Rashford strikes as United outclass Forest in first leg

Published January 27, 2023
MANCHESTER United’s Bruno Fernandes (second R) scores past Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey during their League Cup semi-final first-leg at The City Ground Stadium.—AFP
MANCHESTER United’s Bruno Fernandes (second R) scores past Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey during their League Cup semi-final first-leg at The City Ground Stadium.—AFP

NOTTINGHAM: Marcus Rashford continued his fine season as he scored again to help Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 in their League Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

England forward Rashford’s superb solo effort after six minutes, dancing past defenders before firing home, took him to 18 goals in all competitions this season. Only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland has more for a Premier League club in 2022-23.

Forest thought they had qui­ckly restored parity at the City Ground after catching United out on the counter but Sam Surridge’s effort was ruled out for offside following a VAR review.

United capitalised on that reprieve by doubling their lead just before halftime, on-loan striker Wout Weghorst netting his first goal since joining the club after Antony’s shot had been well saved.

The second goal killed off Forest hopes of a comeback and Bruno Fernandes added a late third to keep United well on course to win their first trophy since 2017.

“I’m happy with the performance, over 90 minutes we controlled the game,” United coach Erik ten Hag said. “There was one moment which could have changed the game and we have to be aware of that and improve.

“In this mood and with this spirit, he (Rashford) is unstoppable. He can be creative in the final third, to do something in the final third, some crazy stuff, fantasy and adventure.”

Forest thought they had equalised midway through the first half when Sam Surridge produced a fine finish after a rampaging run through the middle by Morgan Gibbs-White.

But the goal was ruled out by VAR for a tight offside against Surridge.

Gustavo Scarpa stung David de Gea’s hands with an audacious volley as Forest increasingly came into the game, with Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson a threat.

But United doubled their lead just before half-time, with Dutch forward Weghorst reacting smartly to fire home with the outside of his right foot after Hennessey had denied Antony.

United were largely untroubled in the second half, coming agonisingly close to extending their lead when Christian Eriksen rattled the crossbar from the edge of the box in the 54th minute.The visitors continued to threaten and rounded off a comfortable night when Fernandes slotted home after a clever dinked pass from substitute Anthony Elanga.

“Obviously, it was a disappointing scoreline,” Forest coach Steve Cooper said. “The last thing you want to do is go to Old Trafford with this result.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023

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