LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 23 – Manchester United left it late to book their place in the League Cup semi-finals with a dramatic 2-0 win at Everton, while Tottenham joined them in the last four after beating Stoke 3-1 on Wednesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side dominated for long periods of their quarter-final at Goodison Park, but it took until the 88th minute before Edinson Cavani broke the deadlock.
The former Paris Saint-Germain striker’s fourth goal for United since joining on a free transfer in October came at the same venue where he opened his account for the club last month.
Anthony Martial bagged United’s second goal in stoppage time.
After a rocky period that raised questions about Solskjaer’s future following their exit from the Champions League, United have recovered their equilibrium.
They are third in the Premier League and have won their last three matches in all competitions.
United last lifted silverware when they won the Europa League in 2017 and Solskjaer says they are “desperate” to end that barren run
The Norwegian, who won nine major trophies as a player with United, took charge at Old Trafford in 2018 and saw his side lose in three semi-finals last term.
He now has a chance to go one better this season after United joined holders Manchester City, Tottenham and second-tier Brentford in the League Cup semi-finals.
Everton made only three changes from the 2-1 win over Arsenal, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison both starting in attack.
In contrast, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes were the only United players to retain their places after the 6-2 rout of Leeds at the weekend, with Paul Pogba returning to the starting line-up.
But it was United who dominated and Robin Olsen kept out Cavani’s close-range effort before Mason Greenwood’s header clipped the far post.
Solskjaer sent on Marcus Rashford and Martial in the second half and it proved an inspired move.
With just two minutes left before a penalty shoot-out, Martial slipped a pass to Cavani, who drove a superb strike past Olsen from the edge of the area.
Martial then slotted home with virtually the last kick after Everton were caught throwing too many players forward.
– Alli blasted –
Jose Mourinho accused Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli of creating “problems” for his own team during their win against Stoke.
Wales forward Gareth Bale made the most of a rare start to put Mourinho’s team ahead at the Bet365 Stadium.
But Alli was at fault when his flamboyant flick was intercepted in the build-up to Jordan Thompson’s equaliser for Stoke.
Alli’s latest mistake drew an angry response on the touchline from Mourinho, who rebuked the star before substituting him minutes later.
Ben Davies put Tottenham back in front with his first goal since 2017 before England captain Harry Kane sealed Spurs’ place in the semi-finals.
But it was Alli’s public dressing-down that took the spotlight, with the England international’s wretched season hitting a new low in his first start since November 26.
Already exiled for long periods this term by Mourinho and linked with a January move to Paris Saint-Germain, Alli is a shadow of the player who shone during England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
Mourinho made it clear the 24-year-old had to take the blame for his latest blunder.
“Yes, for me a player that plays in that position is a player that has to link and create and not to create problems for his own team,” said Mourinho.
“In that situation, an objective counter-attack would probably end with a goal, and it ended with a counter-attack behind our defenders.
“We were unbalanced because when you are in possession you have full-backs out wide and another midfielder in a different line and they caught us in a counter-attack and they transformed the result of the game that was totally in our hands. So yes I am upset.”