Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United – Football Match Report – 25 January 2023

Manchester United moved within touching distance of a place in the Carabao Cup final after defeating Nottingham Forest 3-0 at the City Ground on Wednesday in the first leg of their semi-final.

United scored at the start and end of the first half to put themselves in control, with Marcus Rashford scoring a solo goal to continue his red-hot form and Wout Weghorst converting a simple rebound to get his first goal for the club since his loan spell . from Burnley.

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Forest, seeking their first League Cup final since 1992, gave a strong account of themselves but were unable to make the most of several promising attacks. And an 89th-minute goal from Bruno Fernandes means next week’s second leg at Old Trafford is surely no more than a formality for Man United to secure a trip to Wembley.

Erik Ten Hag’s determination to make the most of a chance to win a trophy in his first season in charge at Old Trafford was evident in another strong starting line-up that included Casemiro, who returned from the suspension he served on Sunday Premier League defeat to Arsenal.

It took just six minutes for the visitors to go ahead, with Rashford again finding the net. This time the goal was all the England striker’s own work as he drove forward down the left from his own half before driving between two Forest defenders and firing in at the near post with his left foot.

The goal was Rashford’s 10th in 10 games since the World Cup, the most by any player in Europe’s top five leagues.

But Forest were undeterred by the early concession and came close to an equalizer on several occasions. Brennan Johnson’s pace was a consistent threat to the United defence, allowing him to force a low save from David de Gea and later blast over the bar as his composure eventually left him.

The hosts thought they had equalized in the 23rd minute when a lightning break culminated in Sam Surridge finding the net, but a VAR check ruled he had been offside.

Then, just before the break, United grabbed a potentially crucial second. Antony, who had already seen a good chance denied, forced Forest goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to block his well-struck volley, allowing Weghorst to tap in to open his United account.

It was a similar story in the second half. United came close to making it 3-0 when Christian Eriksen curled a first-time shot against the crossbar. At the other end, Forest were again left to bemoan a lack of clinical touch as the lively Morgan Gibbs-White fired wildly wide after winning the ball just outside the box.

Fernandes’ late strike, driving low from just inside the box, may have been cruel on Forest but will surely see Man United head to Wembley as they seek their first major trophy in six years.

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