Manchester United have all but booked their place in the Carabao Cup final after a 3-0 win away to Nottingham Forest in the first leg of their semi-final tie.
This visitors got off to a great start and the sixth-minute goal came from who else but the man of the moment Marcus Rashford. The English forward ran up the left flank from his own half, breezed between two defenders into the box and stuffed the ball beyond Wayne Hennessey.
Forest weren’t for going down easy and almost got themselves an equaliser in the 23rd minute when Morgan Gibbs-White slipped the ball to Sam Surridge on the break. The latter applied a brilliant first-time finish but VAR ruled that he was just offside when the pass was played.
United continued to probe for a second, but had to be wary of the threat posed by the threats. In the 28th minute, again on the break, Brennan Johnson went for goal instead of squaring to a teammate, squandering a golden chance and giving David de Gea an easy save.
Minutes later, 20-year-old Johnson danced by several players after Casemiro was robbed in midfield, but this time he blazed his effort over the bar.
The Brazilian was stronger just before half time when he drove forward before sliding the ball to Christian Eriksen on the edge of the box. The Dane’s shot was parried but Wout Weghorst showed great instincts to pounce on the rebound for his first United goal.
After the break, Eriksen had another go, but his swerving effort hit the bar this time.
If there was any doubt about the result on the night, Bruno Fernandes put a potential nail in Forest’s coffin shortly before the end of regulation time. After Anthony Elanga flicked the ball into his path, the Portuguese midfielder drilled home to make United’s place in the final all but certain.
The second leg will be played at Old Trafford one week today, on Wednesday, February 1 at 20:00 local time (21:00 CET).
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