16th April 2011 – Wembley Stadium
It had been 30 years since City last played an FA Cup semi-final, and on that occasion, the blues had defeated Ipswich Town 1-0 at Villa Park, thanks to a brilliant free-kick from Paul Power. City went on to lose the resulting final via a replay, but it was a different story in 2011.
The blues had taken a solitary point from the two league matches already played so far, and the previous season, the blues had lost three out of four derbies played against United, including a 4-3 aggregate defeat in the League Cup semi-final. United were favourites to go through, but City had other ideas.
However it was the reds who tried to take control of the game and Dimitar Berbatov, a supposed previous target for City, was responsible for two misses that ultimately cost his team a place in the final. City gave a away possession in their own half and the Bulgarian found himself clean through on the City goal, but keeper Joe Hart was quick off his line to dent the striker.
Nani then turned Pablo Zabaleta in the City defence inside out and put the ball on a plate for Berbatov, but the signing from Spurs skied his shot over the bar from two yards out, giving City a huge reprieve.
That was the best chance of the half for United, who then watched as City grew more into the game. David Silva’s produced some magic down the left. His ball into the box couldn’t be controlled by Mario Balotelli, but the ball fell for Gareth Barry, who turned and hit a shot into the side netting.
Balotelli hit a long range effort that Van Der Sar tipped away as the blues turned the screw. Joleon Lescott fired over the bar before Vincent Kompany fired just wide as City seemed more determined to send their fans back to Wembley.
And 7 minutes into the second half, blue dreams became a reality as City took the lead. Van Der Sar’s weak clearance only went as far as Silva, and although the Spaniard couldn’t control it, the ball found its way to Michael Carrick. His attempted pass was intercepted by Yaya Toure, who then charged forward, brushed off the challenge by Vidic and fired between the legs of Van Der Sar send the blues 1-0 up.
Lescott had another chance with a header soon after that goal but his attempt went wide of the post. The blues were nearly made to pay for that miss when Nani’s free kick hit the crossbar, but replays showed that the ball deflected off Balotelli and turned out to be a decent save by Hart.
With 17 minutes remaining, United’s misery was complete when Paul Scholes saw red for a high challenge on Zabaleta. And with Scholes went any chance of a United comeback as the bleus saw out the remaining minutes to send the fans wild in anticipation of a Cup Final against Stoke City or Bolton Wanderers, who would play the following day.
Final Score: Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United