THE CITY GROUND, NOTTINGHAM — A place in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on February 26 awaits either Nottingham Forest or Manchester United, as they gear up for a semifinal battle.
Forest welcome United to the City Ground for tonight's first-leg clash, with Steve Cooper looking to build on the hosts' positive momentum in the Premier League, while Erik ten Hag is aiming for a first trophy as United boss.
United won the competition under Jose Mourinho back in 2017 — their last major domestic silverware — and Ten Hag has insisted the trophy drought at Old Trafford has gone on "too long".
The Sporting News is following the match, providing live score updates and commentary from the City Ground.
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Goals: Rashford (6), Weghorst (45)
72nd min: United will be very happy with how this second half is going now, as the life is sucked out of it. The home fans are becoming restless as their men struggle to get anything going, looking devoid of imagination on the counter. Ten Hag has now replaced Eriksen with Fred, to lock things down further. Meanwhile, Gibbs-White is forced off through injury.
64th min: Jesse Lingard, who famously won the FA Cup for United back in 2015/16, is on to inject some new life in this Forest attack, alongside Emmanuel Dennis. They need it, as the game begins to drift.
60th min: Casemiro has struggled with Gibbs-White all night, and again is shrugged off the ball by the former Wolverhampton Wanderers star in a very dangerous position, but the resulting shot goes wide.
57th min: The boy every United fan wants to see, Argentinian ace Alejandro Garnacho, is on as a substitute in place of Rashford.
53rd min: Eriksen rocks the crossbar! United have stepped it up a gear, playing some intricate stuff before the Denmark international's effort from the edge of the box goes agonisingly close, and Rashford's longer-range shot is then saved.
51st min: After starting the half with another Weghorst chance and camping out in the Forest box, United have now settled into a measured passing game in defence and midfield.
46th min: We're back in action. No changes at the interval for either side.
HALF-TIME: United have one foot in the final already, with a 2-0 lead here at the break.
45th min: GOAL! Weghorst has his first United goal! Antony looks royally peeved having set up a volley for himself on the edge of the area which is saved by Hennessy, and the rebound falls straight to the new signing, who buries it. 2-0 to the visitors.
*Video available in UK:
A FIRST Manchester United goal for Wout Weghorst! 💥 pic.twitter.com/CoIYXGb2cd — Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 25, 2023
*Video available in USA:
WEGHORST SCORES HIS FIRST GOAL FOR MAN UNITED 👏 pic.twitter.com/Jicdxo07Fi — ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 25, 2023
40th min: Ten Hag's side have failed to step it up, with the game petering towards half-time without any further clear-cut chances. Gibbs-White, as always, is Forest's biggest threat. Tenacious in the tackle and pacey in possession, he's the key if the Reds are to turn this around.
32nd min: United try to take the sting out of the game by retaining possession for a couple of minutes, after Scarpa finds Gibbs-White on the run, who beats Wan-Bissaka in a footrace, but his effort is saved. However, Forest regain the ball well in the midfield through Gibbs-White, with Johnson following up by breezing past two opponents and putting them on the floor, before blasting high. Antony responds with a chance at the other end, saved at point-blank range by Hennessy.
26th min: Gibbs-White plays a superb first-time pass out wide to start another attack, which he can't quite finish as the return ball catches the back of his boot on the run. Scarpa is then denied a first Forest goal as his volley from the edge of the area is saved, but the crowd have been injected with belief again.
24th min: NO GOAL! It's been ruled out by VAR. Surridge just strayed offside when the ball was played. Still 1-0 to United.
*Video available in UK:
NO GOAL! ❌
A ruthless counter-attack from Nottingham Forest is brilliantly finished by Sam Surridge but it's ruled out for offside after a VAR check! 📺 pic.twitter.com/hmxGrND99v — Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 25, 2023
23rd min: GOAL! Forest are level! Gibbs-White blasts through the middle of the pitch and plays in Surridge on the left, who converts brilliantly by sliding across goal into the far corner. 1-1.
22nd min: Rashford looks an absolute menace every time he receives the ball and is the clear out-ball, but no more major chances for United. Forest have come into the game a little more, winning a corner and having more concerted possession, though a lack of quality in creating an opening.
13th min: United are purring when they break. Antony again can't quite find the finishing touch when cutting in, after good buildup from Weghorst and Casemiro. Forest have twice broken down their left to get the crowd going, but to no avail.
8th min: Antony - who needs a big performance after recent criticism - goes narrowly wide, with his left-footed effort cutting in from the right. Ten Hag's men looking in the mood.
