Manchester United eases by Shrewsbury in FA Cup
SHREWSBURY, England (AP) — Manchester United beat Shrewsbury by an unexpectedly easy 3-0 in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday and gave under-fire manager Louis van Gaal at least three days' breathing space.
On Thursday, United has a must-win Europa League match against unheralded Danish side FC Midtjylland.
In the FA Cup, United will host West Ham in the quarterfinals in three weeks.
At the New Meadow, in front of almost 10,000 fans, the 11-time FA Cup winners never looked in danger against third-tier Shrewsbury, the lowest-ranked team left in the cup.
Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard scored.
Widespread media speculation said Van Gaal was fighting for his job after losing to Midtjylland 2-1 in the Europa League last-32 first leg last week, which followed losing to relegation-threatened Sunderland 2-1 in the English Premier League.
In a crucial week for the Dutch coach, United also hosts Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.
United captain Smalling opened the scoring with a deflected shot which managed to loop past Shrewsbury goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler.
Mata effectively ended the game in first-half stoppage time after the hosts were forced to concede a dangerous free kick right at the edge of the area. Mata's left-footed strike curled in, stranding the keeper.
Lingard added a third from close range after the break.
This was the first competitive match between the teams: United beat Shrewsbury 8-1 in a friendly in 2000.