Nottingham Forest 0-1 Man Utd: Player ratings as Casemiro heads Red Devils into FA Cup quarter-finals

  • Man Utd narrowly beat Nottingham Forest in FA Cup fifth round
  • Casemiro scored late header to set up quarter-final tie
  • Both sides lacked overall quality in the attacking third of the pitch
Casemiro was Man Utd's hero of the night
Casemiro was Man Utd's hero of the night / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Manchester United left it late to advance to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, beating Nottingham Forest with a solitary Casemiro goal at the City Ground.

The contest was initially bright from both teams, but quality had long since faded by the time United’s veteran Brazilian made the decisive impact.

How the game unfolded

United had two incredible opportunities to get ahead quickly, first as Antony, back in the starting lineup after being challenged by his manager to improve his form, struck the crossbar with a first-time finish as he arrived in the penalty area.

Antony was then involved in a promising move that saw Diogo Dalot land a superb cross on Scott McTominay’s head unmarked a few yards from goal. But it was too close to Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner. The American made an even better save half an hour in after the frenetic early pace of the game had subsided, showing impressive reflexes to deny the same player’s near post header.

Forest had plenty of opportunities of their own without ever properly testing Andre Onana, registering 12 shots in the first half alone and getting only two on target.

The hosts had the opening big chance of the second half, with Antony Elanga stretching the United defence and finding Taiwo Awoniyi, whose resultant effort was much too close to Onana. He needed strong wrists moments later to beat away Divock Origi’s powerful effort.

Overall, there had been a distinct lack of quality from both teams in the final third since the opening stages of the game. Bruno Fernandes was wayward in his shooting, while Forest put wicked balls into the box as the end of the 90 came into sight without anyone getting into the middle for them.

The game hadn’t been a spectacle since the early stages and the tie seemed destined for extra-time. But a free-kick at the death changed everything for the visitors. Standing over the ball on the left, Fernandes was smart enough to see the lack of near post defender and whipped in a low delivery that Casemiro only had to glance beyond Turner from close-range.

Nottingham Forest player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Matt Turner's first half saves were crucial
Matt Turner's first half saves were crucial / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

GK: Matt Turner - 7/10 - Made a few good saves but stood no chance with the close proximity of Casemiro's flicked header.

RB: Neco Williams - 6/10 - Would have expected Garnacho to cause more problems and held his own.

CB: Felipe - 6/10 - Commanding in his duels and had little in the way of trouble with Rashford.

CB: Murillo - 6/10 - Played a little more progressive with the ball than his centre-back partner.

LB: Harry Toffolo - 7/10 - Looked capable of putting good delivery into the box when he got forward but opportunities to do that were limited.

CM: Ryan Yates (c) - 6/10 - Put himself about to try and suffocate United's creativity.

CM: Danilo - 5/10 - The man closest to Casemiro when the decisive goal went in...

RM: Divock Origi - 6/10 - Looked like he had the beating of Amrabat for pace on that side without ever exploiting it enough.

AM: Morgan Gibbs-White - 5/10 - Didn't see that much of the ball.

LM: Anthony Elanga - 6/10 - Took up good positions and looked keen to impress against his former teammates once more. Good in moments but inconsistent.

ST: Taiwo Awoniyi - 6/10 - A threat that lacked composure and quality in the key moments. Snatched at too many chances when he ought to have been calmer.


SUB: Callum Hudson-Odi (79' for Origi) - 5/10

SUB: Giovanni Reyna (90+4' for Yates) - N/A

SUB: Rodrigo Ribeiro (90+4' for Danilo) - N/A

Unused subs: Odysseas Vlachodimos (GK), Moussa Niakhate, Andrew Omobamidele, Nicolas Dominguez, Joe Gardner, Cheikhou Kouyate


Nuno Espirito Santo - 5/10 - Waited until after falling behind to make more attacking changes when there was arguably more cause for it earlier.

Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Marcus Rashford
It wasn't Marcus Rashford's night / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

GK: Andre Onana - 7/10 - Made saves that he would have been expecting to make, yet still important that he did whn it hasn't been the easiest season.

RB: Diogo Dalot - 6/10 - Put some excellent crosses into the box in the first half especially. His impact sadly diminished because it was a really good start.

CB: Raphael Varane - 7/10 - Postioned himsef really well and commanded his area.

CB: Victor Lindelof - 6/10 - An important block in the first half kept Forest's Awoniyi at bay.

LB: Sofyan Amrabat - 5/10 - Not defensively comfortable as a full-back, highlighting United's unfortunate lack of depth in the position. The space behind him was there to exploit.

CM: Casemiro - 7/10 - Didn't really put his stamp on the game until the winning goal at the end, but it was hugely important, especially coming off the back of a head injury.

CM: Scott McTominay - 6/10 - Two good headers could have resulted in a first half brace, both the result of intelligently getting forward into the box.

RM: Antony - 6/10 - Initially responded well to being challenged by Ten Hag. Hit the bar early on and was involved in good early United moves. Faded quickly after that.

AM: Bruno Fernandes (c) - 7/10 - Several shots from distance failed to make the breakthrough. Created other chances, including the free-kick that helped secure the win.

LM: Alejandro Garnacho - 5/10 - Not thriving on the left like he as on the right in previous weeks.

ST: Marcus Rashford - 5/10 - Cut a frustrated figure in the 'number nine' role with a perceived lack of service. But the ball wasn't sticking when it did come.


SUB: Amad Diallo (73' for Antony) - 6/10

SUB: Jonny Evans (90+4' for Amrabat) - N/A

SUB: Kobbie Mainoo (90+4' for McTominay) - N/A

Unused subs: Alay Bayindir (GK), Willy Kambwala, Habeeb Ogunneye, Toby Collyer, Christian Eriksen, Omari Forson


Erik ten Hag - 6/10 - His hands were largely tied with a lack of genuine options on the bench. This was an important one to get through because chances weren't non-existent.

Player of the match - Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)