MANCHESTER UNITED took a huge stride towards the Carabao Cup final with a 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
Marcus Rashford wasted no time putting the Red Devils in front, waltzing through the Forest defence and firing in on just seven minutes.
Sam Surridge thought he had levelled – and even copied Cristiano Ronaldo’s celebration – but the goal was chalked off by VAR for offside.
Wout Weghort grabbed his first United goal just before half-time with a fine finish on the rebound.
And Bruno Fernandes drilled in a late third to seal the win in the first-leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.
The result means United know they are well in control of the tie and, barring a collapse at Old Trafford next week, will book their place in the Wembley showdown.
Here’s how SunSport’s Graeme Bryce rated Erik ten Hag’s men…
David de Gea – 7
Made a decent fist of it, electing to punch whenever danger arose – most notably an instinctive jab to divert Gustavo Scarpa’s well-struck first-half volley. Got down well to smother a Danilo attempt after the break. Neat and tidy.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6
Rode his luck, leaving Lindelof in the lurch when Sam Surridge netted – only for VAR to spare his blushes by ruling the striker offside. Redeemed himself with a timely block to prevent Scarpa giving Forest a lifeline to cut United’s lead at 2-0 down.
Victor Lindelof – 7
Flapped at times when Forest turned the screw after United’s opener. But regained his composure to shine after the break.
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Lisandro Martinez – 7
Another confident and combative display from the Argentine defender who showed a good turn of pace early on to snuff out one Forest attack and rarely had to break sweat afterwards.
Tyrell Malacia – 5
Was given a torrid time early on by Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White. Seldom seen further forward and generally had a quiet night.
Casemiro – 7
Looked unusually on edge early on when Gibbs-White’s runs from the point of the midfield diamond appeared to unsettle United’s midfield structure. But got on top of the job and was impressive surging forward.
Christian Eriksen – 7
Came close to ending this tie as a contest with a third for United. But his on-target effort from 18 yards took a nick off a Forest body and bounced off the crossbar.
Antony – 7
Kept getting into scoring positions but was left frustrated by some sloppy finishing and Wayne Hennessey’s outstretched left leg. Will console himself with the fact it was his shot which led to Weghorst’s goal.
Bruno Fernandes – 7
Blew hot and cold at times in front of Portugal’s new head coach Roberto Martinez.But his passing improved as the game progressed and he provided the killer touch to polish off Forest with a brilliant drilled finish late on.
Marcus Rashford – 8
The hottest hitman in Europe on current form maintained his red hot streak with his 10th goal in 10 post World Cup matches. Burst from his own half and left Worrall and Freuler for dead before beating Hennessey at his near post to give United the lead.
Came off with a rib injury after an hour in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate.
Wout Weghorst – 8
His big boys’ battle with Scott McKenna wasn’t for the faint-hearted. Displayed a poacher’s instinct to open his United account, pouncing to tuck home an Antony rebound with the outside of his right boot. Held up play well and gave United a real focal point up front.
Alejandro Garnacho – 6
Replaced Rashford just before the hour and stretched Forest with his pace and enthusiasm.
Fred – 5
Came on for Eriksen after 71 minutes to snuff out any late Forest threat.
Facundo Pellistri – 5
Kept United ticking over nicely when he replaced Antony.
Anthony Elanga – 5
Came on with five minutes remaining to allow Weghorst the deserved ovation he had earned.