Nottingham Forest 0-3 Manchester United: Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg – as it happened

Last modified: 10: 36 PM GMT+0

Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes scored the goals that make United super-hot favourites to reach the final

Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!

Steve Cooper talks to Sky. “Obviously disappointed in terms of losing the game. Disappointed in the manner of the goals. It’s always going to be tough but there were things we talked about, what not to do, and we fell short in those moments and got punished. That’s the frustrating bit. We were naive. We played some really good stuff in the first half. We scored a goal that was marginally offside, it was a good move. We got in some good positions. I felt we were going to equalise. But the timing of the goals were really poor, and it’s self-inflicted. We’re disappointed with that. At times we got caught up in the first half in the game, and forgot about the two legs. At the end, 2-0 would have been a poor result but 3-0 obviously makes it worse, and we might have had to accept that 2-0 was what it was going to be and take it to Old Trafford thinking if you get one, you never know. So we’ve lost that little opportunity, and now it becomes even harder. We’ve put ourselves in this situation and now we have to deal with it next week. We’ll set some objectives that give us a tiny chance, but will also help us going forward in the Premier League after.”


Erik ten Hag speaks to Sky, and he’s not best pleased that Forest had the ball in the net during the first half. “I am happy with the performance. For 90 minutes we controlled the game. There was one moment that could have changed the game, and we have to be aware of that and improve, but overall it was a good performance. The first leg is done, but there is one leg to go. Forest changed the system but we didn’t read it. That can’t happen. It is a moment where we have to learn and improve as a team. If you want to be top, those moments can’t happen. We created some really good chances. We almost allowed them back into the game. We started so good and had so much control. We can’t allow an opponent to come back into the game. In the second half, we were much more composed. The players have to be focused [for the second leg].”

Hot managerial takes to come. In the meantime, Peter Lansley’s report has landed. Here it is!

Lisandro Martinez was named man of the match, and speaks to Sky Sports. “I am really happy with the job of the guys. We played so well and controlled the game. But we have many things to improve. We lost the last game. We never give up. We have to keep going. We showed discipline. We were very focused. We have to always play like this, to keep going, to keep fighting. We deserved the result. It’s a good result for us, but we have to go step by step, we have another game, and we have to prepare again.”

Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United with the EFL Carabao Cup player of the match award at the end of the game against Nottingham Forest.
One for the mantlepiece. Photograph: Matt West/Shutterstock


Nottingham Forest contributed to an open, entertaining match. But the open bit was their undoing. They couldn’t take their chances, while United, who carved out a larger number of them, were more clinical with theirs. Forest have won all of their previous six League Cup semi-finals, against Leeds (1978), Watford (1979), Liverpool (1980), Bristol City (1989), Coventry City (1990) and Tottenham Hotspur (1992). Now needing a three-goal win in the second leg at Old Trafford just to force extra time, it doesn’t look like Manchester United (2023) will be extending that proud list. A fine night for United, who continue to go places fast under Erik ten Hag. They’re one competent 90-minute performance away from Wembley!

FULL TIME: Nottingham Forest 0-3 Manchester United

It’s only half time in this two-legged semi. But Manchester United have one foot and at least three toes in the final.

90 min +2: That was Fernandes’ 100th goal involvement for Manchester United.

90 min +1: The first of three added minutes passes by without incident. Three sides of the City Ground file out. The away section, no harm done, continues to party.

90 min: United go over to celebrate with their fans. An advertising hoarding collapses, fans pouring over it and falling into a heap. For a second the scene looks troubling. But fans, players and stewards alike seem to get the situation under control quickly, and it doesn’t look as though anyone’s hurt. Godspeed one and all.

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates with teammates after scoring the team’s third goal as fans knock over the advertising boards during the Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United.
Some advertising boards collapse under the weight of celebrating United fans as goalscorer Bruno Fernandes is congratulated by his teammates. Photograph: Darren Staples/AFP/Getty Images


GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-3 Manchester United (Fernandes 89)

Fernandes releases Pellistri down the middle with an exceptional reverse pass. Pellistri is stopped in his tracks this time by a fine Williams tackle. Prone, Williams tries to volley the ball away, but can’t get any purchase on the clearance. Elanga rolls the loose ball towards Fernandes, who threads a fine shot across Hennessey and into the bottom left!

