Odion Jude Ighalo found the back of the net twice on Thursday night as Manchester United marched into the Emirates FA Cup sixth round, after securing a commanding 3-0 victory over Derby County and club legend Wayne Rooney at Pride Park Stadium.
Ighalo scored in the 41st-minute and sealed United’s passage to the Quarter Final of the FA Cup in the 70th-minute after Luke Shaw opened the scoring in the 33rd-minute of the encounter.
United are now expected to battle Norwich City later this month, as the Reds maintain the pursuit of a 13th success in the historic competition.
Rooney started for Derby and captained the side he joined in January, playing in a deep-lying midfield role that he flirted with during the latter stages of his Old Trafford career. As you would expect, his name was loudly cheered by the several thousand United fans in the away end, in recognition of a Reds career in which he solidified his position as a bona fide great of the club.
The Manchester United former club captain arguably produced the first moment of quality, on 18 minutes, when his in-swinging free-kick was brilliantly saved by Sergio Romero after Shaw was booked for a foul.
Another opportunity followed soon after, this time for Juan Mata, who spun on an incisive ball from Bruno Fernandes and dispatched a lot shot that was claimed by Rams goalkeeper Kelle Roos.
United began to assert some authority and, after Ighalo registered another shot on target, the Reds deservedly took the lead on 33 minutes via the left foot of Shaw, whose shot bounced off the surface and flew into the top corner of the net via a marginal deflection off Jesse Lingard.
Luke Shaw then became the provider in the 41st minute as his driven pass found Ighalo inside the box and the Nigerian loan signing did well to evade two markers, before finishing low into the bottom corner.
Derby’s hopes of a comeback were already faint, but they were well and truly extinguished on 70 minutes when Ighalo scored his second goal of the night to make it 3-0 to United. The Nigerian latched onto a pass from Mata and although his first shot was saved, he duly made sure with a second effort on the rebound that soared into the roof of the net.
Ighalo now has three goals in five appearances.