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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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N Forest 0 – 3 Man Utd

Manchester United took full control of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest with a 3–0 win in the first leg at The City Ground.

Marcus Rashford’s stunning solo goal opened the scoring before Wout Weghorst’s first goal in a United shirt, followed by Bruno Fernandes’ late third, put Erik ten Hag’s team in a commanding position for the second leg at Old Trafford.

Competing all along on a noisy night at the Trent, Forest thought they could only equalize in the first half as Sam Surridge’s attempt was disallowed for offside. But it was the United supporters who sang about Wembley and dreamed of ending their six-year wait for a trophy.

Player Ratings

Nottingham Forest: Hennessey (5), Aurier (6), Worrall (5), McKenna (6), Lodi (5), Freuler (5), Scarpa (6), Danilo (7), Gibbs-White (7), Johnson (6 ), Surridge (6).

Subs: 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).

Subs: Garnacho (6), Fred (6), Pellistri (6).

Player of the match: Lisandro Martinez.

How United won on the night

Both groups of supporters created a boisterous atmosphere, the pinch of silverware enough to get everyone excited after years of Manchester City and Liverpool dominating this competition. But it didn’t take long for United to assert themselves thanks to Rashford in form.

He’d already had a few early chances to run into the Forest defence, but he saved his most spectacular work for the run-up to the opening goal, sliding from deep past Remo Freuler and Joe Worrall, riding the ricochets and finishing with his left foot.

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Marcus Rashford put Manchester United ahead early on after a brilliant solo run

It’s now 10 goals in 10 games for Rashford and even the decision to run to defense with such a goal speaks volumes for the England striker’s confidence at the moment. Forest had to regroup and the night would have been different had the next big call gone their way.

Rashford’s loose pass allowed Morgan to break Gibbs-White and it appeared his pass to Surridge had been skillfully timed for the striker to caress the ball into the far corner of David de Gea’s net. Replays showed that Surridge was just offside.

Forest’s push for the equalizer had the crowd raging, Gustavo Scarpa’s vicious volley forced a clever save and Brennan Johnson looked dangerous in the right channel. But Weghorst’s goal just before half-time tested even the most fervent Forest fans.

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Wout Weghorst put Manchester United 2-0 against Nottingham Forest

Dean Henderson substitute Wayne Hennessey saved Antony’s first try but was only able to push the ball into the path of Weghorst who did well to keep the ball down by beating the goalkeeper. The Dutchman deserved it because of his intelligent performance.

His game of robbery was fantastic, making those around him better by encouraging them to follow their steps in the knowledge that he will find them. The third arrived, Christian Eriksen hit the frame of the goal, but it was Fernandes who found it.

His low shot from just inside the box late in the game gives Forest some clarity. Their thoughts soon turn to a stay in the Premier League. For United, the prospect of a final against Newcastle or Southampton offers the chance to end that trophy drought.

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Bruno Fernandes’ low drive made it 3-0 for Manchester United

Player of the match: Lisandro Martinez

“He’s proud of his defense,” said Roy Keane Sky Sports. “You’ve seen his character and his desire. He wants to defend. He’s the kind of person you want to be in the trenches with. From a defender’s point of view, they’ll be happy with a clean sheet.”

‘Very comfortable for United’

“It was very comfortable for United,” said Keane. “They will be happy with that. A clean sheet and three goals. Forest lacked quality. They were too open and gave the goals away as such bad times. Manchester United fans can get ready for Wembley.”

Keane: ‘Rashford peaking’

“Sometimes it’s about confidence. That’s where he peaks now. He’s played a lot of games for United in recent years and big games for England.”

“Sometimes the penny drops with a player when it comes to making decisions and putting the ball in the back of the net. And they’ve needed it.”

“The question mark I’ve had about Marcus over the years is, does he have that personality to perform?

“United have had some great strikers over the years and I think they need someone like that. Marcus has to say he wants that responsibility to be the main man. The best players come out week in, week out. It seems insists he is.” enjoy that responsibility now, which is great to see.”

United’s victory in statistics

  • Manchester United are the first side ever to win eight consecutive meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions.
  • Nottingham Forest lost a game in the League Cup semi-final for the first time, in what was their 13th game at this stage of the competition.
  • Nottingham Forest suffered their first defeat at the City Ground since September, ending a run of eight home games without a loss in all competitions.
  • Marcus Rashford has scored 10 goals in 10 appearances for Manchester United in all competitions since the 2022 World Cup, the most by any player for clubs in Europe’s five major leagues at this time.
  • Rashford has scored 18 goals in all club competitions this season; only Erling Haaland (31) has scored more for a Premier League club.
  • Wout Weghorst was the first player to score his first league goal for Manchester United in the League Cup since Andreas Pereira against Ipswich in September 2015.
  • Bruno Fernandes recorded his 100th goal for Manchester United in all competitions, scoring 56 and assisting 44.

What’s next?

Nottingham Forest are already out of the FA Cup, so have a free weekend. As a result, their next game on Wednesday is the Carabao Cup semi-final in Manchester United, live Sky Sports; starting at 8 p.m.

Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m

Starts at 8:00 PM

Forest then host To lead in the Premier League live on Sunday 5 February Sky Sports; starting at 2 p.m.

Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m

Starts at 2 p.m

Manchester United are next in action on Saturday when they host Reading in the FA Cup; starting at 8 p.m.

Erik ten Hag’s team will then receive Forest at Old Trafford on Wednesday, with a place in the Carabao Cup final at stake.

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