Danny Welbeck also scored yesterday at City’s Etihad Stadium as United eliminated the defending champion. City, which had captain Vincent Kompany red-carded after 12 minutes, got second-half goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero.
“We knew it was going to be difficult, going 3-0 up we maybe took our foot off the gas a bit,” Rooney told ITV. “We had to make sure we saw the game out and thankfully we managed to do that.”
United will travel to Liverpool in the next round. Fourth- round matches are scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 28 and 29.
In yesterday’s other matches, Chelsea beat Portsmouth 4-0, Sunderland defeated Peterborough 2-0, while Sheffield Wednesday won 1-0 against West Ham.
United included Scholes among its substitutes eight months after the former England midfielder retired. It was announced yesterday the 37-year-old would rejoin the club’s playing staff until the end of the season.
United took the lead at the Etihad Stadium on 10 minutes with a goal from Rooney, who two days ago denied a newspaper report that said he wanted to leave. The England striker headed into the net off the underside of the bar from an Antonio Valencia cross.
Two minutes later, City captain Kompany was red-carded for a two-footed challenge on Nani, even though he protested that he won the ball.
City striker Aguero almost tied the match soon after with a long-range strike that goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard had to tip wide. David Silva and Aguero had further efforts for the hosts before United doubled its advantage when Welbeck volleyed in on 30 minutes.
United held a three-goal advantage at halftime. Kolarov fouled Welbeck and Rooney’s subsequent penalty kick was stopped by Costel Pantilimon before the striker followed up to head in from the rebound.
The hosts got a goal back three minutes after halftime as Kolarov curled a 25-yard (23 meter) free kick into the top corner of the net. On 65 minutes, Aguero scored at the second attempt after Lindegaard blocked his first effort.
In between City’s two goals, Scholes was introduced as a substitute for Nani to make his 677th appearance for the club.
City pushed for another goal and came close in injury time as Lindegaard parried a free kick from Kolarov before United managed to clear.
“We made them better than they were,” United manager Alex Ferguson told ITV. “It was a careless performance. We should have been home and dry.”
The Independent on Jan. 7 said that an argument between Rooney and Ferguson in December had damaged the pair’s working relationship and may lead to the sale of the 26-year-old player this month. The club and Rooney both issued statements denying the claim.
It was City’s first home defeat since a Premier League game against Everton in December 2010. United’s victory ends a run of two straight defeats.
City manager Roberto Mancini told ITV that he is “sure we will win” an appeal against Kompany’s red card.
Sunderland also avoided an upset with goals from Sebastian Larsson and James McClean against Peterborough.
Sheffield Wednesday, of the third-tier League One, beat Championship team West Ham on a late goal from Chris O’Grady. Wednesday goalkeeper Nicky Weaver saved a penalty kick from Sam Baldock.
Arsenal, which is aiming to tie United’s record of 11 F.A. Cup titles, hosts Leeds in today’s match.
FOURTH ROUND DRAW: Brighton or Wrexham vs Newcastle Sunderland vs Middlesbrough Dagenham or Millwall vs Southampton Hull City vs Crawley Town MK Dons or QPR vs Chelsea West Brom vs Norwich City Blackpool vs Sheffield Wednesday Arsenal or Leeds vs Aston Villa Stevenage vs Notts County Watford vs Tottenham Liverpool vs Manchester United Derby vs Stoke City Everton vs Fulham Macclesfield or Bolton vs Swansea City Sheffield United vs Birmingham or Wolves Nottm Forest or Leicester vs Swindon Town *T To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at email@example.com To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at firstname.lastname@example.org