Carrying a seven-game winning streak into the quarterfinal of the Carabao Cup, it was an uphill task for EFL League One side Charlton Athletic F. C. to leave Old Trafford with anything against the mighty Manchester United. Erik ten Hag’s men have been firing on all cylinders since the FIFA World Cup break and showed their class in last night’s fixture, winning the game with a 3-0 convincing score line and making it into a first semifinal appearance in cup competitions since the Dutchman’s arrival as the head coach. In the other quarterfinal encounter yesterday, Premier League clubs Newcastle United and Leicester City played out a 2-0 win to the Magpies’ favour at St. James’ Park.
Antony with Another Left-Footed Stunner
Erik ten Hag made eight changes to his side that emerged victorious against Everton in the Third Round of the FA Cup, leaving Tyrell Malacia, Diogo Dalot, Antony with consecutive starting appearances for the Red Devils in this fixture. United started the game with total dominance and its effort soon found the back of the net, when Fred passed the ball to his out-wide Brazil teammate Antony, before the 22-year-old Osasco-born player cut in to score his fifth goal for the home side since joining the club in August. That goal meant Antony has now scored in his last two appearances for Manchester United too. The Red Devils came close to double their lead before half-time, with Fred hitting a freekick which met the right side of the goal post.
It’s Rashford Again and Again
Both teams switched side but United’s momentum did not sway away. Realising that his side needed more to secure the victory, Erik ten Hag made three changes on the hour mark and brought on his usual starters, changing the game for good. The electric Alejandro Garnacho pushed from the left flank and sent a pass to Christian Eriksen, only to have his shot parried away by the opposing goalkeeper. Just before the added-time was given, Facundo Pellistri, who came on few minutes earlier, fed a delicious pass to the in-form Marcus Rashford and the England international was not going to let his 14th goal of the season slip away. That goal prolonged the 25-year-old forward’s streak of scoring in Old Trafford for the eighth game in a row.
Seconds before the final whistle was blown, the Manchester-born English star received a beautiful through ball from another substitute Casemiro from the left, that cleared the path for the former to net his 15th goal in 25 appearances for the Red Half of Manchester. Rashford’s seven goals in six matches ranked first for Top Five Leagues in all competitions since the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and he is well on course of hitting the 20-goal target that was backed by his Dutch club coach ten Hag.
No World Cup? No problem!
Marcus Rashford has been on 🔥 since he returned from the 2022 World Cup 🙌 pic.twitter.com/uSkNAIYUta
— Transfermarkt.co.uk (@TMuk_news) January 9, 2023
One Step Closer to a First Silverware Since 2017
Manchester United have not won a single trophy in major competitions since 2017, when Jose Mourinho led the Red Devils to win the Europa League crown. In other words, the team and its huge fanbase are more than desperate to bring home any forms of trophies this season, especially when ten Hag had revolutionised the team to be competitive again against the big teams in England and Europe.
In an interview with Sky Sports, the 52-year-old said that, “The last four is nothing. It’s only about winning. But you have to go from game to game. We’ll see what comes out of the draw, then we’ll prepare well. I’m quite happy. We started the game very well with good energy and good focus, and pinned them in their half, We created chances, big opportunities, and then we made a brilliant goal. It’s a team goal, but the finish from Antony was great. They put on another striker but I think we didn’t allow them [chances]. Before, we had the chances. We should have finished this game early on.”
Manchester Derby Next
United’s next opponent would be a much-anticipated clash with their noisy neighbour Manchester City, which is also unbeaten in five games since the World Cup break, winning four games and drawing once. The Red Devils will be eager to revenge on City after their 6-3 humiliation at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season while it would be interesting to see how Pep Guardiola setting up his line-up against Southampton in tonight’s Carabao Cup quarterfinal as they will meet United approximately 60 hours after their cup tie.
Wales’ Gareth Bale issued a retirement statement on Instagram, read the details here.