Man United, Tottenham advance to League Cup semifinals

Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial scored late goals as Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 to reach the semifinals of the English League Cup, joining Tottenham in the last-four lineup after its 3-1 win at second-division club Stoke on Wednesday.

If the competition used VAR, Cavani mightn’t have been on the field to put United ahead in the 88th minute after replays showed him grabbing the throat of Everton defender Yerry Mina midway through the second half of the quarterfinal match at Goodison Park.

As it was, the Uruguay striker was still around to take a pass from Anthony Martial, cut inside on his left foot and score with a low shot from the edge of the area.

Martial scored the second with virtually the last kick of the game on a counterattack.

Earlier, Jose Mourinho moved within two wins of leading Tottenham to its first major trophy since 2008.

Gareth Bale, Ben Davies and Harry Kane scored for Mourinho’s team in the win at Stoke.

Manchester City and Brentford, a team from the second-tier Championship, reached the semifinals on Tuesday. The draw takes place later Wednesday.

Mourinho was brought in by Tottenham last year to end the club’s long trophy drought and the League Cup, which he won with Chelsea — on three occasions — and Manchester United, has always been a title he targets. Each time Mourinho has reached the semifinals, he has gone on to win the competition.

He fielded a strong team at Stoke, which is seventh in the Championship, with Kane playing the full match amid a busy run of games in the Premier League.

Bale glanced in a cross from Harry Winks to give Tottenham the lead in the 22nd minute with his third goal since returning to the club in September for a second spell. The winger didn’t come out for the second half, having looked to be moving uncomfortably as he went off the field for halftime.

Jordan Thompson equalized for Stoke in the 53rd in a rare sight of goal for the hosts following a counterattack but Davies put Tottenham back in front with a fierce low drive from 25 yards (meters).

Kane clinched victory in the 81st by running onto Moussa Sissoko’s pass and smashing a rising shot into the roof of the net.

“It’s a cold, wet and windy Wednesday night at Stoke so it was tough,” Winks said, repeating an oft-used cliché about Stoke stretching back to when the club was in the Premier League and hard to beat at home.

“But we applied ourselves well, we were aggressive and ready to compete which made it a lot easier for us … the mentality of the team was to keep going and keep doing what got us into the lead and thankfully that got us the win.”

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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

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