Manchester United beat a spirited Hull City 2-0 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
- Manchester United 2 Hull City 0
- Goalless at the break
- Mata breaks the deadlock
- Fellaini adds late second
After a goalless opening half, United were made to work hard for their two goals with Juan Mata netting with a simple tap-in from a Henrikh Mkhitaryan header just before the hour mark.
The second came from late substitute Marouane Fellaini, whose looping header beat Tigers keeper Eldin Jakupovic and Tom Huddlestone on the line.
In a fixture where the visitors only had one recognised centre-back and a new manager at the helm, it was an uphill task from the first whistle.
However, Marco Silva's side didn't embarrass themselves by any stretch of the imagination in front of a subdued Old Trafford crowd.
Solid, but unspectacular, the Red Devils had to work hard and the scene of manager Jose Mourinho leaving his dugout for the changing room three minutes before the break, told its own story.
After a goalless first half where clear-cut opportunities were at a premium, United's midfield talisman popped up with yet another important goal – just before the hour mark.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 10, 2017
Mata was in the right place at the right time to prod home a Mkhitaryan header at close range after the Armenian guided Antonio Valencia's deep cross back into the danger area,
The Tigers fought back with a few brave attacks, but Paul Pogba came closest to scoring with a curling free-kick that struck the post, as Jakupovic stood rooted to the spot.
With time running out, it seemed as if the fixture would end with a slender advantage for the hosts going into the second leg at the KCOM Stadium, but Fellaini – who was sent on for Mata with the intention of protecting the lead – grabbed the second.
Not a vintage Old Trafford goal, but his looping header was enough to possibly put United into the final of the EFL Cup before the away tie.