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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Wembley Stadium

Cup Final is City's as blue corner of Manchester continues to dominate : Wembley talking points



Manchester City are just one game away from completing the Treble after beating neighbours United 2-1 at Wembley. A double from Ilkay Gundogan got the job done, with a controversial Bruno Fernandes penalty in between keeping things interesting.

A memorable season is close to the perfect finale for Pep Guardiola's all-conquering side.

We take a look at the main talking points from the 190th Manchester derby - the first meeting between the two clubs in the end-of-season showpiece.




Defeat more than just about missing out on domestic double for United fans


It is the ultimate nightmare for United fans. Missing out on a piece of silverware makes no difference to their sense of upward mobility under new management. They won the Carabao Cup earlier in the year and have qualified for next year’s Champions League. What will hurt most is the identity of the team defeating them. Their great city rivals lived in United’s shadow for so long, especially during the Fergie years, but this result was a reminder that the tide which turned in 2013 does not look like turning back any time soon. And, of course, they now have the added horror of seeing City move a step closer to a Treble that only their team have previously achieved. Only a win for Inter in Istanbul next weekend will save them from the scenario they have increasingly dreaded.


That penalty decision


United needed a lifeline after enduring a torrid start to the game. Conceding so early on left them with a feeling that there was a mountain to climb as City hogged possession. Few would have predicted level pegging at the break, but ten Hag’s men got lucky when VAR official David Coote persuaded referee Paul Tierney to review the incident where a twisting, turning Jack Grealish brushed the ball with a raised arm as he tussled with Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It was an unbelievable harsh decision, appearing totally accidental and unavoidable, but it got United back into the game after they had been under the cosh in that opening half hour.


Haaland


Racing back into defence to make a headed clearance. Taking the ball into the corner at the death to wind down the clock. The Norwegian did not make the dramatic eye-catching impact to complement his extraordinary season but Pep will have loved his commitment to the cause. Raphael Varane played him superbly and there were only a couple of half chances for City’s striker, but the work ethic was impressive and United could never afford to relax. All of City persuasion will be hoping he has saved something special for Istanbul next week.


United missed Antony


United needed width on the break to trouble City and it was not until Christian Eriksen was sacrificed for Alejandro Garnacho midway through the second half that United began to offer a greater threat. The Argentinian seems to have the right sort of confidence/arrogance that goes with the expectations placed on players in that famous position at Old Trafford. The injured Antony probably would have got United on the front foot more, albeit within the framework of a conservative set-up from Erik ten Hag that was aimed at containing City, first and foremost. United defended well for the most part and their high pressing was only consistently overcome well into the second half.



City need Gundogan to stay


If the Man City skipper does leave the Etihad in the summer, it will be a huge blow for City. His Wembley double was just the latest example of his uncanny ability to score on the big occasions. He has been a great leader as well as a great player and now has a piece of Wembley history to add to his CV – having scored the fastest ever FA Cup final goal – his 13 seconds beating the 25 seconds Louis Saha took to score for Everton against Chelsea in 2009. The German hovers in dangerous spaces and it was no surprise that he was the man to get City back in front after the controversial penalty equaliser. An easy choice for man of the match.

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