Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest (5-0 agg): Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg – as it happened

Last modified: 10: 43 PM GMT+0

Forest passed up a couple of decent first-half chances but otherwise United were never in trouble as they made the final as expected

Ten Hag speaks on Sancho

Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!

Steve Cooper has his say on Sky. “At Forest we show respect, so congratulations to United and Newcastle … good luck to both of them at Wembley … the damage was done, let’s be honest, we couldn’t say it too much before the game, but we’ve had two great chances in the first half … if we’d taken one or both of them, who knows? … we’ve not played particularly well at the away grounds of the top four or big six, and I thought we did a bit better tonight … we can’t lose sight of the fact we got to the semi-final, and the club is on an upward trajectory … think where it was 12 months ago, we need to take a deep breath and say we’re doing all right here … disappointed we haven’t got through, of course … but we are making forward steps and there are lots of teams who would have loved to play in a semi-final against United … we’ve got a game against Leeds which we look forward to.”

Jamie Jackson was at Old Trafford to see Manchester United reach their first domestic cup final since 2017. His report has landed, and here it is!

Erik ten Hag, content but relentless, speaks to Sky. “When you win and go to the final, it is OK! The first half wasn’t great, to be honest, the tempo was too low … we didn’t create chances and allowed them two good chances … that must not happen … but the second half was better … we made some good goals … Forest played well [in the first half], stayed compact, and we didn’t find the gaps … we should have done quicker switches … we just want to improve every day … we have a good squad so we have to demand high standards … if we do not match those standards we are not happy … when you are a United player you have to match the standards … we need all of our players … you can see that tonight as we did something from the bench … [a busy fixture list] is a luxury problem but that is how we want it … a club like United has to play every third day, but we are keen on that … we are looking forward to Wembley to face Newcastle who are a great team.”

Player of the match Bruno Fernandes talks to Sky Sports. “I have been three years at the club … we reached one final but did not win it … but now we have another chance … but before it we have a lot of games to come … we are really happy.” And what about that pass for the second goal? “I learned from Quaresma. I had a great professor in Portugal. You have to learn their tricks and use them. One out of 20 is not bad!”

Luke Shaw adds: “It is very special … it shows where we are at the moment … especially at home … it’s a final we can really look forward to, though we have a few big games first before we go there … it’s extremely pleasing, but there’s no point going to a final if you don’t win it, and it’s a massive opportunity for us … it’s where we want to be … getting this club back to where it should be … we’ve got a big one against Newcastle who are an extremely good team … it’s going to be a tough game but a big moment for us.”

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes with the EFL Carabao Cup player of the match award and teammate Luke Shaw.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes clutches his player of the match award poses with teammate Luke Shaw after they got their chat on. Photograph: Matt West/Shutterstock


The Old Trafford faithful start their Wembley party. Steve Cooper - whose team gave it a good go tonight, and will always wonder what fantasy might have unfolded had they taken their two big first-half chances – warmly congratulates a beaming Erik ten Hag. United thoroughly deserve their win, over both legs and specifically tonight: they eased away from Forest once Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial came on, while Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes were their usual glorious selves. It’s not taken the Dutch coach too long to get his new side to a cup final, has it? United now have a chance of slaking their six-year trophy thirst at the end of the month. It should be a great game against a Newcastle side also building something special.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and coach Steve McClaren look pleased with the result following the Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg victory over Nottingham Forest.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and coach Steve McClaren look pleased with the result. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA


FULL TIME: Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest (agg 5-0)

Manchester United will face Newcastle United at Wembley on 26 February!

90 min: On Sky, Izzy Christiansen names Bruno Fernandes as her player of the match. There will be one added minute.

89 min: Rashford sprays a lovely ball wide right for Fernandes, who looks to pop a cross on the head of Sancho in the middle. Not quite. Forest clear their lines.

87 min: Hammond and Osong come on for Surridge and Scarpa.

