Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney was twice close to netting against his former club – but was denied by brilliant saves from Sergio Romero.
Rooney said his former teammate Romero “wasn’t kind” as he kept out a stoppage-time free-kick that even the home fans might have cheered, given United had wrapped up a 3-0 FA Cup win against Derby County.
The Argentine keeper had also foiled Rooney earlier in the contest with a score still at 0-0, diving down low to palm away a free-kick that was dipping towards the bottom corner.
Romero’s second save from Rooney meant there was no sentimental goal for the man who scored a club-record 253 in 559 appearances during 13 years with the Red Devils.
And the Derby skipper told BT Sport afterwards: “Sergio was not in a kind mood. He could have let that one in.
“It would have been nice, but it wasn’t to be.”
United’s win on Thursday set up a quarter-final away to Premier League strugglers Norwich City.
But had Rooney’s first free-kick gone in, it might have been a different story.
The game was still in the balance at that point, but Luke Shaw opened the scoring just past the half-hour mark, before January signing Odion Ighalo scored two to wrap up the win and take his tally to three goals in two starts for United.
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Derby player-coach Rooney will now concentrate on his side’s bid to climb the Championship table, with a home game against Blackburn up next.
“We had to try and take our moments, and unfortunately we didn’t,” said Rooney after the defeat to United.
“We gave everything and unfortunately we came up short.
“We’ve got a big game on Sunday so we’ll move on.”