United close in on League Cup final

Marcus Rashford scored a dazzling solo goal as Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Wednesday to virtually book a place at Wembley next month.

The England man, enjoying a purple patch following the World Cup, netted his 18th goal of the season in the sixth minute to silence an expectant crowd at the City Ground.

New United loan signing Wout Weghorst scored his first goal for the club just before halftime, to put the visitors in total control, and Bruno Fernandes added gloss to the scoreline late on.

Erik ten Hag’s men are hot fa­vourites to reach Wembley as they seek to end their six-year trophy drought, with either Newcastle or Southampton lying in wait.

 “I’m happy with the perfor­mance and I think over 90 min­utes we controlled it,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports.

But he highlighted a disallowed Forest goal in the first half, warn­ing his side could not afford to let opponents back into the match when they were in charge.

The Dutchman was careful to avoid any hint of complacency ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford on February 1.

“We have to play one game and we have to do the same. We have to prepare, we have to make a good game plan and the players have to be focused,” he said.

Former Ajax boss Ten Hag has revitalised United in his first sea­son in charge but will be desperate to win silverware to appease the hungry fans. -AFP

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