Monday, July 15, 2024

Manchester City beat Manchester United to win FA Cup, close in on historic treble

Manchester City beat Manchester United
Manchester City celebrate during the FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, in London, on June 3, 2023 Image credit: Getty Images

LONDON, June 4: NEW DELHI: In a thrilling encounter at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, Manchester City emerged triumphant over their cross-town rivals Manchester United with a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup final. Ilkay Gundogan’s two-goal heroics ensured City’s domestic double and brought them one step closer to an unprecedented treble.
The stage was set for an explosive clash as the game kicked off, and it took just 12 seconds for Gundogan to etch his name in the record books, scoring the fastest goal in the history of FA Cup finals. A perfectly timed volley off a Victor Lindelof clearance left United goalkeeper Stefan Ortega helpless and gave City an early advantage.
Building on their early momentum, Pep Guardiola’s men dominated possession and dictated the pace in the first half. Their relentless pressure paid off when United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s header brushed against the arm of Jack Grealish inside the box. Following a VAR review, the referee awarded a penalty, which Bruno Fernandes confidently converted to bring United back on level terms.
Controversy ensued as City protested against the decision, and Guardiola expressed his frustration as VAR did not intervene earlier when Kevin De Bruyne was seemingly fouled inside the United penalty area. Despite the setback, City continued to assert their dominance, while United struggled to create meaningful chances.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with City once again making an immediate impact. Gundogan, showcasing his attacking prowess, found the back of the net from a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick, restoring City’s lead. David De Gea’s efforts to deny the shot proved insufficient, raising questions about his position as United’s first-choice goalkeeper.
City pressed for a third goal, with Gundogan coming close to completing his hat-trick. However, his strike was ruled offside after he turned in the rebound following a save from De Gea, denying Erling Haaland his 53rd goal of the season.
United launched a spirited comeback in the closing stages, with Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho narrowly missing opportunities to equalise. Deep into stoppage time, a goalmouth scramble saw the ball hit the City bar, but the Red Devils were unable to find the crucial goal.
With this victory, Guardiola secured his 11th major trophy as City boss and moved closer to an extraordinary achievement. Should City triumph over Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 10, they will become only the second team in history, after Manchester United in 1998/99, to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in the same season.
(ToI With inputs from AFP)