Stunning Rashford free-kick steers Man Utd past Chelsea
League Cup round of 16 – Stamford Bridge – Chelsea 1 (Batshuayi 61’) Manchester United 2 (Rashford pen 26’, 73’)
Marcus Rashford scored a sensational free-kick as Manchester United once again overcame Chelsea to seal a place in the quarter-final of the League Cup.
With the scores locked at 1-1 and the game seemingly heading to penalties, the 21-year-old, hours short of his birthday, delivered an unstoppable shot from 30 yards into the top corner, leaving Willy Caballero with no chance.
Having been denied from the spot by Tim Krul in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Norwich, Rashford had bravely stepped up to score a penalty and put United into a 25th-minute lead after Daniel James was fouled in the box.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a stronger team than Frank Lampard, who started four teenagers in his much-changed Chelsea side. But it was one of the Blues' most experienced players in Marcos Alonso who gifted United the opening goal, the Spaniard conceding possession in midfield and bringing down James in the box in an attempt to make amends, with Rashford making no mistake this time.
After a dire first half, Chelsea stepped up their efforts after the restart and had a strong appeal for a penalty of their own waved away when Marcos Rojo blocked Charlie Gilmour's shot, but with no VAR in play there was no way for the referee to double-check for handball.
Their pressure finally told, however, when Michy Batshuayi drove forward with a lung-busting run from the half-way line, levelling with a fine strike from 25 yards in the 61st-minute.
But the moment of the match came 12 minutes later when Rashford thrashed in his fifth goal of the season against Chelsea, and it proved a worthy match-winner as the Reds - who thrashed the Blues 4-0 in the opening league game back in August - moved into the last eight of the competition.
TALKING POINT - United's revival continues, as Rashford shines again
The October international break has done United the world of good. The Reds had gone seven games without a win from the end of September, culminating with the humiliating defeat at St James' Park on October 6. United's revival started with a hugely-impressive performance against Liverpool, followed by back-to-back away victories over Partizan and Norwich. And, inspired by Scott McTominay, United were excellent for the most part at Stamford Bridge, where they were deadly on the counter-attack and secure at the back.
It was Solskjaer's reward for naming a strong side. Jose Mourinho took the cup seriously from the early rounds when he lifted the cup as United manager in 2017, and Solskjaer realises he needs silverware as soon as possible. They have momentum now. It looks like the Norwegian has finally turned the corner.
Rashford, too, has turned the corner. For a while he was shorn of confidence, fluffing most of the chances that came his way. No longer. He now has five in five.
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with Brandon Williams and Fred of Manchester United during the Carabao Cup Round of 16Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Marcus Rashford (Man United)
McTominay was a breath of fresh air in midfield, but Rashford has to take the honour. He showed real character and bravery to step up and convert the penalty after the weekend's miss, and what can be said for that wonderful free-kick? You won't see many better. It was early-career Cristano Ronaldo-esque.
Man Utd: Romero 5, Wan-Bissaka 6, Lindelof 6, Maguire 6, Rojo 5, Williams 6, McTominay 8, Fred 7, Lingard 5, D 7, Rashford 9.. subs: Pereira 5, Young N/A
24' - PENALTY TO MAN UNITED! Another one! James is too quick for Alonso, who brings down the flying-flanker with a clumsy challenge inside the area. The referee points to the spot.
25' - GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Man United: Rashford steps up confidently and slides the ball into the left corner, sending Caballero the wrong way.
50' - What a chance! Chelsea's best opportunity of the match. Alonso centres a lovely ball across the face of goal, it's begging to be finished, but the ball rolls over the foot of Hudson-Odoi.
61' - GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Man United: Batshuyai levels with a fine solo effort! He sets off from the halfway line with real power and pace, and with four players circling round him, he creates the angle for a shot and fires it past Romero from 25 yards.
73' - GOAL! Chelsea 1-2 Man United: And what a goal! It's a sensational free-kick from Rashford! Thirty yards out, he lifts it over the wall and the ball sails into the top corner, leaving Caballero with no chance!
- Manchester United have recorded back-to-back away wins at Chelsea for the first time since February 1998.
- Chelsea have lost three games at Stamford Bridge in all competitions in 2019-20, one more than they did in the whole of the 2018-19 campaign (two).
- Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has scored five goals against Chelsea across all competitions; his most against a single opponent in his club career.
- Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first game in charge on December 22, Manchester United have taken more penalties (17) and scored more penalties (12) than any other Premier League team in all competitions.