6th min: GOAL! Rashford is simply too hot to handle! A wonderful goal as the England international breaks down the left wing, starting in his own half. He gets between two Forest defenders, who don't know whether to lunge in or not, and finishes well with his left foot at the near post. 1-0 to United.
*Video available in USA:
MARCUS RASHFORD WHAT A RUN 🔥
His 10th goal in 10 games since the World Cup!! pic.twitter.com/iIXRLGwyfe — ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 25, 2023
*Video available in UK:
Marcus Rashford CANNOT STOP SCORING! 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/WH2TuWtFgH — Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 25, 2023
3rd min: The City Ground has been loud all season, but it seems to be reaching new levels tonight with a great atmosphere here. United have settled into possession slightly better, as expected.
KICK-OFF: We're underway in the East Midlands!
15 mins to KO: For United, this competition represents a huge chance to end a run of six semi-final appearances without lifting silverware.
Two semi-final exits came in the Carabao Cup in 2019/20 and 2020/21, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former also saw them reach the final four of the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League without success, while the latter campaign featured a final defeat in Europe. The Red Devils also lost the FA Cup final in 2017/18.
30 mins to KO: Forest fans have fond memories of the League Cup, though their last appearance in a final came in 1991/92 — a defeat to United, coincidentally.
That marked the sixth time they had reached the showpiece occasion in a 15-year span, with the Reds lifting the trophy on four of those visits to the capital. A victory in the 1989/90 edition remains their most recent major trophy.
45 mins to KO: The return of Casemiro will be a huge boost to United, given his spectacular impact since switching Real Madrid for the north of England last summer. A leader on the field, the 30-year-old central midfielder has enjoyed a 69% win rate with the Red Devils, while that figure falls to 25% without him.
1 hour to KO: Team news is here. Gustavo Scarpa and Danilo start for a new-look Forest, with the pair both moving from Brazil in the current transfer window.
Meanwhile, United have also gone with a first-choice lineup, other than the absence of Raphael Varane, who is on the bench. Casemiro returns to the midfield after missing the loss to Arsenal on Sunday through suspension.
Presenting: your United XI for the #CarabaoCup semi-final first leg ✊#MUFC — Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 25, 2023
1 hour 15 mins to KO: During Forest's Premier League exile, these two sides avoided each other in the cup draws, meaning their most recent meeting here came back in 1999. It was a humbling 8-1 loss for the hosts in Alex Ferguson's treble-winning campaign. It remained the biggest ever away win in the Premier League for two decades, until Leicester City's 9-0 demolition of Southampton.
🔙 Nottingham Forest 1- 8 Manchester United.
😲 This was the last time the two sides met at the City Ground and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored 4 goals in the space of 10 minutes.
pic.twitter.com/ISYcg6aXsM — Sporting News Football Club (@sn_footballclub) January 25, 2023
1 hour 30 mins to KO: While they've struggled on the road against top opposition, Forest's home form versus the 'Big Six' has been impressive.
Most recently, the Reds fought out a 1-1 draw with Chelsea and really should've had more from the New Year's Day affair. They also defeated Liverpool 1-0 before the World Cup break, while getting revenge for a league loss to Tottenham by beating Antonio Conte's men in this competition.
1 hour 45 mins to KO: These teams are meeting for the second time in the last month, having resumed their Premier League campaigns post-World Cup at Old Trafford in late December. United eased to a 3-0 victory on that occasion, despite some fearless early signs from Forest.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring and registered an assist for Anthony Martial that night, kickstarting a magnificent run of form for the England international which currently sees him as one of the most feared players in the country.
2 hours to KO: Welcome to The Sporting News' live coverage from the East Midlands. Forest have turned the City Ground into a fortress in recent months and are unbeaten at home across all competitions since September 16, knocking out Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup.
Ahead of their biggest home cup game in over 30 years, the Forest faithful will play a crucial role in looking to push Cooper's charges one step closer to the final.
Dean Henderson is ineligible to play against his parent club, with veteran Wayne Hennessey starting in goal.
Nottingham Forest starting XI (4-3-1-2): Hennessey (GK) — Aurier, Worrall, McKenna, Lodi — Danilo, Freuler, Scarpa — Gibbs-White — Johnson, Surridge
Ten Hag names an extremely strong lineup, with only centre-bacl Raphael Varane dropping to the bench.
Man United starting XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea (GK) — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Martinez, Malacia — Casemiro, Eriksen — Rashford, Fernandes, Antony — Weghorst
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—Singapore — —