivision Three (1991), Division Four (1977), Division Four play-off winners (1990), Conference play-off winners (2014), FA Trophy (2014), best football food in 1998.Three European Cups, 20 English titles, 11 FA Cups, four League Cups, among others
Turnover 2013-14£1.6m£433m
Ground capacity8,00075,000
Wage billAbout £1mAbout £200m
Most expensive season ticket£450£900

And with Phil Jones a symbol of that uncertainty, the obvious ploy almost worked on the half-hour.

Manchester United failed to clear a corner and the ball was smuggled off the line before a header from Cambridge defender Josh Coulson landed on the roof of the net.

Falcao's struggle for goals has been the focus of much attention but it was hard not to sympathise with the Colombian as he struggled in the face of poor service, which even when it did arrive was nearly always too pedestrian.

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He finally got his chance just after the hour, when Michael Carrick delivered a forward pass of quality. Falcao applied a powerful finish but drew an equally strong one-handed save from Dunn.

Van Gaal had seen enough and made changes, sending on Van Persie and Ander Herrera for James Wilson and the ineffective Marouane Fellaini.

And Van Persie almost answered the call right away when he ran on to Di Maria's astute pass on the angle but directed his first-time effort over the top.

Cambridge had given so much that it was inevitable fatigue would play a part in the closing minutes - and so it proved - but goalkeeper Dunn was once more the hero, punching clear crucially before recovering to block Di Maria's goalbound effort, surrounded by players in the area,

It was the final moment of concern - leaving Cambridge's fans to celebrate wildly and savour the prospect of a trip to Old Trafford.

Cambridge boss Richard Money:

"We've said in the dressing room you're going to Old Trafford. Who cares what happens? Just go and enjoy it, soak it in. Whatever happens, happens.

"(It is) difficult to put into words just how proud we are. When you get back in the dressing room and recover, you just suddenly start to think about what it means to so many people.

"This club has been in the doldrums for 10 years, out of the Football League, and suddenly here we are taking everybody back to Old Trafford. It's incredible."

Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reverted to a back four against Cambridge United
Cambridge United
Cambridge United's players looked to exploit their height advantage against the visitors
Cambridge United's fans created a partisan atmosphere at the Abbey Stadium
Cambridge United's fans created a partisan atmosphere at the Abbey Stadium
Josh Coulson, David De Gea
The hosts went close in the first half when Josh Coulson headed over from a corner
Chris Dunn, Robin van Persie
Cambridge United have only kept five clean sheets in League Two this season



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Dunn
  • 2Tait
  • 18Nelson
  • 4Coulson
  • 3Taylor
  • 8Champion
  • 17HughesSubstituted forChadwickat 76'minutes
  • 7Donaldson
  • 20McGeehanBooked at 69mins
  • 31KaikaiSubstituted forDunkat 53'minutes
  • 10Elliott


  • 6Miller
  • 11Dunk
  • 13Norris
  • 15Simpson
  • 19Ball
  • 22Chadwick
  • 32Bird

Man Utd

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 4Jones
  • 5Rojo
  • 17BlindSubstituted forShawat 86'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 31FellainiBooked at 26minsSubstituted forHerreraat 67'minutes
  • 11Januzaj
  • 7Di María
  • 9Falcao
  • 49WilsonBooked at 65minsSubstituted forvan Persieat 67'minutes


  • 2da Silva
  • 3Shaw
  • 20van Persie
  • 21Herrera
  • 24Fletcher
  • 32Valdés
  • 33McNair
Chris Foy

Match Stats

Home TeamCambridgeAway TeamMan Utd
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Cambridge United 0, Manchester United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Cambridge United 0, Manchester United 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Falcao (Manchester United).

  4. Post update

    Josh Coulson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ángel Di María (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luke Shaw.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Michael Carrick (Manchester United).

  8. Post update

    Cameron McGeehan (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Falcao (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Ángel Di María with a cross.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Luke Shaw replaces Daley Blind.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).

  12. Post update

    Tom Champion (Cambridge United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Cambridge United. Conceded by Phil Jones.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

  15. Post update

    Michael Nelson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Michael Nelson.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Cambridge United. Luke Chadwick replaces Liam Hughes.

  18. Post update

    Dangerous play by Ángel Di María (Manchester United).

  19. Post update

    Tom Champion (Cambridge United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Greg Taylor.

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