Odion Ighalo continues to justify his surprise move to Manchester United in the January transfer window, as the Nigeria international struck twice again as his side overcame Championship side Derby in a relatively comfortable FA Cup Fifth Round victory at Pride Park.
Overshadowing the return of Wayne Rooney against his old club was only ever going to possible with a performance of the highest standard, and that was exactly what Ighalo did for his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Having been mocked as a novelty signing when it was confirmed, all of a sudden Ighalo’s move to Manchester United is starting to look like some extremely shrewd business.
It took just over half an hour for Manchester United to take the lead, when Luke Shaw’s deflected effort rippled the back of the Derby net, and immediately from there on out the Premier League looked to cruise comfortably through the rest of the match.
Ighalo made it 2-0 to the visiting side when he scored his first of the match in the 41st minute, before rounding off the scoring in the second half with his 70th minute finish.
Progressing into the FA Cup Quarter Finals, courtesy of the 30-year-old forward’s impressive display, Manchester United supporters can hopefully see some of their discontent appeased. The club has seen significant murmurs of unhappiness towards their running among the terraces, so a successful cup run and potentially a trophy come the end of it would certainly not go amiss in the eyes of Solskjaer and the board; particularly embattled Ed Woodward.
The big talking point prior to kick off in this match, however, was around Rooney facing off against his former club, where he scored 253 goals and became a club legend during his time at Old Trafford.
However, the veteran English striker couldn’t make the necessary difference for his new Championship team, despite coming close on two occasions with dangerous free kicks.
Unsurprisingly, the Derby supporters sang Rooney’s name throughout the contest, goading their opposition supporters at every possible opportunity as the two combined to create a great cup atmosphere. Unfortunately for the Derby supporters, the on-pitch display did little to keep their spirits high come the final whistle.
Victory secured Manchester United a Quarter Final clash with Norwich at Carrow Road, a game they again will be expectedly to easily progress through and onto Wembley, as the 12-time cup winners look to add another to their trophy cabinet and equal Arsenal’s record number of wins.
Derby, meanwhile, can now focus back on their league campaign, having once again fallen at the Fifth Round hurdle. Since 1999, Derby have been involved in six Fifth Round clashes and have never managed to progress beyond into the Quarter Finals.