Albion 0 Manchester United 3

Albion were punished by some Juan Mata magic as they went out of the Carabao Cup last night.

But they will have ended the evening again feeling they deserved a bit more for their efforts at the Amex.

Mata forced and took the free-kick from which Scott McTominay was allowed a free header to put United ahead against the run of play right on half-time.

And it was the Spaniard’s calm finish which gave the visitors insurance at 2-0, shortly after Dean Henderson had produced a brilliant save from substitute Leandro Trossard.

Paul Pogba’s free-kick deflected in off Joel Veltman to give the final score a very misleading look.

Now the Seagulls turn attention to the league trip to Everton, who lost Richarlison, Allan and Jonjoe Kenny to injury during their cup tie versus West Ham last night.

Lewis Dunk and Ben White bolstered Albion’s attempt to reach the quarter-finals.

The first-choice defenders started on what was a wet and stormy evening at the Amex.

Jayson Molumby returned to midfield with, as expected, Davy Propper absent.

Trossard and Neal Maupay were among the subs.

Pascal Gross started in a deep-lying position from which he was effective in the second half at Preston last week.

It is a role which gives him scope to show off his passing and play-making skills – if he can come through the defensive test posed.

Victor Lindelof was the only United player to start both on Saturday and last night.

Albion were on the defensive early on, coping with a couple of corners before coming more into it.

Alexis Mac Allister has shown an ability to make effective late runs into the box in these cup ties.

He almost did it again when he read Veltman’s chipped pass but could not quite take the ball down at the end of a nice move with Gross at its heart.

But Albion had an escape on 18 minutes after United cut through them.

Mata burst on to Brandon Williams’ pass and put in Odion Ighalo, who went around Jason Steele’s dive.

As the angle narrowed, Ighalo stretched to hook a shot into the side-netting as the sliding Dan Burn covered on the goal-line.

Albion, though, were playing the ball around nicely.

It lacked cutting edge until just before the half-hour, when Henderson was sent sprawling to his right to parry and then gather a shot from Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

The space was created by a nice move down the left by Burn and Bernardo and a really subtle little touch by Mac Allister.

Albion had to be alert at the back but the pitch suddenly opened up for a counter when a United move broke down and Gross sent Bernardo galloping away.

It looked a situation of huge promise but Eric Bailly was back very quickly to close down the wing-back in the box and win a free-kick in the process.

MacAllister and Jahanbakhsh both shot over and Albion were playing some good stuff until a move broke down and they were punished.

The back-tracking Burn opted to bring Mata down as he approached the area, taking a yellow card in the process.

Mata flighted in the resulting free-kick and White seemed to be playing McTominay onside as the United midfielder sent a free header back across Steele.

The Argus:

There was certainly a lack of marking as Albion kept a high line and it was almost a contest between McTominay and Fred to head the ball in.

Bailly slid in and made a perfectly-timed tackle on Bernardo as the Seagulls made a bright start to the second period.

But there was disappointment for Jahanbakhsh as he was forced off, replaced by Maupay.

The Iran international was rubbing the back of his right thigh as he sat on the sodden turf awaiting treatment.

Maupay joined Viktor Gyokeres up front and Albion switched to a back four with Bernardo joining Molumby in central midfield.

Steele got across to gather a well-struck Fred free-kick as the hosts settled.

That settling process took very little time. Albion started knocking the ball about well and pulling United about.

Gross thought he had threaded Mac Allister in on goal but the Argentinean failed to read his clever pass.

Albion were dominating at that stage and Trossard was next to join the fray, in place of Gyokeres.

The Argus:

He could have scored inside five minutes but Henderson denied him with a fabulous reflex save after Molumby’s tenacity set up the chance for Gross to play the ball in low from the right.

Trossard’s shot was well struck and, after his three efforts against the woodwork in the league match, he could barely believe his luck.

With that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked to his stars on the bench.

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford went on for Ighalo and the ineffective Dan James. But it was Mata who added United’s second on 73 minutes.

Donny van de Beek helped the ball through and Mata took an extra touch to wrongfoot Dunk before passing the ball inside Steele’s left-hand post.

Veltman’s foul on Marcus Rashford led to a booking and the third goal as Pogba’s resulting free-kick deflected kindly in via the Dutchman and the woodwork.

Albion: Steele; White, Dunk, Burn; Veltman, Molumby (Sanders 80), Gross, Bernardo; Jahanbakhsh (Maupay 50), Gyokeres (Trossard 63), Mac Allister. Subs: Sanchez, Roberts, Jenks, Cochrane.

Yellow card: Burn (43) foul, Veltman (79) foul.

Manchester Utd: Henderson; Dalot, Bailly, Lindelof, Williams; McTominay, Fred (Lingard 80); Mata, van de Beek, James (Pogba 69); Ighalo (Rashford 69). Subs: Greenwood, Grant, Fosu-Mensah, Mengi.

Goals: McTominay 44, Mata 73, Veltman og 80.

Yellow card: Lindelof (86) foul.

Referee: Graham Scott.