Manchester United advanced to the semifinals of the Carabao Cup with a 3-0 win over League One side Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford on Tuesday. A first half strike from Antony was capped by a late Marcus Rashford brace, as Erik ten Hag moved a step closer to picking up his first silverware as United manager.
The Dutchman made eight changes to the side that saw off Everton in last week’s FA Cup tie. Tom Heaton took his place in goal, while World Cup winner Lisandro Martínez returned to the centre of defence with the not-World Cup-winner Harry Maguire. Fred and Scott McTominay formed a familiar midfield pivot, behind teenage debutant Kobbie Mainoo. Alejandro Garnacho and Antony flanked Anthony Elanga up top.
United made a bright start, and might have been ahead in the first few minutes. A lively Garnacho pulled a low cross towards an unmarked Diogo Dalot on the edge of the Charlton box, though the Portuguese full-back blazed clean over the crossbar.
Instead, the hosts had to wait until midway through the first half to open the scoring against a Charlton side languishing in mid-table in English football’s third tier. The goal was a cracker, coming as a Dalot decoy run bought Antony the space to curl a textbook left-footer into the top corner from the right side of the Addicks’ area.
Charlton — whose manager Dean Holden has held an Old Trafford season ticket for three decades — had occasional forays into United territory, but it was the hosts that bossed the remainder of the half. With some more clinical play in the final third, United might have had a bigger lead at the interval, and Fred was unlucky to see his curling free-kick rattle the post.
United thought they’d opened the scoring early in the second half, when Elanga slid a first-time Wan-Bissaka cross home, though the goal was quickly chalked off by an offside flag. There was little subsequent change to the first half’s pattern, with United dominating and Charlton looking to strike on the counter.
With the game still finely poised on the hour, ten Hag elected to bring out the big guns. In one fell swoop, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Marcus Rashford were introduced, with Fred, Mainoo and Antony withdrawn. To their credit, Charlton remained firm, and keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer made a sharp reaction stop to deny Eriksen from close range with just over five minutes remaining.
Ten Hag handed a late debut to Uruguayan international Facundo Pellistri, who was chucked on in place of the quiet Elanga. Pellistri was involved as United doubled their lead in the final minute of regulation time, slipping a nice pass through for Rashford to finish at Maynard-Brewer’s near post.
Rashford wasn’t done there, and capped the win with a third in stoppage time. A pass stroked off the outside of Casemiro’s boot carved the Charlton defence open, leaving Rashford with the time and space to slot his seventh goal in six past the Charlton keeper. Long may his form continue.