Manchester United 0 Manchester City 2
Manchester United suffered more semi-final heartbreak under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester City won the Carabao Cup semi-final 2-0 at Old Trafford.
After the Premier League stalemate in the Manchester derby in December, this was a different animal entirely with a place at Wembley up for grabs.
The stakes were high and so was the entertainment. Three goals were disallowed in the first 24 minutes for offside, with United the victims of one of them. But hopes of a Carabao Cup final on April 25 against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham were wrecked by two second-half goals from Pep Guardiola’s team.
Our neighbours went ahead with a John Stones goal in the 50th minute and Fernandinho clinched it for the Blues in the 83rd minute to make it four consecutive last-four disappointments for the Reds and Ole.
Match pics: United v City Gallery
See a selection of photos from the Manchester derby in the Carabao Cup.
FIRST HALF - THREE GOALS DISALLOWED BUT ALL-SQUARE
It was almost a superb flying start by the Reds as the ball nestled in City’s net after just two minutes, with John Stones inadvertently scoring an own goal after Marcus Rashford’s shot had rebounded off goalkeeper Zack Steffen’s legs and against the defender.
VAR confirmed correctly that, unfortunately, our striker was offside when he puled the trigger.
City also had a goal chalked off after five minutes when Ilkay Gundogan passed the ball home, only for the officials to again to be spot on as the German was in an offside position.
Talisman Bruno Fernandes had a goalbound effort brilliantly kept out by American keeper Steffen, after nine minutes, following a pass by Scott McTominay, as the semi-final kicked off in exciting style.
The attacking mode of the match kept coming and Kevin De Bruyne struck a post in the 13th minute with a screamer. It was a night of disallowed goals for offside with Phil Foden becoming the third disappointed player of the match when his cool finish was cancelled out in the 24th minute.
Rashford had a shot blocked and McTominay lifted an effort well over in the moments when the Reds interrupted the Blues' superior possession count.
United also had a shout for a penalty as the half came towards a close when the ball appeared to hit Stones on the arm in City's box. However, referee Martin Atkinson said no and VAR official Jon Moss didn't intervene either.
SECOND HALF - DECISIVE DOUBLE FROM CITY
City broke the derby deadlock five minutes after the interval. A Foden free-kick shot across the penalty area behind and beyond United’s defenders and Stones bundled the ball in with his thigh.
Dean Henderson, making his first Old Trafford appearance in goal, kept the Reds in it, after 62 minutes, with an excellent flying save to deny Riyad Mahrez’s screaming shot.
United stepped up our attempts to level the match with Harry Maguire steering a difficult headed chance wide and Fernandes hitting one shot straight at Steffen, and then curling one wide from distance.
The Reds were in desperate need of a late hero and the manager brought on Mason Greenwood for McTominay, with 15 minutes to go, to boost our attack.
City brought on midfielder Rodri to replace the more forward-thinking Mahrez as they attempted to counter the Reds' substitution and hold off United as the late pressure began to build.
However, a tense finale was blown out of the water as Fernandinho drilled in Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s attempt to head away a corner, with seven minutes to go, to make it 2-0 and end hopes of lifting the trophy in the spring.
United: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw, Fred (van de Beek 87), McTominay (Greenwood 75), Fernandes, Pogba, Martial, Rashford.
Subs not used: De Gea, Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe, James, Mata, Matic.
Bookings: Fred, Shaw.
Manchester City: Steffen, Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (c), Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez (Rodri 79), Foden, Sterling.
Subs not used: Trafford, Walker, Jesus, Aguero, Mendy, Nmecha, Harwood-Bellis, Mbete.
Goals: Stones 50, Fernandinho 83.
Bookings: Fernandinho, Cancelo.