Derby beat Manchester United on penalties as Frank Lampard gets one over Jose Mourinho in League Cup upset

Manchester United 2-2 Derby County (8-7 pens): Lampard's side win in style despite late equaliser

Mark Critchley
Old Trafford
Tuesday 25 September 2018 21:07
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The apprentice strikes down his master.

Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard’s first encounter on opposite sides of a technical area promised nostalgia, romanticism but never this much drama, as Derby County eliminated 10-man Manchester United from the EFL Cup by way of an 8-7 penalty shoot-out victory at Old Trafford.

United appeared to be in for a straightforward evening when Juan Mata established an early home lead but second-half goals from Harry Wilson, a Liverpool loanee no less, and a late Jack Marriott header put the Championship side on the verge of a memorable upset.

United, depleted following Sergio Romero’s second-half dismissal, appeared doomed but with one minute of added time remaining, one of Mourinho’s most-trusted lieutenants earned them a reprieve as Marouane Fellaini converted a late header to level the tie at 2-2 after 90 minutes.

An almost faultless penalty shoot-out followed but, as Mourinho would later lament, someone had to miss eventually. That someone was Phil Jones who, after 15 successful spot-kicks, saw his lame attempt comfortably saved by Scott Carson.

The defeat is far from fatal for Mourinho, coming in a competition that is not high on the list of United’s priorities this season. But on a day when his relationship with Paul Pogba perhaps broke down beyond repair, a sense of crisis mounts, and this elimination will only increase the pressure on United’s manager.

The hours leading up to kick-off were dominated by the news that Pogba had been stripped of the vice-captaincy by Mourinho following his veiled criticism of United’s approach to home matches after Saturday’s drab draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Mata finished well to open the scoring 

The effects of this latest development in the manager and midfielder’s ongoing feud remain to be seen. Mourinho’s name was chanted by sections of the Old Trafford crowd last night, but then echoes of Pogba’s plaintive appeal for United to ‘attack, attack, attack’ would be heard as the evening progressed as well.

It was, if anything, Lampard's side who displayed an ability to play courageous, technical football on the front foot. Only in the first half - and only in its initial stages - were United coherent and fluid going forward. Within three minutes, they were ahead, after Derby made the critical mistake of offering Anthony Martial too much space on the left flank. Romelu Lukaku's clever dummy and Jesse Lingard's lay-off allowed Mata to sweep past Carson.

Though the highly-rated Chelsea loanee Mason Mount impressed in glimpses for the visitors during that first 45 minutes, United were comfortable and should have finished Derby off before the interval. Lukaku was guilty of two poor misses – first spurning a one-on-one after Richard Keogh’s slip, then heading over a hooked cross by the lively Martial.

And for as long as it remained 1-0, Derby’s band of young playmakers – Mount, his new housemate Wilson and Mason Bennett – threatened to make United pay for their profligacy.

Wilson did just that and in spectacular fashion. Having missed a gilt-edged opportunity inside the penalty area in the opening stages of the second half, he was presented with another opportunity a few minutes later, from a free-kick 25-yards out.

Having watched it bend and whip into Romero’s top left-hand corner, he wheeled away holding five fingers up to the home crowd – a reminder that he picked up such talents on the red part of Merseyside.

Mourinho responded by bringing on Fellaini and Fred, though he was soon thankful to not have rashly used all three of substitutions. Romero was sent off just four minutes later, handling outside the box as Wilson attempted to round him. United’s third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant, with 186 career appearances for Derby to his name, was brought on.

Wilson celebrates his stunning free kick (Getty)

Derby, a man up, pressed for a winner and Marriott believed he had found one when he capitalised on United’s sloppy defending, following up Mount’s strike at Grant and heading in the rebound. With five minutes remaining, United appeared doomed.

Old Trafford prepared itself for another round of recriminations, more questions regarding where this club is headed under Mourinho, until his trusted ‘Plan B’ suddenly paid off. In the fifth minute of added-on time, Fellaini powered Diogo Dalot’s hanging cross past Carson and forced a penalty shoot-out.

It was one of the highest quality for 15 successive spot-kicks, but Jones’ decisive penalty – low, weak, safely into Carson’s welcoming arms – fell some way short of the required standard. As, in truth, had United’s performance, on a potentially pivotal day for Mourinho’s tenure.

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