A much-changed Manchester United made it eight consecutive wins in all competitions by beating Charlton 3-0 at Old Trafford to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
United manager Erik ten Hag made eight changes following Friday’s FA Cup victory over Everton and handed 17-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo his debut from the start, but it did not disrupt his side’s momentum.
Antony’s fine left-footed strike from 20 yards gave United the lead in the 21st minute before second-half substitute Marcus Rashford scored a late double to seal the win.
The England international has now scored 15 goals this season and his impressive cameo saw him find the net for the sixth game in a row – and an eighth straight match at Old Trafford.
Man Utd: Heaton (7), Dalot (6), Maguire (7), Martinez (7), Malacia (6), McTominay (6), Fred (8), Antony (7), Mainoo (6), Garnacho (7), Elanga (6).
Subs: Wan-Bissaka (6), Eriksen (6), Rashford (8), Casemiro (7), Pellistri (7).
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer (7), Clare (6), Inniss (6), Ness (6), Sessegnon (6), Morgan (6), Dobson (7), Fraser (6), Rak-Sakyi (6), Leaburn (6), Blackett-Taylor (6).
Subs: O’Connell (6), Payne (6), Stockley (n/a), Henry (n/a).
Player of the match: Fred.
League One Charlton, who knocked out Brighton in the previous round, threatened to equalize in the second half but lacked quality in the final third as United secured their ninth win in a row at Old Trafford.
The draw for the Carabao Cup semi-finals will take place after Southampton’s last-eight clash with Manchester City at St Mary’s on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports.
How Man Utd reached the last four
United only made sure of their progression to the last four as the tie headed into stoppage time but it could have been more convincing for the hosts had they taken one of the early chances that the prodigious talent Alejandro Garnacho created.
The Argentine made an opening for Diogo Dalot after cutting inside from the byline, but the defender blazed over from a good position.
Garnacho then twice tried to go on his own as he had his marker Sean Clare on toast, first cutting in and then fizzing a shot just wide before a jinking run into the penalty area ended with him dragging a shot wide.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag made eight changes from the side that beat Everton 3-1 in the FA Cup third round on Friday.
Centre-back Lisandro Martinez started for the first time since winning the World Cup with Argentina. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton came into the XI and there was a debut for 17-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo.
Captain Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Fred, Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho also started.
The players to make way were David de Gea, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and the suspended Bruno Fernandes.
Charlton boss Dean Holden made one change from the team that beat Lincoln 2-1 in League One on Saturday.
That change came in goal, as Craig MacGillivray was replaced by Ashley Maynard-Brewer – who was the hero in the Addicks’ last-16 shootout win over Brighton. Maynard-Brewer was absent at the weekend due to concussion protocols.
But it was from the right where United forged their 21st-minute opener. They worked the ball well out to Antony, who made space on his preferred left foot and then sent a curling effort past Ashley Maynard-Brewer and into the top corner.
The hosts were within inches of doubling their lead 10 minutes before the break when Fred’s 30-yard free-kick crashed into a post, with Maynard-Brewer a bystander.
Charlton, roared on by 9,000 traveling supporters and manager Dean Holden – a die-hard United fan – had battled hard and enjoyed their best period of the game heading into the interval as Albie Morgan whipped a free-kick wide and then Tom Heaton had to claim Clare’s low cross with Corey Blackett-Taylor waiting to pounce.
They started the second half strongly as well and their golden opportunity came 76 seconds after the restart as Scott Fraser latched on to Miles Leaburn’s flick-on but put his left-footed shot over.
Anthony Elanga had a goal ruled out for a clear offside but it was Charlton who continued to press their illustrious hosts and, such was their impact, Ten Hag introduced Rashford, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen on the hour mark.
That experienced trio helped United gain control of the match and they created some chances to kill the game off as Garnacho brought a flying save from Maynard-Brewer, who also got down low to keep out Eriksen’s effort.
United eventually got the second that made the game safe in the 90th minute as debutant Facundo Pellistri teed up Rashford and the in-form forward added a second after being played through by Casemiro.
Analysis: Ten Hag proving Pep right as rebuild gathers pace
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom at Old Trafford:
February 26, 2023.
It’s a date Manchester United supporters will have marked in the diary as their side’s resurgence under Erik ten Hag continues to gather pace. It may be premature, especially with Manchester City still in the competition, but it would take a brave person to bet against United winning the Carabao Cup next month.
They may have only beaten Charlton, a team sitting 12th in the third tier of English football, but it is now eight consecutive wins in all competitions for Ten Hag’s team. It’s nine victories in a row at Old Trafford. Unexpectedly, United have dragged themselves into the Premier League title race in recent weeks and remain alive in three cup competitions.
Ten Hag won six trophies with Ajax, including three Eredivisie titles. But steering United to Carabao Cup glory in his debut campaign would rank as one of his best achievements and should not be underestimated either. It could be the catalyst for more significant silverware. It was, after all, Pep Guardiola’s first major honor for him as Manchester City manager. He’s won eight more since.
Success at Wembley would also strengthen Ten Hag’s hand and serve as a reminder of the progress he’s made since taking charge of United last summer. His win rate is an impressive 74 percent after 27 matches-better than Guardiola’s after the same number of games with City-and that’s despite Ten Hag losing his opening two fixtures in August. He’s made some big calls already during his short reign. So far, they’ve been vindicated.
There is still a long way to go in this unprecedented season, but under the meticulous and no-nonsense Dutchman, United finally look capable of ending their six-year trophy drought.
“United are coming back,” Guardiola said in October. After a run of 15 wins in 18 games since a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad, Ten Hag is proving his old colleague right.
Saturday’s Premier League clash between the two Manchester clubs is now a much more difficult one to call.
Analysis: Teenager Mainoo holds his own on debut
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom at Old Trafford:
It was a huge night for 17-year-old Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who made his first-team debut in a Carabao Cup quarter-final.
The Stockport-born teenager became the eighth United player to debut under Ten Hag and the second academy prospect to be promoted into senior football by the Dutchman after striker Charlie McNeill.
Mainoo, who was part of United’s FA Youth Cup-winning squad last season, scored in a friendly against Cadiz during the World Cup break and has represented England at both U17 and U18 level.
He held his own alongside Scott McTominay and Fred before his substitution on 60 minutes and was not afraid to receive the ball under pressure.
The youngster deservedly received a standing ovation from United supporters as he left the pitch. His future at Old Trafford could be a bright one.
Tuesday: Manchester United 3-0 Charlton
Tuesday: Newcastle 2-0 Leicester
Wednesday: Nottingham Forest v Wolves – kick-off 7.45pm
Wednesday: Southampton vs Manchester City – kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Manchester United return to Premier League action at 12.30pm on Saturday when they take on rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford.
Erik ten Hag’s side then travel to Crystal Palace at 8pm on Wednesday before a mouth-watering clash with arsenal at 4.30pm on January 22, live on Sky Sports.
Up next for Charlton is a home match against Barnsley in League One at 3pm on Saturday before a trip to Peterborough at the same time on January 21.