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Nottingham Forest 0:3 Manchester United: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

All the reaction from the Carabao Cup semi final first leg

Manchester United took a giant leap towards the Carabao Cup final in Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge of the club with a comfortable 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in the semi-final first leg.

Ahead of the game, there was an excitement in the air on the part of both sides, with neither side having been in a cup final in the last five years, and Forest looking to win their first cup trophy since the FA Cup in 1998.

The jubilant atmosphere in the City Ground lasted just 5 minutes however, as Marcus Rashford ran from his own half and took advantage of some lacklustre defending in the heart of the Forest defence to hand United the lead in the opening moments.

And it looked as though it could be over in the first half, with United cutting through Forest almost at will in the opening minutes. The hosts grew into the tie, however, and looked as though they had drawn level when Sam Surridge fired past David De Gea, only for VAR to rule the goal out for offside.

Forest continued to grow into the game, and United threatened to lose control, as Morgan Gibbs-White in particular caused the Red Devils plenty of problems. They were dealt a sucker punch moments before half time, however, as Wout Weghorst grabbed his first Manchester United goal as he seized upon a parried effort from Antony to double his side’s lead, and leave them with one foot in the Carabao Cup final.

The second half continued in similar fashion, with Forest playing pretty football without truly testing David De Gea. As they pushed forwards, Manchester United looked a threat on the break and duly added a third through Bruno Fernandes to leave them in pole position in the tie, and Forest needing a miracle at Old Trafford next week to progress to Wembley.

Player ratings

Nottingham Forest

  • GK: Wayne Hennessey (5) – Will feel as though he could have done better for the Manchester United.
  • RB: Serge Aurier (4) – Constantly left Marcus Rashford wide open on the counterattack and offered very little going forwards in return.
  • CB: Joe Worrall (5) – Let Rashford through far too easily for the opener, and though he was solid enough he didn’t inspire confidence for the remainder of the game.
  • CB: Scott McKenna (6) – Solid but unspectacular in the heart of the Forest defence. The best of a bad bunch.
  • LB: Renan Lodi – (5) – Given a tough evening by Antony but stood up to the test well for the most part.
  • CM: Remo Frueler (5) – A passenger for much of the tie.
  • CM: Danilo (7) – Looked solid on his full debut for the club and was largely tidy in possession.
  • CM: Gustavo Scarpa (7) – Looked lively and wasn’t afraid to take a shot, which will likely come in handy through the season. May need to work on his accuracy though.
  • RW: Morgan Gibbs-White (8) – Enjoyed a strong night in a Forest shirt despite the result, and will be hoping that the injury which forced him off is not too serious.
  • ST: Sam Surridge (6) – Thought he had levelled the game in the first half, only for VAR to chalk it off. Offered little else and was substituted just after the hour mark.
  • LW: Brennan Johnson (7) – Bright in attack even without any end product. Gave Manchester United plenty of problems with his pace.


  • Jack Colback (5) – Offered nothing when coming on.
  • Jesse Lingard (5) – Could do nothing against his former club.
  • Emmanuel Dennis (5) – The former Watford man could not inject any life into the tie.
  • Lewis O’Brien (5) – Made no difference to the tie.
  • Neco Williams (6) – Made an excellent challenge to deny Pellistri, but couldn’t stop Manchester United scoring in the same move.

Manchester United

  • GK: David de Gea (7) – Hardly had a touch of the ball with his hands.
  • RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6) – Still looks uncertain going forwards but was decent in defence.
  • CB: Victor Lindelof (5) – Looked ill-at-ease back in the Manchester United defence in the first half. Was not truly tested in the second.
  • CB: Lisandro Martinez (7) – Spared the blushes of both Victor Lindelof and substitute Pellistri with some excellent defending.
  • LB: Tyrell Malacia (6) – A solid outing for Malacia, who was occasionally troubled by the Forest attack but was otherwise strong defensively.
  • CDM: Christian Eriksen (8) – Controlled the Manchester United side from central midfield, and went close with an effort of his own that cannoned off the crossbar.
  • CDM: Casemiro (6) – A mixed night by his own lofty standards, with Morgan Gibbs-White getting plenty of joy against him.
  • RM: Antony (7) – Brighter than he was against Arsenal, but needs find a trick other than cutting onto his left foot if he is to succeed in England.
  • CAM: Bruno Fernandes (6) – A rare quiet night for Fernandes, who didn’t really contribute too much for the Red Devils. Took his late goal well, however.
  • LM: Marcus Rashford (8) – Produced an excellent run for the Manchester United opener, and was the Reds’ most threatening player before being taken off just before the hour mark.
  • ST: Wout Weghorst (7) – Grabbed his first goal in a Manchester United shirt with a poachers finish, and offered strong hold up play for the Red Devils.


  • Alejandro Garnacho (6) – Showed flashes of quality but they were rare.
  • Fred (5) – Came on and did a job. Solid.
  • Facundo Pellistri (5) – Nearly played his side into trouble on two occasions, and offered nothing going forwards in his brief cameo.
  • Anthony Elanga (N/A) – On for the final five minutes.

Expert analysis

Fan Reaction

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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