Manchester United last won a major trophy more than half a decade ago, a UEFA Europa League title over Erik ten Hag’s Ajax under the “Special One” Jose Mourinho. Since then, the team had finished second in both league as well as cup competitions five times in total, and every Red Devils’ fan is more than desperate to see the English football giant revive its old glory days. Last night, the Manchester United side, which is now managed by the former Ajax head coach, finally made it into another Carabao Cup final in six years, after seeing off its semifinal opponent Nottingham Forest F. C. with an aggregate score of 5-0 over two legs. This triumph allowed the team from the Red Half of Manchester to set up a final against fellow Premier League side, the rising Newcastle United.
Martial Back on the Scoresheet
The clash saw many important United figures returned for Erik ten Hag’s team, namely Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho. The Frenchman had not played since the Red Devils’ monumental victory over their arch-nemesis Manchester City while the England forward was out since the end of October last year. After a goalless first 45 minutes, United’s 53-year-old manager decided to shift things up and brought on his three forwards, the in-form Marcus Rashford as well as the two long-time absentees from the bench. These changes immediately sparked flares to the game and Manchester United needed only ten minutes from its substitute to open the score line.
A breakthrough came when Brazil midfielder Casemiro intercepted a forward pass from the team in yellow and his pass quickly found the charging Martial. The 27-year-old striker ran into the penalty box before squaring a pass to United’s no. 10 for a close range shot. Rashford’s strike was blocked by the opposing defender, only to have the ball landed perfectly for Martial to score his sixth goal of the season for the Red Devils.
Despite achieving a 4-0 aggregate margin, United did not stop going forward and put together a brilliant passage of plays before doubling its lead. The attack started off with another Brazilian Fred, when he sent the ball to Martial in the middle. The Frenchman gave the ball to fellow replacement Sancho, for him to direct a pass to his team captain Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese’s delicious delivery found Rashford at the near post, who then crossed for the unmarked Fred to slot home United’s second goal of the night. The 29-year-old midfielder is currently enjoying his best scoring record as a United player, having already scored four goals with half a season of games left to be played.
Tony Martial back on the scoresheet.
Fred making it two in two.
Old Trafford bouncing.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2023
Newcastle Awaits in the Final
United won the title when they last progressed into the Carabao Cup final in the 2016/2017 Season, and Erik ten Hag’s men are set to end their six-year wait for another league cup success when they meet Newcastle United as their last hurdle in this year’s competition; The latter overcame Southampton F. C. with a 3-1 score line after two legs of competitions.
Luke Shaw of Manchester United warned his team to not let off at this moment and goes on to lift the title at the end of this month, stating that “There’s no point going to a final if you don’t win it. It’s a massive opportunity for us, it’s where we want to be, playing in big games, in big finals, getting this club back to where it should be, challenging for trophies.” Nonetheless, before the Carabao Cup final can take place, United will have to fulfil their Premier League obligations as well as a two-legged UEFA Europa League Play-Off fixture against Spanish La Liga powerhouse Barcelona in the space of three weeks. Fatigue and fitness level of players will certainly be a vital component to United’s performance throughout February’s exhausting schedule.
Elsewhere in England, 19-time league champion Liverpool lost its third game in six matches in all competitions after their FA Cup Fourth Round loss to Brighton & Hove Albion F. C., we have all the game highlights for you: https://www.otherleague.com/football/liverpool-lost-to-brighton-fa-cup