Man United 4-1 Burton Five Things: clinical Rashford

Rashford took his goals well –

Marcus Rashford scored a brace as Manchester United reached the last 16 of the EFL Cup with a 4-1 win over Burton Albion. Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial completed the rout to send out the Brewers, who mustered a late consolation through Lloyd Dyer. Here’s five main talking points from the match.

Burton’s bright start

The second-string Championship outfit had two shots in the first five minutes, but Luke Varney’s finish was tame after Matty Lund stole the ball and later Jamie Allen fired over. The latter’s half-chance was created by Dyer, the brightest performer early on for the away side, who looked to isolate Matteo Darmian against their left winger. He won a free-kick that Matty Palmer delivered into the six-yard box and Sergio Romero spilled with Tom Nayor lurking, but Manchester United escaped punishment. Varney then outpowered a shaky Victor Lindelof to tee up Joe Mason, who was unable to chip the goalkeeper.

Clinical Rashford

Unfortunately for the Brewers, those moments merely interrupted two well-taken goals from Marcus Rashford inside the first 17 minutes. After a good pass from Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard touched the ball on and with left-sided centre-back Ben Turner tucked too far inside, Rashford had the space to finish firmly beyond Connor Ripley. Hope Akpan was then guilty of backing off the striker, who grabbed his second with an excellent strike inside the near-post.

United’s control

The Red Devils grew in confidence after the second. Burton’s midfield wanted to push up but with the defence fearing the pace of Rashford and Anthony Martial, there was a yawning chasm between the units. Juan Mata utilized that space expertly, producing a number of clever through balls, one delightful Cruyff-esque turn. The Spaniard also had two close efforts, one of which hitting the post, another forcing a save from busy goalkeeper Ripley. It was slightly unfitting that, for all United’s dazzling play, their third goal came from a deflection, Lingard’s effort spinning off Turner and into the opposite corner.

Subs restricted the damage

Manchester United lost a little momentum in the second half, partly because they were happy to simply retain possession and partly because of the half-time withdrawal of Mata. Stephen Warnock shored things up at the back for Burton after coming on at the break but even he was beaten for pace for the fourth goal, Martial running onto Rashford’s through ball to slot home. The Frenchman could have had a hat-trick but for some stubborn defending from the impressive Tom Flanagan and a free-kick that hit the side-netting. Lucas Akins injected some pace into Burton’s play down the right and after United’s substitute goalkeeper, Joel Pereira, couldn’t gather a cross, Lloyd Dyer rammed the ball home.

In summary

The late consolation put a mild dampener on the evening for Jose Mourinho’s side, who conceded their first goal at Old Trafford in any competition since April. Burton meanwhile, have achieved their objectives from the competition. The club has earned extra revenue to aid their Championship survival bid whilst the team has experienced playing at a 75k seater stadium, bringing a memory or two back from it. It was an arduous evening for the Brewers, but Dyer’s late goal made that trip home to the East Midlands a little easier.