Manchester United took a commanding lead in their Carabao Cup semi-final with a 3-0 first leg victory over Nottingham Forest.
Goals from Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes at the City Ground make it unlikely that Forest will be able to overturn the deficit in next week’s second leg.
Rashford’s goal was a solo effort, Weghorst’s was his first for the club since joining on loan from Burnley, and Fernandes’ sealed the win.
The win puts United on the brink of returning to Wembley for their first domestic final since the 2018 FA Cup.
Forest will however, see this as a missed opportunity to head into the second leg with a chance of progressing.
The Notts had a strong showing in the first half with a Sam Surridge’s disallowed goal and potential scoring opportunities for Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson. However, United ultimately secured a comfortable win and are now looking forward to the possibility of a final at Wembley on February 26.
This match brought back memories of the 1992 League Cup final where United, led by Brian McClair, emerged victorious against Forest.
United manager Erik ten Tag, chose to field his strongest team and was rewarded with an early lead thanks to Marcus Rashford’s individual goal. Rashford, who has scored in the previous three rounds of the competition, picked up the ball in his own half, dribbled past the defense, and beat the goalkeeper at the near post. That was his 10th goal in 10 games since the resumption after the World Cup and his form has been a major factor in United’s recent success.
United had several chances to score more goals in the beginning of the match, with Antony missing a couple of shots from good positions after cutting in from the right.
Nottingham Forest initially struggled, but they eventually came back into the game and nearly scored an equalizer in the 23rd minute when Sam Surridge finished off a counter-attack by Morgan Gibbs-White, but the goal was disallowed by VAR for offside.
They continued to push forward and had several more chances to score, but David De Gea made several saves to keep them at bay. United scored a second goal on the stroke of halftime when Wout Weghorst fired home the rebound after Wayne Hennessey had palmed out Antony’s shot.
Forest struggled to recreate their first half performance in the second half and United kept control of the match. Eriksen hit the crossbar before Bruno Fernandes scored a third goal in the 89th minute. The goal sparked wild celebrations among the United supporters, one of which fell through a broken hoarding.