Manchester City beats Manchester United in the FA Cup to maintain its quest for historic ‘treble’


Wembley, London

Perfection can come in many forms and be interpreted in different ways. Manchester City have produced more impressive performances under Pep Guardiola this season. There have been matches where the team has scored more and created more – yet City’s ability to dominate their opposition, to do enough to win when it matters, is as perfect as a football. Gets on the pitch. That’s why this team continues to chase history this season.

As the 2-1 scoreline would suggest, this FA Cup match between bitter rivals City and Manchester United was a tense affair. Victory was never a foregone conclusion for the blue side of Manchester. United had chances, yet City had composure, knowledge, class.

Two goals from captain Ilkay Gundogan – in the first 12 seconds after scoring the fastest goal in FA Cup history – sealed a victory that gave City their second trophy of the season and the team’s bid for the Premier League ‘treble’. Retained, FA Cup and Champions League.

Wembley this Saturday, Istanbul next Saturday where City can become only the second English club to win all three major trophies in one season if they beat Inter Milan in the Champions League final. What other club has achieved this feat? Manchester United in 1999, which helps explain why this was no ordinary FA Cup final.

For a competition that has lost its luster over the years, the plot lines woven into this match brought this oldest of cup ties to the forefront of English football: the first FA Cup final between these two city rivals, a self-defence. wanted to do Legacy, a second knowing victory would be a defining victory during an era in which it has dominated English football.

Yet for all Pep Guardiola’s achievements with City, the Premier League was wrapped up a few weeks ago for a fifth title in six seasons, and it was the second FA Cup – and 11th trophy in total – in his seven-year tenure. City have never won the Champions League. It is the trophy that the club craves the most.

Such is the caliber of the squad assembled by Guardiola, it is the favorite to win in Istanbul. After the defeat, United manager Erik ten Hag described Guardiola’s side as the best in the world and few would argue with that claim.

Only Inter Milan can now stop City from playing for immortality, making this defeat particularly bitter for United and its fans.

“Now we can talk about the treble,” Guardiola told reporters after the match.

Guardiola said before the match that United were a dangerous opponent because the club’s legacy was on the line, with past achievements to defend. Yet, while United were once the most ruthless collectors of trophies in English football, dominated during those golden years under Alex Ferguson, this is the era of Guardiola’s City.

United still have global appeal, which City are yet to match, and the team has improved under manager Ten Hag – it is now more consistent, qualifying for next season’s Champions League and the league earlier in the season. The cup is to be won.

Although United had only three shots on target during the match, the Dutchman told reporters afterwards that he was happy with his side’s performance and “on another day we could have won this game.”

“I have only one plan and that is to improve this club and improve this team,” he added. “I will fight for it. I have my thoughts, but also, like I said, I have to work with my staff, my players, I have to be better next season.

But the truth is that United have a lot to do to be a match for a City team that has been above it in the league for the past 10 years. Arguably, there is a lot more to be done for Ten Hag to turn United into a team that can compete with City for the title next season.

It looked as if the gulf would be clear in the final scoreline of this match when City took a commanding lead, silencing the red half of the stadium on a sunny afternoon in London.

The strains of the national anthem had yet to fully reverberate through the ether when City captain Gundogan produced a moment of skill that will live long in the memory, putting City ahead with a stunning volley from outside the box less than a minute later. put

David De Gea (left) tries to save Gundogan's second goal.

The move started with goalkeeper Stefan Ortega whose long kick was flicked on to Kevin De Bruyne by Erling Haaland. The Belgian found Gundogan and the ball was in the back of the net before the United defense could calibrate.

City threatened to break loose after that – Haaland twice went close, while De Bruyne also targeted the overworked David De Gea – but fortune favored United in the 33rd minute.

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) deemed that Jack Grealish had handled the ball in the penalty area, allowing Bruno Fernandes to calmly side-foot home the equalizer in a match that was threatening to go one way. .

But just like in the first half, City exploded into action after the break – Gundogan again putting Guardiola’s side ahead. It was another volley and although it scored less for artistic merit than its debut, its significance should not be underestimated as it not only completed the league and FA Cup double for the second time in the club’s history, But it kept City on course. For greatness.

After 20 minutes, Gundogan thought he had scored a hat-trick only to have his goal ruled out for offside but in the end, it didn’t matter.

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