Odion Ighalo missed a glaring opportunity to end his goal drought for Manchester United as the Red Devils beat Brighton for the second time in four days to seal progress to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Ighalo had scored in his first four starts for United in Cup competitions but has now failed to score in his last three with his last goal coming against Norwich in the FA Cup in June.
Restored to the starting line up after missing out completely from the squad that beat Brighton in controversial fashion in the Premier League last Saturday, the 32-year-old former Nigeria international was presented with an excellent opportunity to give United a first half lead but could only hit the side-netting from an angle after taking the ball around home goalkeeper Jason Steele.
His miss didn’t prove costly as Scot McTominay headed United in front from a Juan Mata set piece shortly before the interval.
Mata made it 2-0 in the second half before substitute Paul Pogba who came on as Ighalo was subbed off in the 69th minute sealed the win with a sumptuous free kick.
Elsewhere, Alex Iwobi continued his gradual return to form by playing a part in Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hat trick as Everton saw off West Ham 4-1 to progress to the last eight of the competition.
Iwobi, 23, came on in the 62nd minute for the injured Richarlison and it was his shot off the post that Calvert-Lewin tapped in for his second of the night.
The England international had earlier put the Toffees in front in the first half before adding two second half goals to claim his second treble of the season.
Brazilian Richarlison had scored Everton’s second to restore their lead after Robert Snodgrass had temporarily drawn West Ham level.
The win might yet prove costly for Carlo Ancelotti who saw midfielder Allan join Richarlison in going off injured.
Newcastle are also through to the quarters but required penalties to see off lower tier Newport County after it ended 1-1 in regulation time.
Raheem Sterling scored a brace and new signing Ferran Torres scored his first goal for Manchester City as the holders brushed aside Burnley at Turf Moor.
The draw for the quarter-finals takes place after Liverpool’s tie against Arsenal on Thursday.