Man Utd stun rivals Man City to win FA Cup


Erik ten Hag put speculation over his future to one side by leading Manchester United to FA Cup glory with a stunning 2-1 victory over Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley.

Much of the build-up to the game had centred around Ten Hag’s future with reports on Friday suggesting United had decided to part company with the Dutchman regardless of the result in the showpiece final.

If it was to be his final match in charge, the United players gave him the ultimate send-off as first-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho, who pounced on a calamitous mix-up between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega, and Kobbie Mainoo left Pep Guardiola’s side stunned.

Alejandro Garnacho celebrates after scoring Manchester United's opening goal in the FA Cup final
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Garnacho celebrates after scoring Manchester United’s opener

Manchester City tried to find a way back into the game in the second half, but Erling Haaland’s strike rattled the crossbar before Andre Onana twice kept out long-range efforts from Kyle Walker. However, Onana couldn’t keep out substitute Jeremy Doku’s strike as City pulled a goal back in the 87th minute to set up a grandstand finish.

The City fans roared as seven minutes of stoppage time were announced by the fourth official, but it was United fans celebrating at the sound of the full-time whistle as their side held on to stop their rivals from becoming the first side to secure back-to-back league and FA Cup doubles.

FA Cup glory sees United add a second piece of silverware under Ten Hag, following up their Carabao Cup win from last season. It also sees Manchester United put a disappointing league season behind them by sealing Europa League qualification, but the question remains as to whether Ten Hag will lead them into next season.

Ten Hag on his Man Utd future: ‘I don’t know’ | Keane: Fingers crossed they support the manager

Erik ten Hag
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Erik ten Hag

When asked about his future after the game, Ten Hag said: “I don’t know. All I can do is prepare my team, develop my team, progress my team. This is a project. When I came in it was a mess, now we are better. But we are by far where we want to be.

“Football is about winning trophies. I want to play the best football. I want to play dynamic football. But you have to win games and trophies. That’s the mentality we’ve brought in. We only had one opportunity, the FA Cup and we did it. I’m so proud of the players and staff.”

Meanwhile, former Man Utd captain Roy Keane hopes the club back Ten Hag after the FA Cup win.

He said: “We don’t know if a decision has been made, we know the pressure the manager is under and the questions before the game. It’s always difficult when you are preparing for a cup final.

“In football you have to enjoy these moments, the staff, the players, the supporters. And then cross the bridge when it comes to it. The manager has done his job today. Beating Man City in a FA Cup final is an extra bonus. Fingers crossed they support the manager.”

Player ratings

Man City: Ortega (5), Walker (6), Stones (6), Ake (5), Gvardiol (5), Rodri (6), Kovacic (5), De Bruyne (5), B Silva (6), Foden (6), Haaland (6).

Subs used: Doku (7), Akanji (6), Alvarez (6).

Man Utd: Onana (7), Wan-Bissaka (8), Varane (9), Martinez (8), Dalot (8), Mainoo (9), Amrabat (8), McTominay (8), Fernandes (8), Garnacho (8), Rashford (8).

Subs used: Hojlund (6), Evans (6), Lindelof (n/a), Mount (n/a).

Player of the match: Kobbie Mainoo.

How Ten Hag led United to FA Cup glory…

In what was a breathless start to the game, Marcus Rashford looked to burst through on the Manchester City goal only to be denied by Walker, before the game’s first huge flashpoint came.

Bernardo Silva’s cross was aimed at Haaland, who appeared to be bundled over by Lisandro Martinez in the penalty area. Referee Andy Madley waved away the huge Manchester City appeals, and the check of the incident by VAR didn’t lead to a review in what was a big call so early on in the match.

Erling Haaland falls after a challenge by Lisandro Martinez
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Erling Haaland falls after a challenge by Lisandro Martinez

After that early scare, Manchester United settled into the game well. As expected, Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the ball, but United looked well drilled and poised to strike on the counter. The first shot on target in the game fell to Ten Hag’s side with Bruno Fernandes picking out Garnacho on the right, but the winger’s shot was straight at goalkeeper Ortega.

