William Grigg and Benik Afobe each scored twice and Ben Reeves assisted three goals as League One side Milton Keynes Dons bagged a famous 4-0 win over visiting Manchester United on Tuesday night at StadiumMK in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
Grigg netted in the 25th and 63rd minutes to set the Dons on their way before substitute Afobe added a late brace to send the Dons into dreamland. Reeves assisted the first three goals and starred in the midfield as Karl Robinson's third-tier team tore United's defence apart repeatedly throughout the 90 minutes.
The result sends MK Dons into the third round, the point at which teams participating in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League enter the competition, with a first-ever win over the 20-time English champions.
For United, it's an embarrassing loss on a day that otherwise would have been one to remember. Earlier Tuesday, the club announced, via Twitter, the signing of Argentine winger Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid for a British record £59.7 million transfer fee. The move will lift spirits around Old Trafford, but the loss to MK Dons highlighted the need for additional signings to further strengthen the squad.
Merely appearing in Tuesday's match was an unfamiliar sensation for United, who had not played in the second round of the league cup since 1995, when they lost to York City, per OptaJoe. Tuesday's loss means the Red Devils are still searching for their first competitive victory under manager Louis van Gaal, who took over in the summer following a disastrous 2013-14 campaign largely overseen by David Moyes.
Up next for United is a trip to Burnley on Saturday in the Premier League.
Can understand younger players struggling. But there were enough senior pros playing to ensure that didn't happen. Awful performance.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) August 26, 2014
Whatever team Man Utd field , a 0-4 defeat to MK Dons is embarrassing and humiliating. Shambolic defending. Burnley next on BT Sport Sat.— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) August 26, 2014
How did United sink this far this fast?— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) August 26, 2014
Against MK Dons, Van Gaal opted for an unfamiliar lineup, with Saidy Janko and Reece James making their competitive first-team debuts. Even so, the Red Devils featured seven internationals—but they were soon exposed ruthlessly and repeatedly in what will surely go down as a landmark day for the home side.
Manchester United started brightly and had a first sight of goal in the fourth minute as Nick Powell curled a shot over the bar from the edge of the box. Seven minutes later, Shinji Kagawa tried to pick out Danny Welbeck's run into the box, but the former's angled pass rolled too close to Dons goalkeeper David Martin, who smothered the ball.
The next chance fell to MK Dons, with Darren Potter turning acrobatically before volleying over the bar in the 12th minute.
Eight minutes later, United had to withdraw Kagawa, who received a bloody nose in a clash of heads with Potter, replacing him with Adnan Januzaj.
Five minutes later, disaster struck the visitors.
There seemed to be little danger as Evans held the ball deep in his own box, but the United captain misplaced a careless pass directly to Dons midfielder Ben Reeves. Reeves cut back to Grigg, who finished first time past David de Gea to give the hosts a shocking 1-0 lead.
MK Dons/Jonny Evans 1-0 Manchester United. Whoops: https://t.co/VRlSGtnL68— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) August 26, 2014
Powell came close again in the 34th minute, rifling a shot off target from distance, but United limped into half-time trailing by a goal.
MK Dons appealed for a penalty five minutes in as Evans nearly made his second costly mistake of the match. But although a ball struck by Dean Bowditch made contact with Evans' arm in the box, referee Stuart Attwell waved play on.
United continued to struggle to create chances, though Welbeck fizzed a shot narrowly wide in the 59th minute. Four minutes later, they found themselves further behind.
Again the chance came from a United giveaway, and again Reeves and Grigg played the starring roles. Taking advantage of a poor pass in midfield, Dons countered quickly and worked the ball to Reeves down the left flank. Reeves crossed into the middle for Grigg, who chested the ball into the net for a 2-0 MK Dons advantage.
United were reeling, but their plight would soon become worse.
Just seven minutes after scoring their second, Dons grabbed a third goal. After yet another United giveaway in the 70th minute, the hosts countered quickly again, working the ball to Reeves on the right. Reeves cleverly disguised his angled pass to Afobe, who finished calmly past De Gea for a 3-0 lead.
By that point, it was nothing short of an embarrassment for United, but the Red Devils did have a chance to pull a goal back in the 72nd minute. But although substitute James Wilson curled his well-struck shot on target, Martin was positioned to save comfortably.
Januzaj hit the post with a shot in the 81st minute, but that was as close as United came. Six minutes from time, the humiliation was complete as Dons added their fourth.
Afobe was the scorer again, running onto Danny Green's long ball into United's half before beating three defenders. The Arsenal loanee then beat De Gea for the second time, sealing Dons' big night—and ensuring United's nightmare in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era continues.
4-0. Afobe powers through #mufc wretched defence. United leaderless, defenceless.— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 26, 2014
The entire MK Dons squad cost £235,000 - Equivalent to less than a weeks wages for Wayne Rooney!!— Uber Football Fact (@UberFootFact) August 26, 2014
Van Gaal on 4-0 loss to MK Dons: "We didn't have the luck to score but at least we have created a lot of chances"— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 26, 2014
Van Gaal on 4-0 humiliation: "I have seen them trying to their utmost best. You can't expect more of the players"— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 26, 2014
Van Gaal added: "I hope the fans maintain their confidence in the club and in our philosophy because that philosophy takes time." #MUFClive— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 26, 2014