Anthony Martial on the ball.

Talking points: United 0-2 City

Wednesday 06 January 2021 22:09

Manchester United were once again left frustrated and disappointed at the sem-final stage of another cup competition, as the Reds went down 2-0 to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

A fiercely contested last-four match at Old Trafford was ultimately decided by two second-half goals from a couple of unlikely sources, as John Stones and Fernandinho fired the Blues to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur in April.

Here, we round up the main talking points on a disappointing night for the Reds...

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will once again be pleased with his players’ efforts during another hard-fought cup semi-final, but ultimately the United boss and his squad will be frustrated by another disappointment at the final-four stage. After losing out in three semi-final ties last season – including another Carabao Cup meeting with City – Ole had urged his men to believe we could break this recent hoodoo. Sadly, our unfortunate run continues, here’s hoping for another strong Emirates FA Cup run, starting on Saturday.

Dean Henderson continued his record of having played in every Carabao Cup game this season and also made his first senior Old Trafford start in the process. Indeed, Ole revealed before kick-off that Dean had “been training on the pitch just to get his surroundings and get his bearings which is brilliant preparation.” It's a real shame for for Dean - and the Reds - to see it end in disappointment, but there will no doubt be other memorable occasions for the young stopper to come, after a superb performance despite the defeat.

We had a flurry of goals ruled out for offside during a lively first half. The Reds had the ball in the net after just 90 seconds when Zack Steffen saved well from Marcus Rashford only for the ball to bounce in off John Stones but the flag was – eventually - raised. Five minutes later, Ilkay Gundogan found the net at the other end after getting on the end of a Phil Foden cross, but the City midfielder had gone too early. Foden himself then fired home on 25 minutes, after escaping the clutches of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but was rightly flagged offside.

John Stones put City ahead just after half-time.

United will move on quickly from this disappointing cup match to focus on another, with the famous FA Cup third-round weekend upon us in three days. It’s another home draw too, with Watford due to visit here on Saturday evening. Then attentions turn fully back to the Premier League with a huge week to come, with our game in hand - away to Burnley next Tuesday -and then, of course, that trip to Anfield on Sunday week.

Fernandinho grabbed a second goal late on to secure City's place in the final.
Both sets of players wore black armbands and a minute’s silence was held before kick-off in tribute to Manchester City legend Colin Bell, who sadly passed away on Tuesday. Bell played 501 games for the Blues and is widely regarded as one of the club’s best-ever stars. He even has a stand named after him at the Etihad. Everyone at United sends their deepest sympathies to Colin’s family and friends.