Manchester United went for a row when they put together an outstanding nine straight wins in all competitions after a monumental victory over their fiercest rival Manchester City at Old Trafford. Nonetheless, its impressive winning momentum was nipped in its following two games, after drawing Crystal Palace away from home and losing to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Last night’s Carabao Cup semifinal first leg kickstarted the Red Devils’ busy schedule in the next months as they will have another nine games in four competitions contested within the span of a month.
United came to City Ground with an aim to go back to winning ways as soon as possible and Erik ten Hag’s men made no mistake during the game and will start the second leg with a resounding 3-0 score line.
Rashford Scored AGAIN, Weghorst Off the Mark
30-year-old new loanee Wout Weghorst continued to start for Manchester United for the third straight time in the game, and it was the first time he represented the Red Devils in a cup competition. Eager to bounce back from the cruel defeat to Premier League leader Arsenal last time around, United wasted no time to set the tone of the game against their Carabao Cup semifinal opponent. In the sixth minute of the game, the in-form Marcus Rashford received a ball from Casemiro at his own half and took on the entire Nottingham Forest F. C. defence on his own, scoring a wondergoal at the near post with his left foot as a result. It was the England international’s 18th goal in all competitions for Manchester United this season, and he is only five goals away from breaking his best goal scoring record of 22 goals in a season with half a season of games to go.
Nottingham Forest almost drew level 18 minutes later, only to have its shot ruled out by video assistant referee (VAR). United escaped that equaliser and doubled its lead just before the half time, as Brazilian winger Antony’s strike was too much for Wayne Hennessey and his save landed before the right foot of Weghorst’s. The Dutchman scored his first goal for his new club through outside of his boot and gave United a 2-0 lead going into the break.
The score line remained till the final moments of the match, until the Swedish substitute Anthony Elanga assisted United’s captain Bruno Fernandes to score the Red Devils’ third goal of the evening. The strike was the 28-year-old midfielder’s sixth of the season, bringing his total tally for Manchester United to 56 goals in four seasons.
View this post on Instagram
Ten Hag: “There Was One Moment That Could Have Changed the Game.”
After the game, Manchester United’s 52-year-old manager Erik ten Hag admitted that Nottingham Forest could have altered the course of the game with their equaliser in the first half, if it was not VAR’s decision to rule it out. The Dutchman was delighted with his team’s performance but had warned them to prevent situations like this to happen again in the future as they are capable of changing the result of a game. He added, “They changed the system, and we didn’t anticipate that. It cannot happen. This is still where we have to learn and improve if [we] want to be top. These moments can’t happen. We almost let them come [into] the game. We can’t allow an opponent to get back when we started so good. We need to avoid that. I think in the second half, we were much more composed, and we tracked them. It was much better.”
The on-loan Dutch forward who finally scored for his new club, Weghorst, is determined to lead the team to the Carabao Cup final after beating their opponent convincingly. He wants his side to keep the momentum going and finish the semifinal round with flying colours, when Manchester United host Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford next week. Before the second leg of the Carabao Cup can take place, the Red Devils will first play Championship side Reading at home in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup this Saturday.
In another cup competition in Spain football, Real overcame their Madrid rival Atlético after an extra time comeback win in the quarterfinal of the Copa del Rey. Click here for more.