- Manchester United qualified for the EFL Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in the second leg
- The Red Devils came into the game with a 3-0 lead from the first leg
- Manchester United will face Newcastle United in the competition’s final
Manchester United qualified for the EFL Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils came into the game with a 3-0 lead from the first leg, and they finished the job in front of their fans, with Anthony Martial and Fred scoring at Old Trafford as the 20-time English champions won 5-0 on aggregate.
On February 26, Manchester United will face Newcastle United in the competition’s final, with Erik ten Hag aiming to win his first trophy as head coach.
Forest had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and they got off to a fast start, with Emmanuel Dennis, a late replacement for the injured Jesse Lingard, leading the charge.
How the game unfolded
In the 17th minute, Alejandro Garnacho went to the ground inside the box after a challenge from Neco Williams, but the referee was uninterested, and VAR agreed.
Antony had the game’s first shot on goal in the 18th minute, but Wayne Hennessey made a comfortable save between the away goalkeepers.
The first serious chance of the game came at the half-hour mark when Shaw delivered a dangerous free kick onto Casemiro’s head, but it was saved.
In the 34th minute, Forest had a brilliant opportunity when Brennan Johnson found himself free inside the Man United box, but he fired straight at Tom Heaton.
Four minutes later, Antony hit the crossbar before Forest had their best chance of the half; Dennis struck towards goal after a break down the right, and the ball appeared to be finding the bottom corner, only for Sam Surridge to block his teammate’s effort.
Man United had the final chance of the first half, with Wout Weghorst meeting a cross from Casemiro, but his header hit the outside of the post.
When Scott McKenna kicked Weghorst inside the Forest box in the 55th minute, the home team was awarded a penalty. Still, neither the referee nor VAR was interested in the contentious decision.
Garnacho forced a smart save from Hennessey just before the hour mark.
United then made three substitutions, with Marcus Rashford and Martial replacing Jadon Sancho, who played for the first time since the end of October.
Casemiro headed just wide of the Forest post 25 minutes from time before Rashford had a shot inside the box blocked, leaving the score at Old Trafford 0-0.
United opened the scoring
Man United finally broke through in the 73rd minute, with Martial finding the bottom corner with a bright finish after attempting to slide a pass into Rashford.
The home side doubled their lead in the 76th minute through Fred, who finished from close range after Rashford had put it on a plate for him.
Danilo broke through for Forest in the 82nd minute, but Heaton was on hand to make a brilliant save before Surridge fired over from the rebound.
In the 86th minute, Fernando fired one wide of the Forest post as Man United looked to add gloss to the scoreline at Old Trafford.
However, the Red Devils eventually declared at two, with the home side comfortably booking their place in the competition final with a five-goal aggregate victory.
Sancho shone when he returned to the first team, and the England international will now look to play a vital role in the final months of the 2022-23 season.
Man United’s next Premier League match is against Crystal Palace on Saturday, while Forest’s league campaign continues on Sunday against Leeds United.