Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Hull City in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final, but earned a 3-2 aggregate victory, heading through to the final to meet Southampton at Wembley.
Jose Mourinho made five changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Stoke City last weekend with Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford replacing Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. United beat Hull City 2-0 just over a fortnight ago and keeping that the case after tonight’s match will set up an EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday 26th February 2017. Hull kicked off the match trying to look for an early goal to get them back into the fixture with United holding well in the opening few minutes.
In the tenth minute of the match, Hull has a chance to get something from the tie with a corner, which found its man in the box, but the resulting shot was well off target and not likely to cause any problems for United. Seconds later, Phil Jones gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box, getting booked at the same time. Samuel Clucas took the free-kick, which David De Gea punched clear with United then going on the attack with Marcus Rashford being fouled by David Meyler, earning a free-kick with no yellow card shown to Meyler, which was a talking point early in the match. Ander Herrera took the free-kick, which went through the box and out for a corner.
United had a spell of possession the threatened to cause Hull some problems, building up their play in Hull’s final third. After some good passing, Marcos Rojo had a shot on goal, which was wide of the mark and could have been better. United seemed to look like they were getting started, looking to capitalise on a first half goal, which could give Hull too much to do in this match. In the 25th minute of the match, a moment the home fans applauded for Ryan Mason who suffered a fractured skull at the weekend, Rojo gave a corner away, which threatened United with a shot on goal, which De Gea deflected then Hull were given another free-kick, which came to nothing.
Hull were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute of the match for a questionable foul in United’s box. Tom Huddlestone took the resulting penalty, putting Hull back in the side. I must say it was (another) poor decision by Jon Moss, who has shown he’s even lesser of a referee that I actually thought. United nearly got back into the match through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose shot was on target, but David Marshall parried the shot for a corner, which amounted to nothing for United. The half ended with United trailing 1-0 (1-2 on aggregate) with Mourinho’s side needing some inspiration from somewhere to settle the tie, or find themselves in a position whereby another goal could make a difference for the home side.
United stuttered for the early stages of the second half, still needing a goal to regain their two-goal cushion on the tie. Chris Smalling was denied a penalty after being fouled in the box, but Jon Moss did not want to know about it – seemingly another poor decision from the so-called referee again this evening. United levelled the score through Paul Pogba with Marcus Rashford deep inside the box, seemingly setting up the French midfielder, but the ball was passed to him from Huddlestone. United were 3-1 up on aggregate and seemingly on their way to Wembley to face Southampton.
United were unlucky not to take the lead in the match with Marcos Rojo rattling the crossbar and minutes later Hull did the same, which could have put the home side back into the fixture. In the 83rd minute, United’s goalscorer Paul Pogba had a shot on goal but was ruled offside. United were still doing enough to keep their two-goal lead on aggregate, earning that final place next month. Hull got their second goal in the 85th minute through Oumar Niasse, which puts them ahead on the night but still needing goals to earn a place in the Wembley final. Rojo was shown a yellow card, United’s second this evening for a foul, which may have been questionable.
Goals: Paul Pogba 66′
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Smalling, Rojo; Carrick, Herrera; Lingard (Rooney 78′), Pogba, Rashford (Fellaini 90+2′); Ibrahimovic
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Shaw, Fosu-Mensah; Mata, Mkhitaryan
Bookings: Phil Jones 11′, Marcos Rojo 87′
Written by Ryan Beecham