22:01 10th January 2017
The Tigers have it all to do if they are to overcome Manchester United and make it through to the EFL Cup Final.
Second half goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini saw United win the first leg of the semi-final 2-0 at Old Trafford, despite a spirited display from Marco Silva’s side.
Silva made two changes to his starting eleven with Harry Maguire returning to replace the injured Michael Dawson, and Josh Tymon coming in for Jake Livermore who missed out through illness. Tom Huddlestone captained the side in the absence of Dawson. Tymon operated as a left winger, with Huddlestone filling in at centre half in a 4-4-1-1 system.
Injuries and illness meant that Silva could only name six of the permitted seven substitutes.
United made seven changes to their line-up, with David De Gea and Paul Pogba amongst those making a return.
Eldin Jakupovic was soon brought into the action, making his first save inside two minutes as we went low to his right to keep out Mata’s shot from 18 yards.
More early United pressure followed with Andy Robertson forced to make a timely intervention to deny Wayne Rooney at the far post.
Maguire was the first to threaten in attack for the Tigers, picking up possession inside his own half before dribbling past five men on his way to the edge of the United box. His final shot, a low right-footer, was easily saved by De Gea.
The Tigers lost Markus Henriksen to what looked like a nasty shoulder injury 16 minutes in, the Norwegian landing awkwardly after a challenge with Pogba.
Before Silva could get Abel Hernandez on in Henriksen’s place, United really should have taken the lead. Nice feet from Mata on the left allowed him to pull the ball back for Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the penalty spot but he could only fire wide when he probably should have done better.
The same player was off target again on 23 minutes, curling high and wide from the edge of the area.
Jakupovic just about managed to tip Pogba’s long-range effort over the bar after the midfielder tried to catch the goalkeeper out from a quick free kick before Marcus Rashford fired just over from 20-plus yards out.
Adama Diomande was inches away from opening the scoring when he sent a lovely header against the United woodwork after a Robert Snodgrass free kick had been flicked on to the back post, the ball rebounding back into play for United to clear.
Snodgrass offered De Gea an easy save with a low strike before Maguire was booked for a foul on Mkhitaryan.
Hernandez saw a near-post effort saved after latching on to a Snodgrass pass as the visitors became more of an attacking threat, although Jakupovic did have to make a save just before the break to keep out Pogba’s shot.
Despite the Tigers making a bright start to the second half, it was Rooney who had the first chance when he found space inside the penalty area before firing a shot across the face of goal and wide.
United opened the scoring eleven minutes into the second half. Antonio Valencia crossed deep from the right and when Mkhitaryan headed back across goal, Mata was there to convert from just a few yards out.
The home side threatened to add a quick-fire second as Mkhitaryan led a counter-attack, but he failed to select the right pass and the chance went begging.
Diomande sent an acrobatic volley over the bar after connecting well with David Meyler’s deep cross as the Tigers offered a response.
Meyler had to be alert at the other end moments later as he put in an important defensive header against substitute Anthony Martial at the back post.
Pogba was inches away from adding a United second with a 20-yard free kick against the post before Silva made his second change of the evening as Shaun Maloney replaced Diomande.
Maloney sliced horribly wide from 20 yards moments after coming on before United made it 2-0 three minutes from time. Matteo Darmian crossed to the far post where substitute Fellaini out-jumped Andy Robertson to loop a header over Jakupovic and beyond Huddlestone’s out-stretched leg on the goal-line.
Jakupovic prevented United adding a third when he saved from Martial, but the Tigers still have it all to do in the second leg at the KCOM Stadium later this month.
Manchester United: David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata (Marouane Fellaini 79), Wayne Rooney (Anthony Martial 59), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Jesse Lingard 71), Marcus Rashford.
Subs Not Used: Sergio Romero, Daley Blind, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Michael Carrick.
Hull City: Eldin Jakupovic, David Meyler, Harry Maguire, Tom Huddlestone, Andy Robertson, Markus Henriksen (Abel Hernandez 19), Ryan Mason, Sam Clucas, Josh Tymon (James Weir 90), Robert Snodgrass, Adama Diomande (Shaun Maloney 74).
Subs Not Used: David Marshall, Jarrod Bowen, Josh Clackstone.
Referee: Mr K. Friend.