86 min: Maguire wins a couple of basic headers in the centre circle. The home crowd cheer wildly. Irony? Support? Possibly a mixture. Meanwhile Fernandes flashes a shot across the face of goal from the right. There’s nobody there to trundle home.

84 min: Forest keep hold of the ball awhile, damage limitation the only goal now.

82 min: Forest, having put in a shift tonight, look collectively deflated after that quickfire double whammy, and who can blame them? Their mood isn’t improved when Danilo races past Fred down the left channel and shoots. Heaton parries, but only in the direction of Surridge, facing an open goal from the right-hand edge of the D. Surridge leans back and hoicks harmlessly over the unguarded net.

80 min: Hey, does anyone remember Spangles Harry Maguire? Here he is, nostalgia junkies, coming on for Varane. Lindelof meanwhile replaces Casemiro.

78 min: As though in celebration of United’s graceful procession to the final, the heavens open in Mancunian style.

GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest (Fred 76); agg 5-0

Fernandes, on the right-hand corner of the Forest box, sends an outside-of-boot looping cross over Aurier and towards Rashford at the far post. Rashford sidefoots the ball back across the face of goal, everyone having been drawn towards him. Fred taps home from a couple of feet. Easy as that. What a cross!

Manchester United’s Fred scores their second goal.
Fred doubles Manchester United’s lead. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Manchester United's Fred celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Marcus Rashford (right) during the Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg match against Nottingham Forest.
Fred celebrates his goal with Marcus Rashford (right). Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA


75 min: Scarpa tries to find an instant response but his low drive from the best part of 30 yards is blocked the nanosecond it comes off his boot.

GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Nottingham Forest (Martial 73); agg 4-0

This had been coming. United attack three on two. Martial slides Rashford into the box down the left channel. He shoots. It’s blocked immediately. The ball breaks to Martial, who steers into the bottom right. If this wasn’t over before – [NARRATOR: It was] – it is now!

Anthony Martial of Manchester United scores the opening goal.
Anthony Martial fires Manchester United into the lead. Photograph: Paul Currie/Shutterstock
Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg match between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest.
Martial celebrates his goal. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images


72 min: Danilo skies a clearance into the stand. The home fans roar their approval as some punter heads the ball back into play. It’s that sort of vibe now.

70 min: Martial chases a Casemiro pass down the inside right. He hooks back from the byline for Fernandes, who flashes hectically wide right from six yards. A big miss, but the flag goes up for offside on Martial.

69 min: Casemiro is booked for a lunge on Dennis. The United player was unlucky, slipping as he flew into the challenge, but contact is contact, and Dennis did well to get most of his body out of the way. From the resulting free kick, Surridge nearly latches onto a long pass down the left, but Heaton is off his line quickly to smother.

67 min: United are pressing for a winner on the night. Casemiro opens his body on the edge of the box and attempts to steer a sidefoot into the bottom left. Hennessey claims, albeit at the second attempt with red shirts lurking.

66 min: Fernandes wins a corner down the right. The set piece is swung into the mixer for Casemiro, who wins a header on the penalty spot but sends a harmless effort wide right. United quickly attack again, a move that leads to a game of pinball involving Rashford and Martial. Neither can get a shot away. Rashford eventually goes down under pressure of Boly, and claims a penalty, but again the referee shows no interest.

64 min: Forest respond with three swaps of their own. Aurier, Danilo and Mighten come on for Lodi, Freuler and Johnson.

62 min: A triple change by United. Garnacho, who had been running hot and was in danger of attracting the referee’s attention with a series of unnecessary run-ins, makes way for Rashford. There are other changes up front as well, with Weghorst and Antony making way for Martial and Sancho, the latter smiling broadly with excitement.

Manchester United's Jadon Sancho with manager Erik ten Hag as he comes off the bench to make a substitute appearance, his first since October.
Manchester United's Jadon Sancho with manager Erik ten Hag as he prepares to come on. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA


61 min: Garnacho turns Williams inside out like an old sock, as he dribbles into the Forest box from the left. Garnacho gets his shot away, but Hennessey blocks well.

