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Manchester United keeps win streak alive

Thursday, January 12, 2017

MANCHESTER: Jose Mourinho moved a step closer to a major trophy in his first season as Manchester United manager as goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini secured a first-leg victory over Hull City in the semi-final of the EFL Cup.

A near full-strength United struggled to break down resilient Hull in a first half in which the hosts had just two shots on target - Mata forcing a good save out of goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, who also tipped over Paul Pogba's long-range effort.

The visitors had chances of their own against a side who had won their eight previous games in all competitions, Robert Snodgrass causing problems from set-pieces.

However, Mata got the breakthrough just before the hour mark when he tapped in from Henrikh Mkhitaryan's knockdown.

Substitute Fellaini scored a second late on, heading in from Matteo Darmian's cross to put United in command heading into the second leg on 26 January.

Serious business for Mourinho
The League Cup represents a genuine opportunity for Mourinho to claim a major trophy to add to the Community Shield collected last summer.

He has named strong sides throughout the competition and it was no different against Hull as several first-team regulars, including Wayne Rooney, Pogba and David de Gea, started.

With Hull bottom of the Premier League and struggling badly with injuries - they could only name six substitutes - a first Tigers victory in 65 years at Old Trafford seemed unlikely.

They were given odds of 20-1 to win before kick-off and their prospects looked even more bleak when midfielder Markus Henriksen went off injured inside 20 minutes.

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