Manchester United took full control of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest with a 3-0 first leg win at The City Ground.
Marcus Rashford’s stunning own goal opened the scoring before Wout Weghorst’s first goal in a United shirt followed by Bruno Fernandes late in the third put Erik ten Hag’s side in command ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford.
Forest competed throughout the night with Trent and thought they had an equalizer in the first half only for Sam Surridge’s effort to be blocked. But it was United supporters who called Wembley and dreamed of ending their six-year wait to lift the trophy.
Nottingham Forest: Hennessey (5), Aurier (6), Worrall (5), McKenna (6), Lodi (5), Freuler (5), Scarpa (6), Danilo (7), Gibbs-White (7), Johnson (6) ) ), Running (6).
Subscribers: Colback (6), Lingard (6), Dennis (5), O’Brien (6), Williams (6).
Manchester United: De Gea (6), Wan-Bissaka (6), Lindelof (7), Martinez (8), Malacia (6), Casemiro (7), Eriksen (7), Fernandes (7), Antony (7), Rashford ( 8), Weghorst (8).
Subscribers: Grenache (6), Fred (6), Pellistri (6).
Player of the game: Lisandro Martinez
How United won the night
The two teams created a stir, a whiff of silverware enough to please anyone after years of Manchester City and Liverpool dominating the competition. But it didn’t take long for United to convince themselves thanks to Rashford’s form.
He had plenty of chances to run at the Forest defense but saved his impressive work to set up the opening goal, chipping past Remo Freuler and Joe Worrall from deep, riding the ricochets and finishing with his left. foot.
It’s now 10 goals in 10 games for Rashford and even the thought of running into the defense with such a goal shows the England international’s confidence right now. Forest had to regroup and the night could have been different if the big call had gone.
Rashford’s pass allowed Morgan Gibbs-White to break away and it looked like his pass to Surridge was expertly placed for the striker to follow the ball into the far corner of David de Gea’s net. Replays showed that Surridge was only offside.
Forest’s push for parity saw the crowd rise, Gustavo Scarpa’s wicked volley forcing a smart save and Brennan Johnson looking dangerous in the right direction. But Weghorst’s goal just before the end of the half tested the faith of the Forest fans.
Wayne Hennessey, Dean Henderson’s substitute, saved Antony’s first attempt but only pushed the ball into the path of Weghorst who did well to keep the ball from hitting the goalkeeper. The Dutchman deserved it for his brilliant work.
His handling skills were excellent, making those around him better by encouraging them to follow their papers knowing they would get them. The third comes, Christian Eriksen hits the goal, but it’s Fernandes who gets it.
His low strike from inside the box late in the game gave Forest a clear lead. Their attitude has changed soon to be in the Premier League. For United, the prospect of a final against Newcastle or Southampton offers the chance to end that drought.
Player of the match: Lisandro Martinez
“He prides himself on his defence,” said Roy Keane Sky Sports. “You’ve seen his character and his desire. He wants to defend. He’s the type of guy you want to have in the trenches. From a defender’s point of view they’ll be happy with a clean sheet.”
‘Great for United’
“It was great for United,” Keane said. “They will be happy with this. A clean sheet and three goals. Forest had no character. They were very open and gave away goals in difficult times. Manchester United fans can start preparing for Wembley.”
Keane: ‘Rashford is at his peak’
“Sometimes it’s about confidence. That’s where he’s coming up a lot. He’s played a lot of games for United and big games in England over the last few years.
“Sometimes the money comes down to the players making decisions and putting the ball in the back of the net, and they need him.
“The question I’ve had about Marcus over the last few years is, does he have the personality to be successful?
“United have had great strikers over the years, and I think they need someone like that. Marcus has said he wants the role to be big. The best players come week in week out. Now we’re enjoying that role, which is great to see.”
United’s victory in numbers
- Manchester United are the first team to win eight consecutive meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions.
- Nottingham Forest lost the League Cup final for the first time, in their 13th game at this level.
- Nottingham Forest suffered their first defeat at the City Ground since September, ending an eight-game home unbeaten run in all competitions.
- Marcus Rashford has scored 10 goals in 10 games for Manchester United in all competitions since the 2022 World Cup ended, more than any player in Europe’s top five clubs this season.
- Rashford has scored 18 goals in all competitions for clubs this season; Only Erling Haaland (31) has scored more for a Premier League club.
- Wout Weghorst was the first player to score his first goal for Manchester United in the League Cup since Andreas Pereira against Ipswich in September 2015.
- Bruno Fernandes has registered 100 goals for Manchester United in all competitions, scoring 56 and assisting 44.
Nottingham Forest you’re already out of the FA Cup so have a free weekend. As a result, their next game is the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Manchester United on Wednesday, live on. Sky Sports; from 8 pm.
Forest is the host Leeds in the Premier League on Sunday February 5, continue Sky Sports; from 2 pm.
Manchester United he is coming again on Saturday when he will receive Reading in the FA Cup; from 8 pm.
Erik ten Hag’s side next host Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday, with a place in the Carabao Cup final on the line.