60 min: Surridge races after a long pass down the right wing. He looks to have got in ahead of Varane, but the experienced defender leans in and eases him off the ball. Surridge stares at the linesman, hoping for a free kick, but it was a clean challenge.

58 min: A check for a possible red card as Johnson and Garnacho shove each other like big kids. There didn’t seem too much in it, and eventually play is waved on. Suddenly there’s a bit of fire in this match.

56 min: In the Forest box, McKenna takes an age to put his foot through a simple clearance. Weghorst nips in and takes the ball off his toe. McKenna, now belatedly on the downstroke, clips him. Weghorst goes over, claiming a penalty. Neither referee nor VAR shows any interest in awarding one, though I have no idea why. Weghorst was clearly nicked. That’s as obvious as they come.

Wout Weghorst of Manchester United reacts after being tackled by Scott McKenna of Nottingham Forest.
Wout Weghorst of Manchester United reacts after being tackled by Scott McKenna of Nottingham Forest. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images


55 min: Johnson dribbles hard down the right and wins a corner from which nothing comes. Then a ball is swung into the United box from the left. Scarpa shapes like Zinedine Zidane in the 2002 Champions League final but unlike Zizou doesn’t connect. United clear their lines.

53 min: “Wembley! Wembley” sing some of the home support. They don’t particularly belt it out with passion, but can you blame them? This tie is long won, and tonight’s match has been almost drama-free. The time to party was last week.


51 min: Garnacho backs himself this time but clanks the ball out of play for a goal kick. Williams again did well to stand his ground against a tricky opponent.

50 min: Garnacho tries to release Fred down the inside-left channel but overcooks the pass, allowing Boly to usher the ball out for a goal kick. Slightly surprising that Garnacho didn’t use Fred as a decoy and continue dribbling into the box.

48 min: Fred is down after copping an accidental arm in the face from Scarpa. Once again, the Forest midfielder appeared wholly innocent, and is quickly forgiven by his victim, who is soon up and about again.

47 min: Martinez hooks a clearance upfield. It blooters Surridge in the face. The rebound benefits United. Had the ball pinged in a different direction, it would have allowed the Forest striker a run on goal.

Forest get the match restarted. No changes. United are kicking towards the Stretford End in this second half, just as they like it.

HALF TIME: Manchester United 0-0 Nottingham Forest (agg 3-0)

Johnson and Dennis have had good chances for Forest, though it’s Weghorst who has come closest, hitting the post just before the half-time whistle. Both managers will be pleased with the way their side have played, for differing reasons, but it’s Manchester United who are cruising towards a Wembley date with Newcastle!


45 min +1: In the one advertised extra minute, Surridge is booked for a late and clumsy lunge on Varane.

45 min: United nearly respond in perfect fashion! Casemiro swings a cross in from the right. Weghorst rises unmarked on the penalty spot, and guides a nearly perfect header across Hennessey and … off the base of the left-hand post. Forest clear.

Wout Weghorst of Manchester United hits the post with his header against Nottingham Forest in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.
Wout Weghorst (second left) watches as his header clanks off the upright. Photograph: Paul Currie/Shutterstock


43 min: Forest have a chance to break. Scarpa makes a run from deep but Dennis doesn’t stop him. No worries, as Forest come again. Johnson skips down the right and reaches the byline. His cutback is deflected up into the path of Dennis, ten yards out. Dennis swivels and sends a shot towards the bottom right. It’s heading in … but hits his own man Surridge! What awful luck for Forest … although Martinez was heading back towards the goalline and might have cleared it anyway. Still, Forest have had a couple of big chances now to open the scoring. In a parallel universe somewhere, they’re 2-0 up and right back in this!