Manchester City were uncharacteristically sloppy with simple passes not finding their target, and it was a huge mix-up at the heart of the City defence which led to the opening goal of the game.

Team news headlines

  • Man City made three changes from the team that beat West Ham last weekend to win the Premier League. Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Jeremy Doku dropped to the bench, with John Stones, Nathan Ake and Mateo Kovacic into the XI.
  • Marcus Rashford returned to the Manchester United starting line-up for the first time since the semi-final win over Coventry a month ago. There was also a first start for Raphael Varane since the 4-3 loss to Chelsea on April 4. He partnered Lisandro Martinez in central defence, with Harry Maguire absent due to injury. Casemiro dropped out of the squad, a late withdrawal due to injury, with Amad Diallo dropping to the bench. Mason Mount was also among the substitutes.

Garnacho chased a routine ball over the top of the Manchester City defence before a calamitous mix-up between Gvardiol and Ortega allowed the Argentine winger to finish into an empty net. It’s a moment Gvardiol, who headed the ball over the onrushing Ortega, and the goalkeeper will want to forget.

The United celebrations got even louder just before the break as Mainoo’s strike extended the lead. Rashford started the move with a fine cross-field pass to Garnacho before Fernandes’ deft flick teed up Mainoo to send United into the break in dreamland.

Rodri tangles with Bruno Fernandes
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Rodri tangles with Bruno Fernandes

Guardiola reacted to City’s sluggish performance with a double change at the break as Manuel Akanji and Doku replaced Mateo Kovacic and Nathan Ake. The champions were looking for an instant response and they almost got one through Haaland, but his strike rattled the crossbar as United’s two-goal advantage stayed intact.

Guardiola was forced into another huge call as City looked for a way back into the contest, replacing the ineffective De Bruyne with Julian Alvarez with 56 minutes on the clock. The chances started to come for City but the goals didn’t follow. Andre Onana pulled off a stunning save to keep out Kyle Walker’s powerful effort before Alvarez poked wide of the far post to leave Guardiola with his head in his hands.

City eventually got a lifeline when Doku’s low shot squeezed past Onana late on but it proved to be just a consolation as United held on to win the FA Cup for a 13th time in their history.

‘When the players are fit we can play good football’

Erik ten Hag embraces Andre Onana after the final whistle
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Erik ten Hag embraces Andre Onana after the final whistle

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag:

“All compliments to the team. We played very good to our identity. Very strong. You have seen how we can play when we have the players on board. Some were not even match fit but the performance was very good.

“I tell you [media] this all year – when the players are fit we can play good football. A very good performance against the best team in the world.

“With a local rivalry it’s there and it’s much more important when you play a team from your own city. But for us it wasn’t about this, it was to prove a point after so many setbacks. The team showed so much resilience and I’m proud of them.”

On if criticism of his team has been unfair: “I think so. The team. Me as well. It was not right.

“But we didn’t have the players. We have seen the same things, not always good football – definitely not – but we had to make compromises all the time and then you can’t play the football you want to play.

“I had maybe three or four times in two years we had the full squad available. Even today we were missing massive players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Casemiro.”

Guardiola’s praise for Ten Hag

Man City boss Pep Guardiola:

“They have to take a decision [on Teg Hag’s future].

“I don’t know, but he is lovely person, an extraordinary manager, winning the FA Cup was important for them like it was for us last season.

“We talked, we hug each other, now we are sad, but we celebrate tomorrow what an incredible achievement we have done and we will come back. In football and life, you win and lose… in second half, we didn’t give up and kept going.”

Keane: A proper Man Utd performance

Goalscorers Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho celebrate after Manchester United take a 2-0 lead against Manchester City
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Goalscorers Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho celebrate after Manchester United take a 2-0 lead against Manchester City

Sky Sports’ Roy Keane speaking on ITV:

“It was amazing. A proper Manchester United performance.