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United scores their third goal in the Nottingham Forest v Manchester United, Carabao Cup, Semi Final, First Leg.
A fine finish from Fernandes ... Photograph: Paul Currie/Colorsport/Shutterstock
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United scores their third goal past Wayne Hennessey in the Nottingham Forest v Manchester United, Carabao Cup, Semi Final, First Leg.
Gives Manchester United their third. Photograph: Ryan Browne/Shutterstock


88 min: United nearly score the third that would surely put this semi-final to bed at the halfway stage. Fred rolls the ball down the middle for Pellistri, releasing him into the box. Hennessey smothers at his feet. But no matter, because …

87 min: Another free kick to Forest, this time out on the right. Another chance to load the box. Another poor delivery from Williams. United clear their lines calmly.

86 min again: Lindelof loops a long pass down the right for Dennis to chase. Lindelof, United’s last man, sticks to his shoulder and eventually fends him off. Fine defending.

86 min: Weghorst, who opened his United account tonight with a fine striker’s goal, is replaced by Elanga.

85 min: Pellistri is booked. Then Williams floats the free kick over a packed six-yard box. What a waste.

84 min: Pellistri gifts Forest possession, then bundles Williams to the floor, just to the left of the box near the byline. Williams will take the free kick himself. Forest load the box.

83 min: Forest pin United back only for Dennis to needlessly clip Wan-Bissaka. The pressure released at a stroke. “JLingz is still a former United hero in my book,” writes Brendan May. “Maybe if he didn’t have eight managers during what should have been the prime of his career, he’d have fared better.”

81 min: Right now, Forest don’t look like grabbing a goal that would make their task at Old Trafford a little more realistic. The away fans in good voice.

79 min: Pellistri flashes a cross through the Forest box from the right. Weghorst heads wide left under pressure from Worrall. Good football all round.

78 min: Fred drops a shoulder to stride in from the left. He aims for the top right. Full marks for ambition. Goal kick.

76 min: Dennis plays an appalling blind square pass that offers Garnacho the opportunity to tear goalwards from the halfway line. Dennis will be thankful that his team-mate Aurier keeps on Garnacho’s shoulder before eventually dispossessing him and clearing. That could have been very costly for Forest.

74 min: Williams is immediately in the thick of it, driving down the left and floating into the box for current Forest legend Lingard. He eyebrows wide right for a goal kick, and probably should have left it to Johnson behind him.

73 min: Gibbs-White goes down injured, and walks off sadly. He’s one of two Forest players to depart, Lodi being the other. O’Brien and Williams come on in their stead.

72 min: Pellistri and Fred come on for Eriksen and Antony.

70 min: … nothing occurs. Meanwhile Conor Murphy would like to take issue with my description of Jesse Lingard as a “former United hero”, spluttering: “Are you off your rocker? He was hopeless. More interested in his JLingz celebration than becoming a better player. Come off it.” He won United’s last FA Cup for them, didn’t he? Jeez, tough crowd in tonight.

69 min: Antony and Eriksen combine down the right to win a corner. From which …

67 min: Antony glides in from the right before releasing Eriksen down the middle. Eriksen advances towards the left-hand corner of the Forest D before floating a diagonal ball towards Fernandes. McKenna reads the danger to get in the road and head behind for a corner, from which nothing comes.

65 min: Garnacho, caring not one jot for the home-crowd hollering, chases a lost cause down the left and cuts back for Eriksen, who whips in a cross from the left. Weghorst can’t quite meet it with a header. Anything on that, and the ball was surely flashing into the net. Weghorst claims a tug on his shirt by McKenna, and he may well have a point. But we play on.

64 min: Forest make a double change, replacing Scarpa and Surridge with Dennis and the former United hero Lingard.

