Manchester United moved to within a game for a place in the Carabao Cup final after beating Nottingham Forest 3-0 at the City Ground on Wednesday in the first leg of their semifinal. United scored at the beginning and end of the first half to put themselves in control. Marcus Rashford continued his briliant form by netting a solo goal in the sixth minute of the game. Wout Weghorst converted a simple rebound after a shot by Anyony was parried straight to his feet to get his first goal for the club since his loan move from Burnley.
Forest, who seeking to make theri first League Cup final appearance since 1992, put on a strong display but were unable to make the most of several promising attacks. And an 89th minute goal from Bruno Fernandes sealed the game which now means next week's return leg at Old Trafford will be facile ficture infront of a packed home suppourt.
"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.
Ten Hag's took no chances and named a strong starting XI showcasing his determination to make the most of a chance to win a trophy in his first season in charge at Old Trafford. Casemiro who missed the game against Arsenal through suspension returned for the first leg of the semi-final.
Rashford with a brilliant solo
It took just six minutes for the visitors' to go in front, with Rashford once again finding the net. This time the goal was all the England forward's own work as he drove forward down the left from inside his own half before driving inside 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.
"I am happy with Marcus' performance and his development," Ten Hag said. "From the start of the season he is growing and keeps doing that.
"We have to keep his process going and if he is in that mood and spirit I think he is unstoppable. It is up to the team to get him in the rigjht positions."
Forest showcase strong fight
Forest were undeterred by that early concession and came close to an equaliser 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 blasting over the bar when his composure deserted him at the last.
Sam Surridge found the net for the hosts in the 23rd minute but VAR ruled the goal offiside. Nonetheless it was a brilliant lightening counter-attack.
Weghorst opens his tally
Right before half-time, United grabbed a potentially crucial second. Antony, who had already seen one 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 went 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 rue a lack of clinical touch when the lively Morgan Gibbs-White fired wildly off target after winning the ball just outside the box.
Fernandes' late strike, driving in low from just inside the box, was perhaps cruel on Forest, but will surely see Man United head to Wembley as they seek their first major trophy in six years.
"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.
"Obviously, Rashford is one of the in-form players in the country, but for us to allow him to do what he did is not good enough."
Newcastle United won 1-0 at Southampton in the first leg of the other semifinal.
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