Manchester United stuns rival City in FA Cup final

manchester united stuns rival city in fa cup final

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LONDON — Manchester United won the FA Cup after stunning defending champion Manchester City 2-1 in the final at Wembley on Saturday.

United’s first silverware of the season deprived crosstown rival City of the first back-to-back English league-cup doubles. United also qualified for the Europa League next season.

The final was a repeat of last year’s which City won 2-1, and Pep Guardiola’s team did not give up its trophy without a fight.

Alejandro Garnacho opened the scoring in the 30th minute after mistakes from City defender Josko Gvardiol and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

Kobbie Mainoo then added a second goal in the 39th to spark passionate celebrations from manager Erik ten Hag, whose job was under intense scrutiny going into the final.

United was in control at halftime but City piled the pressure on in the second half and eventually got back into the game through substitute Jeremy Doku’s long range shot into the bottom corner in the 87th.

By that point Erling Haaland had hit the bar, Kyle Walker had forced goalkeeper Andre Onana into two outstretched saves, and substitute Julian Alvarez missed the target from close range with only the keeper to beat.

It is United’s 13th FA Cup, one behind Arsenal’s record of 14. And it is Ten Hag’s second trophy in as many years at the club after winning the League Cup last year.

Players and staff embraced him on the field after the final whistle as the Dutchman managed to end a troubled campaign on a high.

Watching on were the United co-owners, Americans Joel and Avram Glazer and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.

Speculation about Ten Hag’s future dominated the buildup and it was widely anticipated he would lose his job regardless of the result after overseeing United’s worst league season in 34 years.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team and winning the cup,” he said before kickoff.

It was a very different story for City. After becoming the first English team to win four titles in a row, it was aiming to set a new benchmark by completing back-to-back doubles. City’s parade in Manchester on Monday to celebrate the historic league success will not include the FA Cup.

City dominated possession in the first half but United posed the more threatening attacks and took the lead through Garnacho.

The Argentine winger sparked panic in City’s defence when chasing onto a hopeful punt from Diogo Dalot deep in his half. Gvardiol was quicker to the ball, but his headed back pass went over the onrushing City goalkeeper Ortega to leave Garnacho with an open net to tap home.

If that goal benefited from luck, United’s second came from a slick attack, with Garnacho at the heart of it again when cutting in from the right wing and playing in Bruno Fernandes.

The United captain hit a first-time no-look pass to Mainoo, who coolly slotted past Ortega.

“It’s been a tough season with ups and downs. This is the only thing we’ve had to look forward to,” Mainoo said. “We knew we had to come together. The preparation for this game has been amazing. We’ve shown we can compete and win games.”

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