63 min: A deep cross into the United box from the right. Scarpa meets it on the volley on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. Wan-Bissaka blocks bravely out for a corner, from which nothing comes.

62 min: Garnacho gets involved in a couple of minor incidents, most notably kicking the ball away in frustration. No card, and he’s already become something of a pantomime villain for the home fans, who are giving him the what-for at every touch.

60 min: Gibbs-White fumes at the linesman over the award of a throw that was awarded to United. He uses that energy for good, chasing down the dozing Antony, stripping him of possession, and curling a shot towards the top left. The shot flies comfortably over the bar.

Nottingham Forest's Morgan Gibbs-White reacts after missing a chance to score in the Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United.
Nottingham Forest's Morgan Gibbs-White reacts after seeing his effort fly the wrong side of the cross-bar. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters


59 min: Forest respond by making their first change, replacing Danilo with Colback.

58 min: Rashford didn’t look in too much discomfort as he walked off. Winded, perhaps? A precautionary sub with his work done.

57 min: Fernandes tries to flick himself into space down the right, but Worrall chests out at the expense of a corner. Before it can be taken, Rashford – who moments earlier had gone down after taking a whack to the ribs – is replaced by Garnacho. Nothing comes of the corner.

55 min: Scarpa drives with purpose down the left. Antony comes flying in at a preposterous velocity. Any contact on his man and the referee might have been flashing a card, but thankfully he misses. Scarpa continues his run and curls into the United box. The ball breaks to Gibbs-White who tries a threader into the bottom left. De Gea collects with ease.

54 min: Antony works his way infield from the right and lays off to Eriksen, who opens his body and sidefoots a sensational curler towards the top-left … but the ball comes back off the bar. United come again and Rashford’s low drive is saved by Hennessey.

53 min: Gibbs-White knocks a header on for Johnson to chase down the inside-right channel. Lindelof is live to the danger and blooters clear. Forest come again, though, and Danilo attempts to forensically slot into the bottom right from 25 yards. Easy for De Gea.

51 min: Malacia works his way down the left and hooks back for Fernandes on the penalty spot. Fernandes skies an awful first-time shot miles into the air. Goal kick.

50 min: The pace drops a bit, which benefits United more than Forest, who aren’t exactly in the last-chance saloon yet, but wouldn’t half like something positive to happen sooner rather than later.

48 min: The corner’s half cleared. A bit of space for Fernandes on the right. He cuts back for Antony, who takes a fresh-air shot. A fast start to the second half by both teams.

47 min: Danilo loses possession cheaply, 30 yards from his own goal. Weghorst exchanges passes with Antony and shapes to shoot from the right-hand corner of the six-yard box. McKenna does well to arrive and block out for a corner.

46 min: Lodi crosses from the left. Surridge can’t quite get a head on the ball. Malacia sees it late and shanks out for a corner. Forest make nothing of the set piece, but they’ve come out flying.

Forest get the second half underway. No changes.

HALF TIME: Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester United

There are three quarters of this tie still to be played. But it feels like United already have one foot in the final. Can Forest respond, or will United effectively decide this semi-final tonight? Big second half coming up!

45 min +1: That’s a huge blow for Forest, who had done extremely well to work their way back into the game, and were an inch or so away from equalising. But here we are. “Wembley! Wembley!” trill the away fans. The home support stunned.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester United (Weghorst 45)

Antony combines with Casemiro as he romps down the middle. On the edge of the D, he tees himself up and lashes towards the top right. Hennessey parries well, but the ball breaks to Weghorst, who sticks out a leg to whip across the keeper and into the left-hand side of the net. That’s a hell of a finish, a proper poacher’s goal, and his first for his new club!

Manchester United's Wout Weghorst scoring his sides second goal.
Wout Weghorst opens his account for Manchester United. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA


44 min: It’s not been a banner 60 seconds for Fernandes, who shanks a ludicrous long-distance shot several yards wide right of goal. On the touchline, Ten Hag goes ballistic.

