Manchester United finish off Forest to cruise into League Cup final
Manchester, United Kingdom, Feb 1, 2023 (AFP) - Manchester United will meet Newcastle at Wembley on February 26 in the League Cup final after a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest sealed a 5-0 semi-final aggregate victory.
Anthony Martial and Fred scored the goals for Erik ten Hag's men in the final 17 minutes as United booked their place in a first League Cup final for six years.
The damage was done for the Red Devils in last week's 3-0 win at the City Ground in the first leg as Ten Hag was able to rotate his squad with United still involved in four competitions.
Ten Hag made six changes from the side that beat Reading 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday with Marcus Rashford among those left on the bench, but Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes did start despite the heavy schedule.
United failed to reach the heights of their first leg performance but were let off the hook by Forest in the first half as Brennan Johnson and Emmanuel Dennis missed big chances to reduce the visitors' arrears in their first major cup semi-final since 1992.
Wout Weghorst opened his account for United when the sides last met and the giant Dutch striker was inches away from his first goal at Old Trafford as he headed Casemiro's cross off the post just before half-time.
Ten Hag was handed a limited budget in the January transfer window after spending over £200 million ($247 million) in the summer with just the loan signings of Weghorst, Marcel Sabitzer and Jack Butland.
But the return of Jadon Sancho comes at just the right time to bolster United's attacking options.
The England international had been sidelined since October due to a combination of mental and physical issues, but made his return just after the hour mark.
Rashford and Martial were introduced alongside Sancho and made an instant impact.
The Frenchman slotted home after Rashford's initial effort was blocked to open the scoring.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 as this time Rashford teed up Fred for the simplest of finishes into an empty net.
A much tougher test lies ahead for Ten Hag's men against high-flying Newcastle, but the former Ajax boss is just one game away from his first goal of ending United's six-year trophy drought.