Stoke City 0 Manchester United 2 match report: Patrice Evra and Ashley Young supply the thunder as United reach semi-finals amid dreadful weather

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Conditions can't stop David Moyes' men setting up meeting with Sunderland

THE BRITANNIA STADIUM

It was a night when bad weather briefly stopped play but a night, moreover, when Manchester United’s season may just have gained some precious momentum.

On a night when a freakish hailstorm led to the teams briefly departing the field in the first half, United came alive in the second as they won through to their 13th Capital One Cup semi-final thanks to goals from Ashley Young and Patrice Evra.

The consequence is that David Moyes now finds himself just one step from his first final as United manager, in a competition where he was a losing semi-finalist with Everton in 2008. The Capital One Cup may not rank high on the list of priorities at Old Trafford but victory in this competition in the 2006 was the springboard for Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to go on and land the big prizes with United and a winnable semi-final against Sunderland means Moyes could go into the spring boosted by his first silverware.

It was not pretty, understandably given the conditions, but it was a victory embellished by two spectacular strikes. The first by Young after 62 minutes was the winger’s first in a United shirt in 19 months and offered a reminder of the talent that has earned him 30 England caps.

Young, starting in place Adnan Januzaj, picked up a short free-kick from Tom Cleverley just inside Stoke’s half and headed to goal. He fed a pass to Javier Hernandez and when the ball came back to him off the Mexican struck a ferocious 25-yard shot which simply had too much power for Thomas Sørensen as it flew past him. The frenzied celebrations with the United fans behind the goal that followed showed just what it meant to him after a difficult period in his career.

“The goals were really good,” said Moyes. “Ashley Young took his goal really well. He has got the ability to score, we see it in training. He needed the goal for himself.” After a bizarre early incident when he went down under a nudge from Geoff Cameron and then ended up wrestling with Jonathan Walters, Young let his football talk for him. “Tonight he got kicked a few times and went down and got back up and got on with it,” added Moyes. “He has showed he can come in and make an impact.” Evra’s 78th-minute coup de grace was almost as good as Young’s, the left-back collecting a pass from the winger and curling a superb right-foot shot into the far corner.

Stoke had not  beaten United in any competition since 1993 but they had lost only once at home this season before last night and the usual difficulty of a trip to the Britannia was enhanced by the weather.

Indeed the first half was all about the weather. Never mind the popular question about Lionel Messi’s ability to do it on a cold night in Stoke – in the 29th minute, as the driving rain turned to hailstones, whipped around wildly by the wind, referee Mark Clattenburg decided that not even Stoke could manage it and called both sides off.  Both managers defended the unusual course of action. “At the time the referee probably make the right decision, he claimed couldn’t see through the hailstones,” said Moyes. Mark Hughes, the Stoke manager, added: “You have to accept he couldn’t see anything to make a decision.”

At that point, United had forced the only save of note with Anderson’s low shot held by Sørensen. For Anderson, anchoring the midfield alongside Phil Jones, it was the first start since September.  Danny Welbeck was another player with something to prove after Moyes’s words that he needed to emulate Wayne Rooney’s appetite for hard work in training. He set up Young for an early shot into the side-netting but his display overall will leave Moyes hoping Rooney, absent with a groin strain, will be back for Saturday’s home fixture against West Ham. “He’s got a chance,” said Moyes.

Moyes sent on a second striker in the 57th minute as Hernandez replaced Anderson and after Welbeck had looped a header over from a Young corner, the breakthrough came with Young’s strike.

Walters should have had an equaliser, failing to make contact with Eric Pieters’s cross into the six-yard box but that was as good as it got for the home side as Ryan Shawcross limped off with a groin injury, and Evra struck the second.

Moyes would not say it but the presence of Sunderland in the semi-finals was a final piece of good news, meaning United avoided neighbours Manchester City. As for the possibility of an all-Manchester final, the Scot played a straight bat. “I’d like to see Manchester United in the final,” he said as a stormy night ended with a welcome shaft of light.

Man of match Young.

Match rating 6/10.

Referee M Clattenburg (Co Durham).

Attendance 25,928.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003