43 min: Fernandes, the last man, miscontrols under no pressure whatsoever. His mind elsewhere. He sharpens up quickly as Surridge knocks the ball past him and races after it. Fernandes recovers just in time to nudge the striker on the edge of the box, forcing him to clank the ball out for a goal kick./

42 min: Fernandes grooves down the right. He looks for Rashford at the far post with a deep curling cross. Too deep. It sails out for a goal kick.

40 min: Scarpa has a dig from the best part of 30 yards. A wee bit over-ambitious. The ball sails harmlessly over the bar. He had options to keep the attack going.

38 min: … and to illustrate that, Gibbs-White gets the better of Casemiro, nicking the ball off him. There aren’t so many who have been able to say that recently.

36 min: Forest have done well to get the crowd up again. Things were looking ominous for a while, but they’ve fought their way back into the game, which feels properly competitive now.

34 min: Antony’s miss won’t look great, but to be fair he’d instigated that move, one-twoing with Weghorst and Casemiro down the channel. Chances of sympathy from Jeff Sax? Absolutely zero. “Another Nunez -like miss,” he writes. “Incredibly similar.”

32 min: United ping the ball in pretty fashion down the inside-right. It’s moved infield for Antony, who is free on the penalty spot, the home defence having been pulled all over the show! Antony aims for the bottom right, only to be denied by Hennessey’s telescopic leg. What a save!

Nottingham Forest's goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey saves from Manchester United's Antony.
Nottingham Forest's goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey saves from Manchester United's Antony. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters


31 min: Johnson is on a one-man mission to haul Forest back into this. He sashays down the middle of the park, leaving Martinez in his wake, before screeching a rising shot clear of the crossbar from 20 yards. Had he repeated his low diagonal effort of a few minutes ago, he’d have probably beaten the rooted De Gea.

Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest looks dejected after missing a chance to score in the Nottingham Forest v Manchester United, Carabao Cup, Semi Final, First Leg.
Brennan Johnson rues his miss. Photograph: Paul Currie/Colorsport/Shutterstock


30 min: Rashford has another look down the left. Aurier holds him up. Shame for Forest he wasn’t around 24 minutes ago.

28 min: United go up the other end and win a corner through Rashford down the right. Fernandes’ delivery is no good. Forest break at pace, Johnson beating Wan-Bissaka for pace down the right, no mean feat. He’s got Danilo free in the middle, but opts to shoot himself. His low diagonal shot is dealt with easily enough by De Gea.

26 min: The corner comes in from the left. It’s half cleared. Scarpa, on the edge of the D, sidefoots a vicious volley towards the top right. De Gea is forced to punch clear spectacularly. Nothing comes from the resulting throw. Forest have woken up all right!

Manchester United's keeper David de Gea punches clear whilst being put under pressure by Nottingham Forest's Sam Sturridge.
Manchester United's keeper David de Gea punches clear whilst being put under pressure by Nottingham Forest's Sam Sturridge. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Reuters


25 min: That’s got the home fans really going, though. Scarpa crosses from the left. Lindelof swishes at fresh air. The ball drops behind Gibbs-White, six yards out. He can’t locate the ball quickly enough to shoot. Martinez pokes the loose ball out for a corner.

NO GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-1 Manchester United

VAR intervenes, because Surridge went a nanosecond too early, and his knee is a couple of inches offside. Despair washes around the City Ground. There was very little in that, but offside is offside.

Nottingham Forest fans react as the Video Assistant Referee disallows a goal by Sam Surridge of Nottingham Forest during the Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United.
VAR? VA-Bah more like! The Forest fans react as Sam Sturridge’s goal is chalked off. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images


GOAL! Nottingham Forest 1-1 Manchester United (Surridge 23)

…Forest counter three on two! Gibbs-White romps down the middle and rolls towards Surridge on the left. Surridge enters the box and whistles a forensic shot across De Gea and into the bottom right! What a finish!