“They were dogged, sat in and played some good football, scoring two goals. They had confidence from the past two games.

“I’ve been critical of Bruno [Fernandes] over the years, but I’ve been proven wrong, his leadership was outstanding. I’ve always mentioned how brilliant he is as a player.

Paul Scholes on Kobbie Mainoo via his Instagram

“Read a few comparisons between me and this kid last week… don’t waste your time, he is 10 times the player I was at 19. Just love the way he receives the ball, the calmness, the awareness of what’s around him and of course big goals in big games. This boy is special.”

“It’s been a frustrating few months and City weren’t at their best but it’s about Manchester United. You’ve got enjoy these moments.

“I’m really pleased for United. I had a funny feeling this morning that they’d turn up and win the cup. I can’t put my finger on but I’m delighted they have done it.

“The league form has to improve but you have to enjoy these moments. This is what you want when you play for Manchester United – you want more of it. There’s the expectation.”

skysports alejandro garnacho 6565613

It was such a huge task for Manchester United to come here and beat the champions and I thought they were absolutely fantastic. The resilience they’ve shown, the work rate, the effort, the desire to score goals. They deserved the victory.

Former Man Utd striker Wayne Rooney

‘It means everything after tough season’

Player of the match, Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo:

“[It means] absolutely everything. It’s been a tough season with ups and downs. This is the only thing we’ve had to look forward to. Last year I was in the stands.

“We knew we had to come together. The preparation for this game has been amazing. We’ve shown we can compete and win games.”

Analysis: Has Ten Hag given Ratcliffe a dilemma?

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

The build-up to the game was dominated by speculation over Erik ten Hag’s future, with one newspaper report going as far as to say the decision to sack him had already been made.

It would be no surprise if indeed part owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe had come to that conclusion. Manchester United’s eighth-placed finish was their worst in the Premier League era; their points total the lowest. It had been a desperately poor campaign.

But Ten Hag has at least given him pause for thought. The Dutchman is adamant it would have been different if not for their injuries. This victory, in which returning trio Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Marcus Rashford played key roles, offered some vindication.

Ten Hag can point to those circumstances, and a record of two trophy wins in two years. He can point to the development of Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho under his watch. But it remains to be seen whether there are too many red flags for Ratcliffe.

Pep: My game plan didn’t work

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After losing the FA Cup final to fierce rivals Manchester United, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola took responsibility for the result, blaming his tactics for their defeat.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola took the blame for Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat to Man Utd.

“First of all congratulations to Man Utd,” he told his post-match press conference. “My game plan wasn’t good. The second half was much better. We were more intense.

“The players know the reason why. Tactically it wasn’t good. You plan for a game and different positions, but it didn’t work. As always against United, we had control but, [not] like we did in the second-half, we couldn’t create.

Pep Guardiola reacts during the FA Cup final vs Man Utd
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Pep Guardiola reacts during the FA Cup final vs Man Utd

“We are disappointed today. It’s normal when a team loses the final, but this season has been extraordinary.

“We have challenged for all the trophies in a good way. We now need to rest and come back.”

What’s next?

The 2023/24 season has reached its conclusion but planning has already started for the new campaign.

Several Premier League sides have confirmed pre-season friendlies ahead of the 2024/25 term, which kicks off on the weekend of August 17/18, while others have given fresh kits an early airing.

The domestic season starts the previous weekend and marks the launch of Sky Sports +, giving more choice to sports fans via live streams and a new dedicated channel, at no extra cost. In a broadcasting first, every game in the Championship, League One and League Two will be streamed live on the opening weekend of the 2024/25 EFL season.

Stand by for another busy summer in the transfer window – clubs can do business from June 14 until August 30 and the Sky Sports Transfer Centre will keep you posted with all the latest news and rumours.

Euro 2024 is just weeks away, too. Keep track of England’s Euro fixtures, check out the full tournament schedule in Germany and join us on skysports.com



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