Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial struck late goals as Manchester United claimed a scrappy 2-0 victory over Everton at a bitterly cold Goodison Park on Wednesday to set up a League Cup semi-final with rivals Manchester City.
United wasted numerous opportunities in the opening stages. At times, the play was dire from both sides as the game appeared to be heading for penalties before Cavani collected the ball on the right wing, skipped inside onto his left foot and fired past Everton goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
Martial added a second with virtually the last kick of the game as the visitors now meet City for a place in the April 25 final, while Championship side Brentford take on Tottenham Hotspur in the other last-four clash.
Everton will feel aggrieved that the influential Cavani was still on the pitch after receiving only a verbal warning from referee Bobby Madley when he shoved Yerry Mina to the ground with his hands close to the Everton defender’s throat in an off-the-ball incident in the first half.
But with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) absent in this competition until the semi-final stage, there was no further action taken when replays showed Cavani was lucky to escape sanction.
United keep up their excellent record away from Old Trafford and are now unbeaten in 20 domestic games in all competitions, winning 18 of those.
The visitors dominated the early exchanges and put Everton under pressure with a succession of wasted chances, Cavani coming close twice.
Everton finally woke from their slumber as, roared on by 2,000 fans in Goodison Park, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Gylfi Sigurdsson both had efforts on goal that needed saving by United keeper Dean Henderson.
Elsewhere, a towering header from Casemiro and an added-time strike from Karim Benzema saw Real Madrid beat a stubborn Granada side 2-0 at home to notch a fifth consecutive La Liga victory and go level on points with leaders Atletico Madrid.