Nottingham Forest suffered a poor start to their Wembley dream as they faced a 3-0 Carabao Cup semi-final first leg loss to Manchester United.
Their struggles began early as the in-form England star Marcus Rashford netted following a superb break of pace past Joe Worrall and Remo Freuler down the left wing before placing the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to United.
Minutes later, Antony had another chance to double the visitors lead but his effort curled wide over the bar.
Despite United looking sharper, Forest had a blistering counter-attack with Morgan Gibbs-White squaring the ball to Sam Surridge who netted, only for VAR to rule his goal offside.
The Reds built some momentum after their disallowed goal, as they started to look much more dangerous with close chances from Gustavo Scarpa and Brennan Johnson.
United goalkeeper David De Gea made some terrific saves, though, to prevent an equaliser.
Another chance came for Forest as Brazilian midfielder Casemiro lost the ball and Brennan Johnson breezed past Lisandro Martinez, but his effort flew over the bar.
Although playing some good football, the Tricky Trees could not stop United as Wout Weghorst smashed in Antony’s saved shot making it 2-0 to United in the 45th minute.
Home debut ✅
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) January 26, 2023
After the break Danilo hit the target, but it was a tame effort that was no issue for De Gea.
A minute later, Christian Eriksen smashed the crossbar with a curling effort and Marcus Rashford’s follow-up shot was saved by Wayne Hennessey.
Forest didn’t give up in the early parts of the second half, with Gibbs-White looking electric as he stole the ball from Casemiro only to shoot over the crossbar.
United remained impressively calm on the ball, while both sides had headed chances in the latter moments of the game with Jesse Lingard and Weghorst guiding their attempts over.
Bruno Fernandes added a third for United in the closing minutes with a beautifully driven low shot to seal the tie.
It leaves Forest with a big job on their hands at Old Trafford on Wednesday night if they are to have any hope of making it to Wembley.
Forest Ratings: Hennessey (5), Aurier (5.5), Worrall (4.5), McKenna (5), Lodi (6), Freuler (5.5), Scarpa (6.5), Danilo (7), Gibbs-White (8), Johnson (6.5), Surridge (6.5)