A late brace from Marcus Rashford permitted Manchester United to ease into the Carabao Cup semifinals with a 3-0 victory over Charlton Athletic in Tuesday’s quarterfinal at Old Trafford.
Antony’s fine curling strike in the 21st minute gave United a deserved lead before their League One opponents’ resistance was ended by two goals in the dying minutes from in-form substitute Rashford to seal triumph for Erik ten Hag’s much-changed side.
Rashford’s two clinical finishes took his season’s tally to 15 goals in all competitions and meant he has now scored in eight successive home games from Man United.
“I have told you many times, when he puts himself in the position, in one on ones in the box, he will score,” coach Erik ten Hag said. “That is what he is doing at the moment. If he keeps the focus and keeps doing what he is doing, he will score more.
“First half I was happy, but I was less happy with not being clinical in front of goal. We created a lot of chances. We should have scored more. Sometimes we need that extra pass. We had to fight right until the end.
“But we are scoring goals from the back, from set plays too, so I think we are progressing.”
Rashford had started on the bench as Ten Hag made eight variations to the United lineup that beat Everton 3-1 in the FA Cup on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s derby versus Manchester City.
As well as backup Tom Heaton in goal, there was a first start since the World Cup final for Argentine centre-back Lisandro Martinez. Going forward, there was a youthful feel to the lineup, including a senior debut for 17-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo and a front three of Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Elanga and Antony.
United were in the ascendency from the off and could have taken the lead within the first two minutes but Diogo Dalot curled a first-time shot over the bar from just inside the box.
Garnacho created that chance after a fine run down the left and the 18-year-old Argentine’s quick feet posed the biggest threat to Charlton throughout.
It was another young South American, though, who broke the deadlock.
After being picked out by Fred on the corner of the box, Antony cut in on his left foot in familiar fashion before picking out the top corner to easily defeated Charlton goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
It was the 22-year-old’s fifth goal since his summer move from Ajax, and the first time he has scored in consecutive games in a Man United shirt.
Their lead could well have been doubled before half-time. Moments after taking the lead, a goal-mouth scramble ended with Elanga having a shot blocked in front of goal. Then, in the 35th minute, Fred struck a powerful free-kick from distance that smacked back off the inside of the post.
After threatening little in the opening 45 minutes, Charlton emerged from the break with some attacking impetus with midfielder Scott Fraser swiftly firing high over the crossbar with the visitors’ best opening of the match to that point.
At the other end, Garnacho continued to look dangerous and forced Maynard-Brewer into a fine diving save.
Charlton continued to show admirable fight in their efforts to draw level, but it was United who displayed the greater attacking threat. And it took another impressive save from Maynard-Brewer, this time from substitute Christian Eriksen, to keep the deficit at one.
But there was nothing he could do to prevent Rashford from making the result safe and taking his tally to seven goals in his six games since returning from the World Cup.