Marcus Rashford’s brace proved the difference as Chelsea exited the Carabao Cup at the round-of-16 stage on Wednesday with a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United that saw Frank Lampard’s side’s seven-game winning streak come to an end.
The England international calmly sent Willy Caballero the wrong way from the spot on 25 minutes before Michy Batshuayi levelled the scores with a fine solo effort shortly after the hour mark. But Rashford’s magnificent free kick 12 minutes later — worthy of winning any match — secured a hard-fought victory for the visitors, who booked their place in the quarterfinals.
Chelsea started the game strongly and tested the United back line early on, drawing a series of corners. The Blues played with increased intensity after the break, which led to swings in momentum until Rashford’s free kick, and Batshuayi’s sensational equaliser was a thing of real beauty.
Lampard will be disappointed by Paul Tierney’s decision to award the visitors a penalty when Daniel James dropped at the slightest of touches from Marcos Alonso, but he’ll be equally frustrated by the Spaniard’s silly challenge that arguably cost his side a quarterfinal place. The hosts were equally poor at the other end for large spells and failed to muster a shot on target in the first half.
Manager rating out of 10
5 — Inspired by the fine performances of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, Lampard offered starts to teenage trio Billy Gilmour, Marc Guehi and Reece James. You have to admire the manager’s backing of his young talent, but his side lacked a creative head in midfield, as Gilmour found it tough to find his feet, though Guehi and James showed glimpses of their potential.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 the best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 6 — Sent the wrong way by Rashford’s penalty but otherwise endured a quiet first half. Easily kept out Jesse Lingard’s ambitious effort with a routine save but was given absolutely no chance by Rashford’s world-class free kick.
DF Reece James, 6 — Had to do his fair share of defending in the first half but did so effectively. The young defender was able to provide more attacking support after the interval as Chelsea moved up through the gears.
DF Kurt Zouma, 5 — Thankful that James missed the target after his fluffed clearance went straight to the United man on the edge of the box. Not his most commanding display, but he did well to halt the run of James when the United man threatened to race away.
DF Marc Guehi, 6 — The youngster stood up well to Lingard as United looked to counter, showing excellent composure in his penalty area before stabbing the ball away from danger. That set the tone for the battle, and he had the better of the England man all night.
DF Marcos Alonso, 5 — Conceded the cheapest, albeit softest, of penalties when he was adjudged to have fouled James with an uncharacteristically naive challenge. Improved as the game unfolded and would have claimed an assist had Hudson-Odoi properly connected with his inviting cross.
MF Billy Gilmour, 5 — The 18-year-old was happy to pick up the ball in his own half and showed excellent strength to hold off Fred and win a free kick for his side. Struggled to influence the game and was replaced by Mason Mount in the 70th minute.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 — The Croatia international produced a lovely turn on the halfway line before his impressive, surging run forward eventually came to nothing. Another important, battling performance from the industrious midfielder.
MF Jorginho, 5 — Endured a quiet first-half display. Looked to have unleashed Christian Pulisic with a delightful ball over the top, but the U.S. international was penalised for controlling the ball with his arm.
FW Christian Pulisic, 4 — Had minimal influence after his heroics against Burnley. Saw more of the ball after half-time but could only drag his best opportunity wide of Sergio Romero’s right-hand post from the edge of the box.
FW Michy Batshuayi, 7 — Levelled the scores with a fantastic effort. The Belgian picked the ball up on halfway and showed immense strength to hold off Harry Maguire before arrowing a superb finish into the bottom-right corner. That was also Chelsea’s first shot on target.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 7 — Chelsea always looked at their most dangerous with Hudson-Odoi in possession. The young forward should have levelled the scores but could only tickle Alonso’s dangerous cross past the post before his lovely dipping effort dropped just over Romero’s crossbar.
MF Mason Mount, 6 — Replaced Gilmour in the 70th minute as Lampard looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck in midfield. Teed up Kovacic as Chelsea hunted for an equaliser, but the Croatian fired high and wide.
FW Pedro, 5 — Replaced a quiet Pulisic in the 70th minute. Didn’t really contribute too much positively or negatively.
FW Tammy Abraham, N/R — Replaced Batshuayi in the 75th minute as Chelsea looked to save the tie but didn’t manage to conjure up a clear opportunity.