Odion Ighalo ruined Wayne Rooney’s hopes of taking Derby to an FA Cup comeback against Manchester United, with Nigeria’s striker sealing a 3-0 win in Thursday’s fifth round.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team was always in control of Pride Park and Luke Shaw opened the scoring before Ighalo took control of Rooney’s attempt to knock out his old club.
United will travel to Norwich, a Premier League struggler, in their sixth consecutive quarter-final appearance in a competition that have been won 12 times.
Ighalo is at United just a few weeks after arriving from China, but his second and third goals for the club have gotten the attention of Old Trafford icon Rooney.
Rooney left United in 2017 after 13 brilliant years, including five Premier League titles, Champions League glory and a record 253 goals at the club.
The 34-year-old had spells with Everton and DC United before joining second-tier Derby as a player coach alongside boss Phillip Cocu in January.
It was the first time that Rooney faced United since playing for Everton in January 2018 and he remains goalless in seven games against them.
Eighteen years after he came on the scene as a teenager, with Everton’s brilliant goal against Arsenal, Rooney remains one of the most fascinating figures in English football and he was the center of attention as fans of both teams chanted his name before the start.
But, no longer the effervescent threat that terrified defenders with his power and poise, Rooney is playing a profound role these days and he has not been able to turn the years around in the face of a composite United display.
It was a Derby player, who is 16 years younger than Rooney who almost gave the hosts a shocking advantage when Louis Sibley fired from a distance.
Rooney went even closer with a free kick that forced Sergio Romeo to make a spectacular save on his next post.
There are six changes for United as Romero started the goal for David De Gea after his draw at Everton last weekend, while Harry Maguire was ruled out with an ankle injury.
Bruno Fernandes, the new idol of United fans, was on the team and the Portuguese midfielder started pulling the strings.
United looked more dangerous when Fernandes warmed up and Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos made an excellent save to repel Ighalo’s shot from just six meters.
United’s pressure paid off with a lucky goal in the 33rd minute.
Fernandes’ shot was deflected into the air and Shaw found him with a volley from the edge of the area, the ball kicking out of Jesse Lingard and past Roos into the net.
Shaw became a provider, as United doubled their lead eight minutes later.
Advancing intently towards the Derby area, the left-back gave a pass to Ighalo, who moved away from two defenders before hitting Roos six yards.
Rooney was unable to contain the tide and his response was a frustrated foul for Scott McTominay that earned him a reserve.
Choosing a more palatable approach to lead Derby’s reaction early in the second half, Rooney received a sumptuous pass to Jayden Bogle, whose cross was headed by Martyn Waghorn.
Ighalo ended any hope of a Rooney-inspired revival in the 70th minute.
Juan Mata caught Ighalo in the area and when the 30-year-old’s opening shot got blocked, he kept his composure to guide the rebound right into the net.
In what would be an exciting end for Rooney, his free kick almost reached Romero with a brilliant tip.