Emmanuel Dennis of Nottingham Forest shoots.
Emmanuel Dennis of Nottingham Forest shoots. Photograph: Matt West/Shutterstock


41 min: Fernandes draws an actual foul this time, from Lodi down the right. This is a free kick in a dangerous position, just to the right of the Forest box. “Forest are holding firm?” repeats DP. “Isn’t that a bit like leaving a porch light on for Lord Lucan at this point?”

40 min: Fernandes makes like Dennis in the Forest box. No post-sauce finger-wagging this time.

38 min: A sexy cameo from Antony. First up he outrageously hooks a ball seemingly destined for a goal kick back into play, forcing Boly into a panicked clearance that results in a corner. And from that, he sends a rising screamer millimetres over the bar from 25 yards. Had that been a few inches lower (apologies for the shift from metric to imperial) that was nestling in the top right-hand corner. It was a proper heat-seeker.

36 min: Dennis goes over in the United box. Martinez, the nearest man, didn’t touch him. When Dennis gets back up, Martinez waves an irritated finger in his face. Dennis is fortunate it’s just a finger, for he was really trying it on.

35 min: Fred is booked for a late lunge on Scarpa.

34 min: After all that’s happened, it’s Heaton whose hands are warmed first. Johnson bursts in from the right, past Casemiro and Martinez and into the box. He opts for power, when he really should try to slot low. The keeper saves well, but shouldn’t have been given the chance.

Manchester United goalkeeper Thomas Heaton saves from Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest.
Manchester United goalkeeper Thomas Heaton saves from Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest. Photograph: Paul Currie/Shutterstock


33 min: Garnacho takes advantage of a slip by Williams to make it to the byline on the left. He fizzes low and hard towards Weghorst at the near post. Hennessey does very well to get down and bravely smother.

31 min: United are the better team, but Forest are holding firm. How they must wish they’d delivered an opening half hour like this last week.

29 min: Garnacho, ever busy, dribbles again down the left and draws a clumsy clip from Scarpa. Shaw curls the resulting free kick towards the far stick. Casemiro rises at the far stick and heads across the face of goal. With Weghorst lurking, Hennessey kicks clear.

Wayne Hennessey of Nottingham Forest makes a save from Casemiro of Manchester United.
Wayne Hennessey of Nottingham Forest makes a save from Casemiro of Manchester United. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images


28 min: Shaw throws into the Forest box from the left. The ball rears up off the turf and onto Williams’ arm. United claim a penalty but the Forest defender had his arm in a natural position and was unsighted, so the referee isn’t interested.

27 min: United are beginning to push Forest back now. The visitors can’t get out. Shaw steams down the left and lays off to Garnacho, who has Weghorst and Fernandes in the middle but can’t deliver a cross.

25 min: Boly clears Shaw’s corner. Meanwhile Ruth Purdue isn’t four-square behind Erik ten Hag’s selection tonight. “Appearance number for Bruno is 31 now this season for United. We’ve been here before with him and being knackered at the end of the season.”

24 min: Garnacho wins the first corner of the evening down the left. Dennis should clear it but passes a strange connection out for another corner, this time on the right.

22 min: Dennis and Fernandes tussle for the ball. The former goes over, but it’s going to be United’s free kick as the whistle doesn’t go as he expects when he grabs the ball. Adding injury to insult, Antony, also in attendance, leaves a sneaky one on the back of his leg. Naughty, naughty.

20 min: Forest had briefly threatened to get themselves into this game, but United have now regained their early control of midfield.

18 min: Antony cuts in from the right and sends one of his trademark curlers towards the bottom left. Hennessey reads the intention and smothers easily.

17 min: Garnacho drops a shoulder and tries to skin Williams down the left. Williams isn’t having a bar of it, and stands strong. Garnacho goes over in the box, but he’s been eased off the ball legally, and his penalty request is quite correctly ignored.

