Wayne Rooney missed a gilt-edged chance to break Manchester United's goal-scoring record as Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini made sure of a 2-0 win over Hull City in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg.
Manchester United 2-0 Hull City
Manchester United beat Hull City 2-0 to take a slender advantage into the second leg of its EFL Cup semi-final but Wayne Rooney's wait to become his club's outright all-time top scorer goes on.
United probed without reward in the first half as it was thwarted by a diligent and well-organised Tigers outfit, playing for the second time under Jose Mourinho's compatriot Marco Silva.
Juan Mata went closest during the opening period for the hosts and, as he did in the fourth round against Manchester City, the Spain playmaker brought Old Trafford to its feet with the opening goal after half-time.
Rooney pulled level with Bobby Charlton on 249 United goals during Sunday's (AEDT) 4-0 FA Cup triumph over Reading and fired agonisingly wide five minutes before Mata's 56th-minute breakthrough.
The England captain was taken off shortly afterwards, and he watched substitute Marouane Fellaini add a late second in the knowledge his next tilt at the record should arrive when United hosts bitter rival Liverpool on Monday (AEDT).
Playing behind an injury ravaged Hull side, visiting goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic plunged to his right to make a superb save after Mata swept left-footed towards the bottom corner in the second minute.
Andrew Robertson got there first as Marcus Rashford dragged a shot across the Hull box and Rooney lurked, sniffing the landmark.
Hull was forced into an early change as Markus Henriksen suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder after a challenge with Paul Pogba to further compound its fitness woes.
Before replacement Abel Hernandez was ready to take to the field United should have taken a 19th-minute lead – Henrikh Mkhitaryan side-footing wide from 10 yards, having been picked out by Juan Mata.
The same duo combined for Mkhitaryan to curl over, while Jakupovic's handling did not convince when he patted a long-range drive from Pogba behind.
United was largely limited to attempts from a similar proximity as Mourinho left the touchline during first-half stoppage-time with the deadlock still intact.
Rooney's moment looked to have arrived six minutes into the second half – Pogba picking out the England captain in the right channel with a wonderful raking pass, only for him to smash just past the far post.
Maguire got himself in the way of a Pogba shot before United's nagging pressure found a way through.
Mkhitaryan rose to head Antonio Valencia's delivery back across goal and a tight offside call fell in Mata's favour for him to volley home from close range.
The fourth official's board then informed Rooney history would have to wait for another day and Hull suggested its resolve was still intact as Adama Diomande thumped an overhead kick off target in the 65th minute.
In the build-up to the match, Pogba urged United to "finish the tie" at Old Trafford and he almost took a step towards doing just that when his 73rd-minute free-kick rattled the inside of Jakupovic's left post.
Nevertheless, the odds will remain heavily stacked in United's favour when the sides meet again at the KCOM Stadium in 16 days, after the often-maligned Fellaini towered at the back post to convert Matteo Darmian's cross before dashing towards the dugout to embrace his manager.