Late goals from Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial edged Manchester United through to the Carabao Cup semi-finals at the expense of a frustratingly below-par Everton.
A poor game from the Toffees perspective looked to be drifting to penalties before the Cavani fired into the corner from just outside the area. Martial then finished the game off with the last kick of the game as Everton poured forward in search of an equaliser.
It was a disappointing game that United edged, but it was a tough way to go out regardless.
Carlo Ancelotti stuck to his word and named a strong side. Seamus Coleman made his first start after nearly a month out with a hamstring injury in place of Mason Holgate. Andre Gomes and Robin Olsen also came in for Tom Davies and Jordan Pickford.
Everton’s start was frankly shocking. They were all over the place.
United forced a series of early corners that fortunately came to nothing. Coleman then did well to block a goalbound effort from Donny van de Beek from just inside the area.
Olsen nearly gifted Cavani a goal when he mis-controlled a back-pass, but luckily for the Swede he was able to clear at the second attempt.
Cavani then had two shots in quick succession blocked by the Toffees goalkeeper as the United forward line swarmed all over their blue counterparts.
Everton belatedly created an opportunity when Gylfi Sigurdsson waltzed past two United defenders in the area only to see his low shot blocked by Harry Maguire.
United were inches away from opening the scoring minutes later when Mason Greenwood met Alex Telles’ cross with a glancing header that clipped the outside of the post. Paul Pogba then sent a header straight at Olsen from yet another corner.
Everton had to wait 34 minutes to get an effort on target, a tame Dominic Calvert-Lewin header straight at Dean Henderson from a corner.
Henderson was called into action minutes later when he pushed away a Gyfli Sigurdsson free-kick. The Toffees were belatedly beginning to wake up.
Fernandes saw a free-kick from distanced saved by Olsen to close out the half, with the Toffees mightily fortunate to go into the break level after such a dismal start.
There was no VAR in this game. But if there was, Cavani probably would have been sent off.
The Uruguayan appeared to pinch Mina’s neck and force him to the floor. Referee Andy Madley missed the incident so all he did was give them a talking to.
Moments later Richarlison was completely taken out by Eric Bailly, though replays showed Fernandes had deliberately nudged the Brazilian into the Red Devils defender.
Richarlison took a blow to his head and ribs and looked dazed as he was helped from the field and replaced by Bernard. Another injury for Carlo to contend with.
The game really went downhill at that point. United still looked more dangerous, with Everton only fleetingly offering an attacking threat on the counter.
With no Richarlison there was no-one to carry the ball up field, meaning they struggled to get a grip on the game.
The only half-chance they had came from a diving header by Sigurdsson from Iwobi’s searching cross.
Minutes later, Cavani struck, and ended Everton’s cup hopes in typically heartbreaking fashion, with Martial’s late strike merely compounding the misery.