15 min: A couple of fancy flicks from Fernandes, both with the outside of his boot, both down the left, the first pass releasing Shaw into space, the second nearly releasing Garnacho into the Forest box. It all ends in a goal kick for Forest, but the crowd enjoyed that.

14 min: Scarpa hoicks it in. Varane heads clear with Surridge lurking, waiting to head home. Forest asking a couple of (polite) questions here.

13 min: Shaw is sent into space down the left but shanks an uncharacteristically poor cross into the stand behind. Forest counter, Dennis drawing a foul from Antony down the left. A free kick, and everyone lines up on the edge of the United box.

12 min: Forest go up the other end and put together their first passing sequence of the evening. Dennis and Mangala both think about shooting from the edge of the box but there’s not quite enough room to do so. The ball’s shuttled wide right for Williams, whose low cross is hacked clear by Martinez. “We’re gonna win 4-0,” quip the away fans via the medium of song.

11 min: Garnacho probes down the right but Williams and Freuler double up on him and there’s no route through.

9 min: United have enjoyed nearly 90 percent possession so far … and yet Forest will be fairly happy with the way they’ve started the game. The hosts have so far been unable to put together anything that looks vaguely dangerous in the final third.

Nottingham Forest's Emmanuel Dennis is closed down by the Manchester United defence.
Nottingham Forest's Emmanuel Dennis is closed down by the Manchester United defence. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA


7 min: Antony and Wan-Bissaka combine down the inside-right channel, flicking the ball on for Fernandes, who momentarily looks like breaking clear into the Forest box. But he hesitates, allowing Scarpa and Mangala to block his attempted cross then close him down. “I noticed in the first leg some real beef between Gustavo Scarpa and Anthony,” writes Simon Frank. “Perhaps a Palmeiras / São Paulo thing? Some spice and crackle to watch for in what could be a dead rubber.” The usual don’t-want-to-see-it, think-of-the-kids caveats apply.

6 min: A chance for Freuler to send Dennis scampering into space down the Forest left. But his pass is overhit and the ball skids off the wet turf. Throw.

4 min: Forest finally get a go of the ball. Scarpa shields it, and accidentally swings an arm into Casemiro’s face. A sore one, but Casemiro isn’t at all annoyed, and the players exchange pleasantries soon after.

3 min: In other breaking news, it’s raining in Manchester. Forest still haven’t got their foot on the ball.

2 min: Forest are kicking towards the Stretford End in this first half. Technically speaking. They haven’t taken possession of the ball yet.

Manchester United, 3-0 up after the first leg, get the second leg underway. They’re 90 minutes away from a Wembley final against Newcastle United.

The teams are out! Manchester United in red, white and black; Nottingham Forest in second-choice yellow and blue. Forest have been forced into a late change, with Jesse Lingard picking up an injury in the warm-up. Sad for Lingard, on his return to his old stomping ground, but an opportunity for Emmanuel Dennis, who takes his place in the starting XI. As local breathy emoter Ian Brown warbles through the PA: This is the One. We’ll be off in a minute or two!

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United leads out his teammates prior to the Carabao Cup Semi Final second leg between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest.
The players take to the pitch. Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images


Tense, nervous headache ahead of a major semi-final? Let new-age guru Peter Oh soothe your troubled mind! “When things are ugly in the world, it’s helpful to meditate on something beautiful,” he begins, to a soundtrack of tinkling water and pan pipes. “The Nottingham Forest crest, for instance. A tree and a river, watched over by two tastefully placed stars. Life-giving, simple, beautiful. On the other side, a stylised trident-wielding devil. It’s basically good versus evil tonight. Come you Tricky Trees! Grab a tricky three and send this thing into extra time!” In the interests of balance, and on instruction from our lawyers, the Guardian would like to clarify that Manchester United are not, nor do they symbolically represent, evil. But Peter’s right about one thing: that Forest crest is an all-time classic. Yes logo!

