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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

United perform the great escape to reach FA Cup final after going 3-0 up, pegged back to 3-3 before inching a penalty shoot out victory over Coventry

By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium


Coventry City 3 v Manchester United 3

(United win 4-2 on penalties after extra time)

You know that classic war film The Great Escape – well, I know it didn't work out well for the likes of motorcyclist prison escapees Steve McQueen, James Garner and a few giants of the Silver Screen but it feels that Manchester United have just experienced what was the football equivalent of the great escape.

They reached the FA Cup final is the most dramatic of fashion winning a penalty shoot-out at Wembley but that was just the sideshow.

They went 3-0 up and then capitulated in spectacular fashion as plucky Championship outfit Coventry City fought back to level the score at 3-3 before taking it to extra-time.

Both sides had chances to win it in the added 30 minutes, but it wasn't to be. City even had a winner disallowed by VAR with seconds left.

Casemiro missed the first spot kick to offer the greatest comeback in FA Cup semi history. But two misses meant ghat it was striker Rasmus Hojlund's job to finish it off – he did

Manchester United dominated the opening period of the game,with Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford both having more than good efforts on goal.

Both were shy of the clinical nature required to breach a resolute defence, set up by Mark Robins' Coventry.

Alejandro Garnacho flashed a long-ranger over the goal on 22 minutes, an example of the creeping frustration building up within the United side.

But the goal that did come, on 24 minutes came from the red half of the pitch with Scott McTominay sliding in from close range to tuck the ball home.

The remainder of the half saw City have a late spirt as United's intensity subsided.

Josh Eccles bulldozed his way past Aaron Wan-Bissaka, his shot went past Onana but Diogo Dalot made a goal-line clearance that prevented Ellis Simms, who was sliding in, from scoring.

Rashford almost double U United's score on half-time when he blasted the ball towards goal – Collins produced a sensational save to fingertip the ball over the crossbar.

Fernandes took the corner and harry Maguire powered home a fierce header to make it 2-0

There were no changes by either side at half time, but it was normal service resumed with United on top.

Fernandes was unlucky to see his right-footed curler inch over Collins's crossbar three minutes in.

But he had better luck 58 minutes when, after a Rashford run and shot was blocked, the Portugal midfielder picked the ball up and tried his luck with a low, left-footer and it worked as it got underneath the body of Collins and put United 3-0 up.

IT had followed a little bit of attacking pressure from City.

And they were rewarded with 20 minutes left to play.

MilanVan Ewijk was building up some good work on the right and he managed to get a cross in which Simms met with a fine right-footed half-volley which zipped past Onana and in to the corner of his net to pull a goal back for City.

Sensationally, on another break started by Ellis, City scored again when Callum O'Hare chanced his arm from range. While the ball was hading towards goal, it took a massive deflection off the back of Wan-Bissaka and looped and curled over Onana to reduce the deficit to just one.

Substitute Victor Torp almost equalised with a thunderous volley from just outside the United area. This time, Onana who up to then had tried to time-waste produced and acrobatic save of the highest quality to parry the ball over the crossbar.

Onana was yellow-carded seconds later for another bit of time-wasting.

I credibly with three minutes of the six added on taken, City were awarded a penalty when Wan-Bissaka, with his right arm extended saw the ball hit him and referee Robert Jones pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Haji Wright to take the kick and scored, sending Onana the wrong way and bringing the game level in spectacular fashion.

An error by Bobby Thomas set United off on a counter which saw Fernandes rattle the City crossbar with a fantastic 25-yarder.

A quick break by City with eight minutes left saw Wright try an angled left-footer but he screwed the ball wide.

City then hit the crossbar themselves when Simms held off a challenge from Maguire, turned on a sixpence and lashed the ball towards goal. But it smacked off the woodwork and was cleared.

A swinging half-hearted shot by Antony sailed high and wide of Collins crossbar as penalties looked to be looming with two minutes left of extra-time.

But another twist came with just seconds left when Torp slide the ball home from close range to make it 4-3 to City.VAR then intervened to give United the great escape by viewing that Wright, the supplier of the killer ball was just offside.

Thousands of United fans had already left the stadium when the ref blew the final whistle to bring about a penalty shoot out.

The penalties were to be taken at the end of the United fans.

United took the first through Casemiro

Casemiro missed – saved by Collins 0-0

Wright scored 1-0

Dalot scored 1-1

Torp scored 2-1

Eriksen scored 2-2

O'Hare missed saved 2-2

Fernandes scored 3-2

Sheaf missed -skied it over bar 3-2

Hojlund scored 4-2

Teams: Coventry City: Collins, Thomas, Simms, O'Hare, Wright,Sheaf, Kitching, Bidwell, Latibeaudiere, Van Ewijk, Eccles

Subs: Wilson, Binks, Dasilva, Kelly, Allen, Godden, Torp, Tavares, Andrews

Manchester United: Onana, Maguire, Fernandes, Rashford, Hojlund, Garnacho, Casemiro, Dalot, Wan-Bissaka, Mainoo, McTominay

Subs: Bayindir, Eriksen, Diallo, Antony, Forton, Amass, Ogunneye, Jackson,Wheatley

Referee: Robert Jones


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