Manchester United survive late scare at Hull to reach final
League Cup semi-final, second leg, KCOM Stadium - Hull City 2 (Huddlestone 35 (pen), Niasse 85) Manchester United 1 (Pogba 66). United win 3-2 on aggregate.
Manchester United booked their place in the League Cup final despite seeing their long unbeaten run end in a 2-1 second-leg loss at Hull City.
The Red Devils were heavy favourites coming into the last-four contest having won the first encounter 2-0 at Old Trafford, but a strong starting XI laboured for long spells and were undone by Tom Huddlestone's hotly-disputed first-half penalty and a late strike from Oumar Niasse.
Hull City's Tom Huddlestone celebrates scoring their first goalReuters
Paul Pogba had looked to have settled nerves with a 66th-minute equaliser but United switched off five minutes from time to make it a nervy finale, before they eventually prevailed 3-2 on aggregate.
Hull boss Marco Silva made eight changes from the Premier League loss at Chelsea, but his fringe players gave a fine account of themselves with a display that once again suggested they are on the up under their new manager.
Seeing United's 17-match unbeaten run come to an unexpected end will smart for Jose Mourinho, but the bigger picture is that he is now just one game away from securing a trophy in his first season at the helm.
The Red Devils will meet Southampton on February 26 hoping to lift the League Cup for the fifth time in their history.
Hull's harsh penalty sparked the tie into life. Pundits were divided on the award of Hull's first-half spot kick, but it made this second leg a much more interesting spectacle than many were expecting. Rojo was penalised for holding the shirt of Maguire at the left-wing corner and while it may have been harsh, it ensured the second half was worth tuning in for.
United had their own appeal when Huddlestone appeared to bring down Smalling after the interval but it wasn't given. Mourinho and Co have lamented the fact they don't seem to get penalty awards this season, but in the end it didn't truly impact upon the outcome of the tie as United were forced to improve in what turned out to be an entertaining second half.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Oumar Niasse. (Hull City). Struck the winner on the night and also hit the crossbar with a header. Gave the United rearguard plenty to think about in the first half and looks like a shrewd loan signing from Everton.
27' - HULL CITY CHANCE! United go to sleep clearing their lines and Tom Huddlestone hoists a high one back into the middle. Dawson reacts first but can't quite get a shot away. It drops for Niasse who sees a first-time drive on the follow-up blocked by De Gea.
35' - GOAL! HULL CITY 1-0 MAN UNITED. Huddlestone drills the penalty beyond the dive of De Gea to reduce the arrears. United are not happy with the award of the spot kick after Rojo was adjudged to have pulled back Maguire at a corner. Hull lead on the night and trail 2-1 on aggregate.
38' - MAN UNITED CHANCE! Ibrahimovic leads a break for United. He races at Dawson and curves a shot around the defender from 20 yards that looks to be heading for the corner until David Marshall intervenes with a smart save.
Hull City's Oumar Niasse in action with Manchester United's Jesse Lingard and Matteo DarmianReuters
54' - UNITED PENALTY APPEAL! Smalling controls Carrick's lofted ball back into the area and tumbles under pressure from Huddlestone. Big shout for a spot kick but Jon Moss waves away the appeals.
66' - GOAL! HULL CITY 1-1 MAN UNITED. The visitors are level on the night and now lead 3-1 on aggregate. Rashford bursts into the left of the area and as Huddlestone tries to make a challenge he touches it into the path of Pogba who pokes it into the far corner.
73' - OFF THE BAR! Rojo meets the left-wing corner but sees his header smack against the woodwork and fly over.
78' - OFF THE BAR! This time Hull hit the bar. Evandro's corner is met by Niasse who sees his firm header come back off the woodwork.
85' - GOAL! HULL CITY 2-1 MAN UNITED. Hull have a lifeline. Niasse taps in at the far post after Meyler ghosted into space on the right of the box and volleyed a first-time cross into his path. 3-2 to United on aggregate.
Oumar Niasse has scored his first goal in English football, in his 11th game in all competitions (inc. EFL Trophy).
Only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (19) has scored more goals for Man Utd in all competitions this season than Paul Pogba (7).
Manchester United have reached their ninth League Cup final - second only to Liverpool (12) in the history of the competition.
Mourinho has the best success rate of any manager in League Cup finals (won 3/3).
Tom Huddlestone’s scored his first goal for Hull as a top-flight team since the 2014 FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United.