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Man Utd on course for League Cup final

Associated Press logo Associated Press 10/01/2017

Manchester United have closed in on the English League Cup final after beating injury-hit Hull 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final.

Juan Mata put United on course for a ninth straight win in all competitions by tapping home from close range in the 56th minute, before substitute Marouane Fellaini headed in a second in the 87th.

The second leg is on January 26, with Liverpool playing Southampton in the other semi-final, with the first leg on Wednesday.

United dominated throughout, unsurprisingly given the problems faced by an opponent which had an injury crisis so severe that it could only name six substitutes from a possible seven.

Things got worse for Hull at Old Trafford, with two players - Markus Henriksen and Josh Tymon - helped off with apparent shoulder injuries.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic absent because of illness, Wayne Rooney was given a start by United manager Jose Mourinho - handing the England captain another chance to break United's goal-scoring record he currently shares with Bobby Charlton (249).

Rooney had two chances to get sole ownership of the record, the first being blocked early on before he shot wide from a narrow angle in the 51st after being released by Paul Pogba's brilliant long pass.

He was substituted in the 59th minute, with his next chance coming in Sunday's Prmier League blockbuster against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

By the time Rooney had left the pitch, Mata had given United the lead - potentially from an offside position - and he couldn't really miss after meeting a header across the face of goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, following a right-wing cross from Antonio Valencia.

Defeat by a 1-0 scoreline would have been something of a success for Hull and its recently appointed manager Marco Silva, but Fellaini's far-post header from Matteo Darmian's cross, put United even more in control ahead of the second leg.

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