Odion Ighalo wrecked Wayne Rooney’s hopes of leading Derby to an FA Cup upset against Manchester United, as the Nigeria striker’s double sealed a 3-0 win for the Red Devils in the fifth round on Thursday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were in control at Pride Park, as Luke Shaw opened the scoring before Ighalo took over to crash Rooney’s bid to knock out his former club.
United will travel to Premier League strugglers Norwich in their sixth successive quarter-final appearance in a competition they have won 12 times.
Ighalo, who has only been at United for a few weeks after arriving from China, stole the spotlight from Old Trafford icon, Rooney, with his second and third goals for the club.
“When you get strikers in you want them to be happy and confident. It is great for us to have Odion to call upon,” Solskjaer said.
“He is a different striker for us and scores some good goals. There are not many who could dig that one out for his first.”
Rooney left United in 2017 after 13 glittering years including five Premier League titles, Champions League glory and a club record 253 goals.
The 34-year-old had spells at Everton and DC United before joining second-tier Derby in a player-coach role alongside boss Phillip Cocu in January.
It was the first time Rooney had faced United since playing for Everton in January 2018 and he remains without a goal in seven appearances against them.
Rooney playing in a deep-lying role came close to scoring with a curling free-kick that forced Sergio Romeo to make a sprawling save at his near post.
United looked more dangerous once Fernandes heated up and Derby keeper Kelle Roos made a superb save to repel Ighalo’s shot from just six yards. United’s pressure paid off with a fortunate opener in the 33rd minute. Fernandes’ shot was deflected high into the air and Shaw met it with a half-volley from the edge of the area, the ball taking a wicked bounce off Jesse Lingard and looping over Roos into the net.
Shaw turned provider as United doubled their lead eight minutes later. Advancing with intent towards the Derby area, the left-back squeezed a pass into Ighalo, who turned away from two defenders before poking his shot past Roos from six yards.
Ighalo ended any hopes of a Rooney-inspired revival in the 70th minute. Juan Mata picked out Ighalo in the area and when the 30-year-old’s initial shot was blocked, he kept his composure to guide the rebound into the net.