MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United needed penalties to scrape past Rochdale in the Carabao Cup after a dismal 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Monday. Substitute Daniel James scored the winning spot kick after Sergio Romero had saved from Jimmy Keohane.
Rochdale teenager Luke Matheson, who doesn’t turn 17 until next week and only left school in the summer, had earlier cancelled out Mason Greenwood‘s opener in normal time to send the tie to a penalty shootout.
James’ successful penalty ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side a place in the fourth round — but only just. United had 31 shots in normal time against a side sitting 17th in League One but had only Greenwood’s 68th-minute goal to show for it before Manchester-born right-back Matheson became the League Cup’s youngest goalscorer from more than 10 years ago with his first goal for Rochdale 14 minutes from time.
Greenwood. The teenager is making the most of his opportunity following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. He has scored on his past two starts, and with United struggling for goals, it would be a brave decision by Solskjaer to leave him out when Arsenal visit Old Trafford on Monday even if Anthony Martial is available.
United have played Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Astana and Rochdale at Old Trafford this season and failed to score from open play in the first half against any of them. Goals are a problem for Solskjaer — both creating chances and taking them. Rochdale conceded six against Peterborough in League One 10 days ago, but a United team that included Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Fred struggled to break them down.
Manager rating out of 10
5 — The United boss made nine changes from the defeat at West Ham with only Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Andreas Pereira keeping their places. He picked a strong team but the same problems that have dogged much of this season were in evidence again. If he was hoping a Carabao Cup third-round tie against Rochdale would offer a chance to generate some much-needed confidence, he was wrong.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Sergio Romero, 7 — Didn’t have much to do in normal time but played a key role in the shootout by saving Rochdale’s second penalty from Keohane.
DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 6 — Stopped Rochdale taking the lead with an incredible goal-line clearance to deny Callum Camps but was caught out by Aaron Morley’s cross for the equaliser.
DF Marcos Rojo, 7 — Sprinted the length of the pitch to force Robert Sanchez into a good save with a diving header. Says everything that he was the main attacking threat for most of the first half.
DF Phil Jones, 5 — Turned by Matheson, leading to one promising Rochdale break. Taken off at half-time to make way for 19-year-old debutant Brandon Williams.
DF Axel Tuanzebe, 7 — United’s youngest captain since Norman Whiteside in 1985. Fantastic challenge to kill an early break from Callum Camps. One of the better players here.
MF Fred, 5 — Gave the ball away too much and did nothing to suggest he should be in the team to play Arsenal ahead of Scott McTominay.
MF Paul Pogba, 5 — Back in the team after missing three games with an ankle injury. Went close with a clipped cross that skidded past the far post but missed with a free header in the first half.
MF Jesse Lingard, 5 — Started a game for the first time in a month. Had a first-half header that shaved the bar but was otherwise snuffed out by a stubborn Rochdale defence.
FW Andreas Pereira, 5 — Had United’s first shot on target with a swerving strike that almost caught out Sanchez in the Rochdale goal. Beaten by Matheson for Rochdale’s equaliser.
FW Tahith Chong, 5 — Came up against Matheson but struggled to make an impact and was substituted on the hour.
FW Mason Greenwood, 7 — Recovered from tonsillitis to start. Scored for the second game in a row with a well-taken goal after cutting inside Rhys Norrington-Davies.
DF Brandon Williams, 6 — Positive debut in difficult circumstances.
FW Daniel James, 6 — Scored the winning penalty and his pace was evident almost immediately after coming on.
MF Juan Mata, N/R — Came on five minutes from time and made United’s first penalty.