Manchester rivals United and City will go head-to-head in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals after the draw was made last night.
Holders Manchester City secured their last-four spot after beating Oxford United 3-1, while neighbours Manchester United also progressed thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Colchester at Old Trafford.
Aston Villa, who thrashed Liverpool’s kids 5-0 at Villa Park on Tuesday, will face Leicester City in the other semi-final. Brendan Rodgers’s Leicester beat Everton on penalties in a pulsating encounter at Goodison Park last night.
Semi-final first legs will be played in the week commencing 6 January and the second leg three weeks later. Man Utd and Leicester will be at home first.
The prospect of a Manchester derby will delight tournament organisers after Liverpool were forced to play a youth team due to their involvement in the Fifa Club World Cup.
The last time the Manchester clubs met in the competition was in the fourth round in 2016, when United won 1-0. United also emerged triumphant when they played City in the 2010 semi-finals.
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Battle of the strikers
The derby cup fixtures have any number of intriguing sub-plots, not least of which is the clash between Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.
Both England stars are enjoying a rich vein of form with Rashford once again scoring for United last night. That takes his season tally to 14 in all competitions, his best return in a single campaign for the Red Devils.
But the 22-year-old still lags behind Man City rival Sterling, who scored twice against Oxford for his 17th and 18th goals of the season.
In all Sterling has found the net 33 times this calendar year for the Sky Blues, more than twice the 16 goals he scored in 2018.
Nonetheless the England marksman told Sky Sports that it’s not the goals that count. “It would not mean anything without silverware and then I’ll be happy with my goal tally after that,” said Sterling.
Carabao Cup semi-final draw
First-leg fixtures will take place the week commencing 6 January, and the second legs will be played the week commencing 27 January.