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Rashford Scores A Stunner As Weghorst Bags His First Red Devils Goal In Carabao Cup First Leg Win

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Manchester United moved one step closer to ending their six-year trophy drought, after a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.

On his side’s first visit to the City Ground since a devastating 8-1 victory in February 1999, Erik ten Hag will have been looking to silence a raucous home crowd for such a big occasion. United managed to do just that, and as they did 24 years ago, the Red Devils took a vital lead here inside the opening six minutes, Looking to score for the ninth time in 10 appearances, man of the moment Marcus Rashford ran from his own half and weaved his way between Joe Worrall and Remo Freuler, before firing past Wayne Hennessey at the near post.

Appearing overawed by the importance of the contest, Forest looked vulnerable after conceding so soon. And the visitors nearly killed the first leg of this Carabao Cup semi final much earlier than they eventually did, as Antony fired wide moments after the opening goal. United’s foot was gradually released from the gas pedal as the half went on, and Steve Cooper’s men very nearly capitalised when Sam Surridge finished off a lightning counter attack, only to be ruled offside by the faintest of margins.

Perhaps taking inspiration from the Forest side that last lifted this trophy back in 1990 under Brian Clough, the hosts continued to improve, but the dynamic duo of Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson failed to trouble David De Gea despite the chaos they were causing. That wastefulness would then be punished on the stroke of HT, when Wout Weghorst netted his first goal in United colours, smartly turning home a rebound with the outside of his foot.

United came inches away from expanding their lead even further just after the restart, when Christian Eriksen’s shot from the edge of the area struck the crossbar. The Dane’s influence grew as the game progressed, as United took the sting out of the contest before eventually landing a third and likely fatal blow, doing so through Bruno Fernandes’ brilliantly-placed strike from the edge of the area.

The return leg now appears a formality for the Red Devils, who will feel more than capable of defending a three-goal lead on home turf, given that they’ve not lost at Old Trafford in any competition since early September. As for Forest, it will take an immense effort to even take this tie the full distance, with their last away victory by three or more goals dating way back to the club’s legendary title-winning season of 1977-78.

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