Manchester United’s winning run continued on Tuesday evening as the Reds eased to a 3-0 victory over Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
The Old Trafford crowd was stirred by the presence of 9,000 travelling Addicks fans, although the cup tie itself wasn’t necessarily memorable.
Erik ten Hag rung the changes with Kobbie Mainoo being given his first senior start, whilst Alejandro Garnacho returned to the starting XI.
Whilst few expected United to challenge for trophies in the 2022/23 season, they will now head into the first semi-final of the Dutch coach’s tenure.
They will be all too aware of the fact that Manchester City remain in the competition, with the Blues having had the upper-hand over their rivals for the best part of a decade.
Antony’s goal made the difference
It was another fine night under the Old Trafford lights for Antony, who scored in his second successive start, after he tapped home against Everton on Friday evening.
The Brazilian received the ball on the right side, just on the edge of the penalty area, leaving Charlton’s defenders unsure whether to press or try and block the strike.
He cut inside and unleashed a sumptuous curling shot into the top right corner of the Charlton net, securing the first goal.
Fred made a number of probing runs but the hosts lacked conviction in front of goal, which explains their loan-pursuit of Wout Weghorst.
Garnacho and Anthony Elanga combined well together, but couldn’t create any clear chances of note as Charlton’s defense remained resolute.
The next best moment of the first-half came with a Fred free-kick from just outside the penalty area.
The Brazilian struck it sweetly and it curled over the wall and arrowed against the post before bouncing clear.
Ten Hag made changes in the second-half, introducing some of his senior players as Casemiro and Christian Eriksen were both introduced.
Elanga thought he had doubled United’s lead just before the hour mark when he tapped in from close-range, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Facundo Pellistri and Marcus Rashford were introduced with 10 minutes left as United looked to try and find the killer second goal, and the Uruguayan looked dangerous when running at his opposite number.
It was this combination that secured United’s eighth successive win in all competitions as Pellistri made a striding forward run through the middle of the pitch.
The Uruguayan drew the defenders towards him before playing an incisive pass into the center of the penalty area where he found an unmarked Rashford.
Rashford was unfazed by the oncoming goalkeeper and he calmly dinked the ball over him and into the back of the net to book United’s place in yet another Carabao Cup semi-final.
The scoring wasn’t done there, though, as Rashford added a second with just seconds left.
Casemiro produced a stunning pass with the outside of his right boot, curiously finding Rashford open through the middle once again.
He took one touch to steady himself before firing a left-footed half-volley into the net with power.
Easy for Newcastle
While United is looking to end what will be a six-year trophy drought, Newcastle has a shot at a first piece of silverware since 1955.
The Saudi-controlled club from northeast England dispatched Leicester 2-0 thanks to goals by Dan Burn and Joelinton and advanced to the last four of the League Cup for the first time since 1976. Not even 18 months into its new era, Newcastle is perhaps exceeding expectations after rapidly becoming a force in English soccer.
It is the latest positive step in encouraging seasons for two teams who have also established themselves in the top four of the Premier League.
Newcastle and Man United are tied on points in third and fourth place, respectively, and are in relentless form, with just one loss between them since September.
The other two quarterfinals take place Wednesday, when Manchester City visits Southampton and Nottingham Forest hosts Wolverhampton in another all-Premier League matchup.
At St. James’ Park, Dan Burn was the unlikely scorer of Newcastle’s breakthrough goal in the 60th minute, the left back taking a pass from Joelinton and surging through Leicester’s defense before slipping home a low finish.
Joelinton, who had earlier hit the post, then scored himself in the 73rd with a low, angled shot.
The 1976 final was the only time Newcastle has reached the League Cup’s title match.