Manchester United took a step towards Wembley Way after taking control of the Carabao Cup semi-final with a 3-0 win in the first leg at Nottingham Forest.
Halftime goals from Marcus Rashford and Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes’ final third at City Ground mean that United’s appearance in the League Cup final at the national stadium next month may only be stopped by a miraculous comeback in the second game next week.
Rashford’s strike was a moment of individual brilliance as he sprinted for 50 yards and transformed, as Weghorst celebrated his first goal for the club since his move from Burnley on loan, while Fernandes effectively killed the draw at death.
The win put United on the brink of returning to Wembley for their first domestic appearance since losing the 2018 FA Cup final, and Erik ten Hag will have the possibility of ending the club’s trophy drought leading into 2017 with certainty on target. First season at Old Trafford.
Forest, whose League Cup history is as rich as that of United, which has won four titles in 12 years under Brian Clough, will see this as a missed opportunity to go to Old Trafford next week with something to hold onto.
They had a strong first half as Sam Surridge scored an disallowed goal and Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson had good opportunities.
But Ten Hag’s side is on their way to victory on the banks of the Trent and Wembley day will be circling their calendar February 26 to go out, while Forest will have to channel his former manager Clough in hopes of a miracle.
The two sides faced off at Wembley in the 1992 League Cup final, which United won thanks to Brian McClair’s goal, and the current crop has shown they are eager to get back there this year.
Ten Hag picked their strongest side possible and was rewarded with an early lead as Rashford’s lofty form continued with a brilliant individual goal.
The English international, who had scored in the previous three rounds of this competition, picked up the ball in his own half, carried it across the field, plunged between Joe Worrall and Remo Freuler and defeated Wayne Hennessey at close range. Message.
It was his 10th goal in 10 games since restarting after the World Cup, and his form was the driving force behind United’s impressive results.
There were more goals for a dominant start for the visitors, but Antony dragged two shots off the post from good positions after cutting from the right.
The jungle overflowed in the 15th minute in the opening, but they came alive in the 23rd minute and thought they had equalized.
A great counterattack saw Gibbs-White feed Sam Surridge into the bottom corner, who had a good first-time finish.
However, VAR was canceled after finding Surridge’s index to be offside.
To their credit, Forest didn’t let this disappointment affect them and they kept moving forward and got a chance at a tie.
David de Gea made a flying save to keep Gustavo Scarpa’s volley off the edge of the field, then landed well to stop Gibbs-White’s effort and watched Johnson glide past a few United tackles.
Absorbing that pressure, United scored a terrific second goal at halftime.
They moved the ball deftly from back to front, and after Hennessey smashed Antony’s shot, Weghorst reacted first, bringing home the rebound and smashing the United duck.
The hosts struggled to recreate the energy they showed in the first half and United kept them at arm’s length.
Indeed, it was the visitors who won 8-1 on their last visit to the City Ground in 1999 and cemented the tie as Fernandes finished low at home in the 89th after Christian Eriksen had previously hit the crossbar. minute.