Man United, Newcastle advance to League Cup semifinals
Manchester United cannot stop winning. Marcus Rashford cannot stop scoring.
Make that eight straight wins in all competitions for United after a 3-0 victory over third-tier Charlton Athletic secured a place in the English League Cup semifinals on Tuesday.
Rashford came on as a 60th-minute substitute and had enough time to grab two goals, scoring for the sixth game in a row.
While United is looking to end what will be a six-year trophy drought, Newcastle has a shot at a first piece of silverware since 1955.
The Saudi-controlled club from northeast England dispatched Leicester 2-0 thanks to goals by Dan Burn and Joelinton and advanced to the last four of the League Cup for the first time since 1976. Not even 18 months into its new era, Newcastle is perhaps exceeding expectations after rapidly becoming a force in English soccer.
It is the latest positive step in encouraging seasons for two teams who have also established themselves in the top four of the Premier League.
Newcastle and Man United are tied on points in third and fourth place, respectively, and are in relentless form, with just one loss between them since September.
The other two quarterfinals take place Wednesday, when Manchester City visits Southampton and Nottingham Forest hosts Wolverhampton in another all-Premier League matchup.
Drawn against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, Man United manager Erik ten Hag was able to field a weakened lineup against Charlton — perhaps in view of a derby match against Man City in the league on Saturday — and still come through fine.
“I said before the game, ‘No ifs, buts or maybes, we have to be in that semifinal’ and we did the job,” Ten Hag said.
Brazil winger Antony collected the ball on the right and curled a shot into the far corner from just outside the area to put the hosts ahead in the 21st minute at Old Trafford.
Rashford was one of three substitutes to enter on the hour mark and poked home a finish in the 90th at the culmination of a counterattack to end Charlton’s hopes. The England forward then stroked in a left-footed shot after beating the offside trap, for his 18th goal for club and country this season.
Rashford has 15 goals and six assists in 25 matches for United and is perhaps in the best form of his career.
United is through to the semifinals for the third time in four seasons. It was eliminated by City in the last four in 2020 and ’21.
EASY FOR NEWCASTLE
At St. James’ Park, Dan Burn was the unlikely scorer of Newcastle’s breakthrough goal in the 60th minute, the tall left back taking a pass from Joelinton and surging through Leicester’s defense before slipping home a low finish.
“I like to get forward and it’s entertaining watching a guy my size running into the box,” Burn said after scoring his first goal for the team he grew up supporting.
“I used to sit in the East Stand,” he added. “You always want to score in front of the Gallowgate End and to do that in front of my family was amazing.”
Joelinton, who had earlier hit the post, then scored himself in the 73rd with a low, angled shot.
The 1976 final was the only time Newcastle has reached the League Cup’s title match.
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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