Sam Surridge of Nottingham Forest fires home but has his goal disallowed for offside.
Forest’s Sam Surridge puts the ball in the net with a fine finish. Photograph: Paul Currie/Colorsport/Shutterstock


22 min: Rashford probes down the left. Worrall stands him up this time. Rashford cuts back to nobody in particular, then …

20 min: … but this is better, as Johnson hassles Martinez into the concession of a throw deep in United territory. That leads to a corner on the right. Scarpa sends a dangerous ball fizzing over the six-yard box. Martinez takes it upon himself to mop up his own mess, rising to power a header clear. If nothing else, that’s got the home fans going again.

19 min: United are in effortless control at the moment, stroking it around patiently. Forest are possibly happy enough to take the breather.

17 min: The atmosphere has curdled somewhat as a result. Not that those in the away corner care. The United fans are in party mode, making all the noise, enjoying themselves by running through their songbook. Meanwhile our old friend Jeff Sax, treasurer of the Darwin Nunez Appreciation Society, has this to say about Nunez and Antony: “South America is not the only thing they have in common.”

15 min: United are dominating possession. Forest are struggling to string multiple passes together.

13 min: Weghorst and Fernandes combine to shuttle the ball left to right for Antony, in space on the edge of the Forest box. Antony opens his body and telegraphs a curler towards the top left. It flies high and wide. Another big chance for United. “If you’d only paid attention to football since the World Cup, you’d be forgiven for thinking Rashford was the best player in the world,” writes Matt Dony. “He’s doing ridiculous things suddenly. When he first burst on to the scene, I always thought (and obviously it could never have happened) he’d be a perfect long-term replacement for Sadio Mane. Then he seemed to stop progressing. Now he’s made up for lost time.”

11 min: Forest faff around, playing it short and making a royal mess of it. Aurier tries to rescue the move on the edge of the D but can’t get a shot away. United break upfield en masse. Forest just about deal with the counter this time, but the visitors look dangerous every single time they go forward.

10 min: Forest respond well, though, Surridge bursting into the United box from the left and winning the game’s first corner. Gibbs-White to take.

8 min: Forest are fortunate not to be two down. Antony dribbles down the right, reaches the edge of the box, and whips a low curler that sails wide of the left-hand post. Inches away. Had that been on target, Hennessey wasn’t getting there.

7 min: As good as Rashford’s run was, that’s appalling defending by both Freuler and Worrall, who rolled out the red carpet there. Both of them backtracking in fear, Rashford was never going to turn down the invitation.

GOAL! Nottingham Forest 0-1 Manchester United (Rashford 6)

Rashford is on fire at the moment, and here he goes again! He picks up the ball inside his own half and makes off down the left flank. He barges between Freuler and Worrall like they’re an open gate, enters the box, and passes his shot into the bottom left. Easy as that! What a run, in both senses of the word!

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United scores a goal to open the scoring.
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United fires in a shot … Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United scores a goal to open the scoring.
A rippling net signifies that Manchester United have taken the lead. Photograph: Ryan Browne/Shutterstock
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford celebrates after opening the scoring in their League Cup semi-final first-leg match against Nottingham Forest.
Rashford celebrates his goal. Photograph: Darren Staples/AFP/Getty Images


4 min: Malacia’s strange crossfield pass nearly lets Scarpa in down the Forest left. Scarpa can’t quite get to the ball and United clear. Both sides have betrayed a few nerves in these opening exchanges.

2 min: Rashford dribbles down the left and he’s got options infield. But his cutback, intended for Eriksen, goes behind his team-mate and Forest can clear their lines. But then United come again. Worrall should clear a long ball, but freezes, and Fernandes nips in. Fernandes looks for Weghorst in the middle, but the cross is no good and the ball’s blootered clear. A fast start by United.

United get the ball rolling as the fans serenade the mist rolling in from the Trent. The City Ground really is in fine voice tonight.

A moment of silence for Holocaust Memorial Day. Perfectly observed.

The teams are out! Forest in red, United in second-choice white. A proper 1978 feel to everyone’s garb. Lovely. The City Ground bouncing to Insomnia by Faithless. “This song is really good,” says Roy Keane, getting carried away with the atmosphere. Speaking of which … “You’ve got a lot of nerve Roy,” begins Bobcat Justin Kavanagh. “Considering Keane’s party piece is Dylan’s Positively Fourth Street, I’d say that his Clough impersonation is better than most.” We’ll be off in a moment or two.