Erik ten Hag talks to Sky. “The position is good but there’s still a game to go … it’s 0-0 again … and we have to use the game to get further on in the process … we have a strong selection and a good team … we are bringing some player back but not too much … it is good for the team to have Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial back … we will need them for all the games coming up … but first we focus on this game and we have to get to the final … Casemiro and Fred can deal with many games, they are used to it, and we are happy with this … we have to avoid complacency … we have high demands and high standards.”

Steve Cooper talks to Sky Sports. “The task is obviously massive … a mountain to climb … what we have to focus on is trying to put in a better performance, a positive performance … not just than last week but when we played United here before … you get a positive performance and then you have a chance of a positive result, and then you never know, but we’re not thinking about that … we’re only focused on tonight … it’s always been our mantra … it is quite easy to think beyond that but we’re not going to … we’re not looking further forward because you can’t, it’s such a tough game, United at Old Trafford.”

It’s fair to say Nottingham Forest have it all to do this evening. Having lost the first leg at the City Ground 3-0, chances are Manchester United will make it through to the final tonight. However, the result Forest are searching for is not unprecedented. In December 1977, Brian Clough took his newly promoted team to Old Trafford as shock mid-season leaders of the First Division. Dave Sexton’s hosts were hopeful of inserting themselves into the title race. What happened that afternoon sent shockwaves up and down the division, and Forest on an inexorable run to the title (with the small matter of a couple of European Cups to follow). “Never can Manchester United have been so humiliated in front of their own crowd,” wrote Ronald Atkin in the Observer of Forest’s jaw-dropping 4-0 win. “Forest, building neatly from midfield in front of an obdurate back line which gave Peter Shilton an industry-free match, took measure of United’s defence then contemptuously tore it to pieces.” A performance for the ages. And what a team! How they could do with John Robertson, Tony Woodcock and Archie Gemmill tonight.

The second coming of Brian Clough.

Manchester United make five changes to the starting XI selected for the first leg at the City Ground. Tom Heaton replaces David de Gea in goal, while Fred, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Alejandro Garnacho also step up. De Gea drops to the bench along with Victor Lindelof, Tyrell Malacia and Marcus Rashford; Christian Eriksen is out injured until May. Jadon Sancho is also named as a sub, hoping to be eased back into action after a long lay-off.

A fan holds a sign welcoming back Jadon Sancho of Manchester United ahead of the Carabao Cup Semi Final second leg against Nottingham Forest.
The United fans are glad to see the return of Jadon Sancho. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United/Getty Images

Nottingham Forest make four changes to last week’s starting selection. Orel Mangala, Neco Williams, Willy Boly and former United star Jesse Lingard replace Joe Worrall, Serge Aurier and Danilo, who drop to the bench, and the injured Morgan Gibbs-White.


The teams

Manchester United: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Martinez, Varane, Shaw, Fred, Casemiro, Fernandes, Antony, Garnacho, Weghorst.
Subs: De Gea, Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, Mainoo, Pellistri, Martial, Rashford, Sancho.

Nottingham Forest: Hennessey, Williams, McKenna, Boly, Lodi, Freuler, Scarpa, Mangala, Lingard, Johnson, Surridge.
Subs: G Shelvey, Cook, Worrall, Mighten, Aurier, Dennis, Danilo, Hammond, Osong.

🚨 United's starting XI is in...

@TomHeatonGK in goal
@AGarnacho7 starts
@AnthonyMartial and @Sanchooo10 return to the bench#MUFC || #CarabaoCup

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2023

Your #NFFC side to take on @ManUtd at Old Trafford. 👊

— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) February 1, 2023



Last week this happened …

… rendering this second leg little more than a procession. The following 90-minute exercise in I-dotting and T-crossing will confirm Manchester United’s place in the 2023 League Cup final against Newcastle United; if we’re wrong, we’ll have witnessed a match they’ll be talking about in Nottingham for a very long time. Kick off is at 8pm GMT. It’s on!


Scott Murray

The GuardianTramp

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