CARABAO CUP: SWANSEA 0-MAN UTD 2
So you will be correct to say this was just what the doctor ordered for the Red Devils after what you might describe as a forgetable weekend against Huddersfield. Jesse Lingard’s double helped Manchester United stroll into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win at Swansea dont’t forget we are the defending champions of this competition.
The 24-year-old opened the scoring with a fine finish in the first half at the Liberty Stadium, before a brilliant header put United two goals clear.
Swansea offered a late rally with decent strikes from Tammy Abraham and Jordan Ayew, but Paul Clement’s men failed to beat Sergio Romero.
And Lingard’s double ensured that Jose Mourinho’s men took another step closer to retaining the trophy they won in February.
Manchester United’s on-the-night captain Chris Smalling almost opened the scoring inside 90 seconds when he headed wide from Lingard’s corner.
Lingard, who scored in last season’s Carabao Cup final win over Southampton, nearly opened the scoring inside five minutes when his drive was tipped over by Swansea goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
But perhaps it should’ve been the Red Devils who found themselves behind when Victor Lindelof – the villain of United’s shock weekend defeat at Huddersfield – again misjudged the ball and allowed Ayew a run at goal. The former Aston Villa man, though, made a hash of the chance by dwindling on the ball.
It was Jose Mourinho’s men, though, who broke the deadlock when Lingard slotted home after a delicate flick from Marcus Rashford to play the England international through on goal.
Swansea twice may have pulled level before the interval when Oliver McBurnie almost inadvertently turned home Daley Blind’s botched clearance, before firing over from Ki Sung-Yueng’s fine pass on the stroke of half-time.
The hosts, who made eight changes from their weekend defeat to Leicester, were two behind on 59 minutes when Lingard headed into the far corner from 16 yards from Matteo Darmian’s cross.
The youngster almost had his hat trick five minutes later when he was picked out in the box, but his cross-shot evaded the net and any accompanying team-mate
Axel Tuanzebe looked destined to make it three shortly after but could only fire over from six yards after Nordfeldt fumbled a Smalling header.
On-loan Chelsea man Abraham was thrown on in a bid to get the hosts back into contention, and the prolific forward forced a fine save from Romero with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Ayew struck a free-kick from the edge of the box into Romero’s welcoming arms, before Nemanja Matic’s goal-bound, drilled effort was blocked before he could add to United’s lead.
And it was Leroy Fer who should’ve reduced the deficit when he fired at Romero in the dying embers of the match, only for the Argentina goalkeeper to deny the hosts.
The win ensured the we exorcised some of the demons that will have haunted us since Saturday’s limp defeat at Huddersfield.