Roy Keane sang 'Positively Fourth Street' in Lillies the night Ireland beat Holland in 01, and listened to Dylan as packing to leave Saipan.

— Kieran Cunningham (@KCsixtyseven) October 13, 2016
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United leads out his teammates prior to the Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United.
The players take to the pitch. Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images


Here’s a reminder what happened in the first leg of the other semi-final last night. A game packed with much more to pore over than its 0-1 scoreline might suggest.

Erik ten Hag talks to Sky. “It’s great to play such games. A lot of attention from everyone around in the club, everyone is excited, the fans especially but also the players. You feel it: they want to go for the final. It is a big game. We have a strong team tonight. We have to win this game. We have to do everything to win this game. Our players have experience to play big games.”

He also reports that Luke Shaw is ill, and it’s “difficult to say” whether he’ll be back for the weekend.

A lovely moment on Sky as host Mark Chapman, having just quizzed Roy Keane about his time at Forest, cheekily notes that “every former player who played under Brian Clough seems to be able to do an impression of him”, and leaves that hanging in the air. Keane remains silent for a perfectly timed comedic beat – and I won’t insult your intelligence by describing his facial expression – before giving his answer. “I don’t.” Then a quick pantomime glance to camera, before a highly amused smile plays around the corners of his mouth. “I wouldn’t be very good at it. I wouldn’t disrespect him that way.” Tinder-dry comedy. You’d pay good money to have been a fly on the wall behind the scenes at the City Ground circa 1992, wouldn’t you.


Steve Cooper speaks to Sky Sports. “We have to get the balance right. We have to respect that we’re playing Manchester United. We have to play with good ambition, good intent, it’s a semi-final, not often do they come around. We’re still not the team we want to be. There are a load of things we need to improve on. But we have made some forward steps. If there’s ever a time that we think we’re doing well enough, that won’t be for me, we’ve got to fight even harder. We played United away just after Christmas, and we weren’t good enough on the night. We didn’t give a good impression of ourselves and we didn’t like that, so we spoke about that.”

Forest make three changes to the side named for the 1-1 draw at Bournemouth last weekend. Scott McKenna, Danilo and Sam Surridge are in; Orel Mangala drops to the bench, Ryan Yates is ill, and Chris Wood is cup-tied. The on-loan Dean Henderson remains injured, though he’d have been ineligible against his parent club anyway.

United make three changes to the starting XI selected for the 3-2 defeat at Arsenal. At the back, Tyrrell Malacia and Victor Lindelof replace Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane, while in midfield Casemiro returns from suspension to take the place of Scott McTominay.


The teams

Nottingham Forest: Hennessey, Aurier, Worrall, McKenna, Lodi, Danilo, Freuler, Johnson, Gibbs-White, Scarpa, Surridge.
Subs: Smith, Cook, Mangala, Williams, Colback, Lingard, O’Brien, Dennis, Boly.

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Martinez, Malacia, Fernandes, Casemiro, Eriksen, Antony, Weghorst, Rashford.
Subs: Heaton, Fred, Varane, Pellistri, Williams, Elanga, McTominay, Garnacho, Mainoo.

Tonight's side to face @ManUtd in the @Carabao_Cup semi final! 👊

— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) January 25, 2023

Presenting: your United XI for the #CarabaoCup semi-final first leg ✊#MUFC

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 25, 2023



Nottingham Forest have won this competition on four occasions; Manchester United five. For both clubs, their last success in the League Cup is also the last major domestic trophy they won, Forest defeating Oldham Athletic in the 1990 final, United doing for Southampton in 2017. In context of subsequent trajectories and concomitant expectations, it’s been a long drought for both. Who will get a chance to slake their thirst at Wembley next month? We’re two steps away from finding out. Step one kicks off at 8pm GMT. It’s on!


Scott Murray

The GuardianTramp

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