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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

He’s only Gundogan scored two goals to give City the Double and a priceless FA Cup final win

By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium


Manchester City 2 v Manchester United 1

City are just one match away from an historic-equalling treble as they deservedly beat noisy neighbours United 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium this afternoon.

To add to the double, Premier League champions City can now claim to have scored the fastest goal in a final at Wembley - 12 seconds through skipper Ilkay Gundogan. He also scored the winner after United equalised from the spot kick boot of Bruno Fernandes.

City face Inter Milan in the Champions League final, and if they win, they will hit parity with United who achieved the unique achievement in 1999.

United simply could not get their wide players to operate efficiently. They did the job by and large of negating City’s wing play, but the Blues had more creativity in midfield coupled with greater ability to hold the ball and dictate the tempo of the match.

United looked occasionally dangerous, mostly on the counter-attack, but there simply wasn’t enough of them and City’s victory was thoroughly deserved.

One hopes people were not too late getting to their seat as the fastest goal in FA Cup final history was made, when after just 12 seconds of the whistle being blown, City went ahead through a wonder volley by Gundogan, whose strike just outside the United penalty area wizzed past David De Gea before the stopper had time to adjust his eyes to the sunshine.

It beat the previous record of 25 seconds held by Everton’s Louis Saha against Chelsea in 2009.

Errand Haaland almost made it 2-0 on 17 minutes, latching into a defence-splitter by Gundogan, but his scuffed half-volley on the stretch was weak and the ball drifted to De Gea.

United made their first serious effort on goal on 24 minutes. Good set-up play saw the ball whipped into the penalty area and Marcus Rashford, was free. But his glancing header was wide of the mark.

The obligatory goalkeeper injury two minutes later allowed for a stop in play and both sides to rush to the sidelines to get an impromptu team talk.

The culprit this time, was De Gea, and it was hoped that tactics to overcome the 1-0 deficit could be passed on.

De Gea was fine, by the way.

Incredibly and after two minutes of continued play, VAR intervened and awarded United a penalty on 31 minutes when it was adjudged that Jack Grealish had handled the ball, coming up from an angle and going over his head and being knocked back by the head of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The ball hit Grealish’s arm, but was it intended, was the arm in an unnatural position?

Davide Coote in the VAR studio opted to give it a good look before instructing referee Paul Tierney to go to the monitor to have a look.

His finger pointed to the City penalty spot.

Up stepped Fernandes, who gave a little shuffle with his feet before sending Ortega the wrong way and United were level at 1-1.

There were no changes at half time by either club.

But another early start was just what City ordered and they got it, straight from the training ground on 51 minutes. A regulation free-kick by Kevin De Bruyne on the right touchline, in line with the United six-yard box, saw the Belgium maestro curl the ball back to the outside on the penalty area.

There again was Gundogan with another volley. This time a left-footer that despite it’s lack of power was enough to go straight to the edge of De Gea’s right post and then just inside.

A question mark about the goalkeeper’s ability to keep the ball out will be asked, but the sheer audacity of the effort warrants greater appreciation. De Gea thwarted De Bruyne on 62 minutes kicking away his on-target left-footer.

The first change saw ineffectual Christian Eriksen replaced by Alejandro Garnacho for United.

Gundogan thought he had notched his hat-trick on 72 minutes, latching onto the rebound after De Gea hacked out Haaland’s shot. The German tucked the ball away comfortably from close range but was clearly offside.

Garnacho was inches away from an equaliser two minutes later, but his low, right-footed curler just went the wrong side of Ortega’s left upright.

City opted to bring on Phil Foden on 76 minutes, off went De Bruyne.

United responded by replacing Jadon Sancho with Wout Weghorst. Then it was Lindelof who existed the pitch and Scott McTominay coming on.

City replied with Grealish going off and Nathan Ake shoring up the defence.

A late scare at the City end which saw the crossbar being hit and a last-gasp clearance for a corner did not alter the destiny of the trophy which will be heading back up the M6 and then turning into the Blue half of the City.

City: Ortega, Walker, Dias, Stones, Gundogan, Haaland, Grealish, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Silva, Akanji

Subs: Ederson, Phillips, Ake, Laporte, Alvarez, Mahrez, Foden, Palmer, Lewis

United: De Gea, Lindelof, Fernandes, Eriksen, Fred, Casemiro, Varane, Shaw, Sancho, Wan-Bissaka

Subs: Butland,,Maguire, Malacia, Dalot, Weghorst, Pellistri, Elanga, McTominay, Garnacho

Referee: Paul Tierney


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