Manchester City’ treble dream continues as Ilkay Gundogan’s double won the FA Cup for the blues. Gundo scored the fastest ever gal in the FA Cup Final, burying a strike after just 12 seconds, before hitting home the winner five minutes after the break. Bruno Fernandes had levelled for the Stretford Rangers on 33 minutes from the penalty spot after Jack Grealish was harshly judged to have handled in the area.
In the first-ever all-Manchester final, City were looking to secure the FA Cup for the seventh time and was next on the list as City search for the elusive European treble to go with the three domestic trophies they won in 2019. United, meanwhile, were aiming to prevent City from matching their own treble triumph in 1999 and secure their second trophy of the season in the process.
In the end, it was City who marched on in their quest, but it wasn’t without putting the fans at a packed Wembley through hell first.
The blues made several changes from the team that lost 1-0 at Brentford last weekend, restoring Gundogan, Grealish, John Stones, Erling Haaland, Rodri and Bernardo Silva to the starting line-up.
And it was Mr Whippy himself that opened the scoring with a stunning striker with not even 15 seconds on the clock. Ortega received the ball straight from the kick-off and launched it upfield towards Haaland. The Norwegian flicked it on and United attempted to clear under pressure. The ball fell kindly for Gundo who hit a first-time volley that flew past David de Gea to give City a perfect start.
The blues threatened to blow their City neighbours away, with Rodri heading inches wide from a Kevin de Bruyne free-kick and Haaland firing narrowly over. Despite United having a fair amount of possession, they rarely looked like threatening the City goal.
The first talking point came when Casemiro and Akanji clashed, with the referee siding with the United man. On closer inspection, the Brazilian had no intention of playing the ball and, despite VAR taking a look, couldn’t see what everyone watching could.
On 33 minutes, United were given the chance to level from the penalty spot after Grealish handled in the area. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross flicked the hand of a jumping Grealish and, after a VAR check, referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot. Ortega went the wrong way and United were back on terms, with Fernandes running to celebrate in front of the hordes of City fans.
That goal changed the shape of the game and United pressed for a second. City should also have had a penalty of their own when de Bruyne was brought down in the box, but play continued.
1-1 at half-time and everything to play for, City’s hopes for a double and subsequent treble lay finely balanced.
Whatever Pep Guardiola said during the interval worked a treat as the blues started the half on fire, and within five minutes, City were back in front. A free-kick on the right, needlessly given away by Fred, gave de Bruyne the opportunity to swing the ball into the penalty area.
But, the Belgian is no stranger to not doing what is expected of him, instead, finding Gundogan on the edge of the area. The German adjusted and hit a left-foot shot through the crowd of red shirts and beyond the despairing dive of de Gea.
The fans behind that goal went wild as City got their lead back and the blues went in search of more goals to finish United off. De Bruyne and Haaland went close, with the former forcing de Gea into a save with his legs, while the Nordic Meat Shield was unlucky as he ploughed through the United defence, only for the ball to cannon off him and away for a goal kick.
Marcus Rashford hit a shot over the bar and substitute Alejandro Garnacho fired dangerously wide as United strived for an equaliser. And the came even closer in the closing stages as City showed a little panic in the box. Ortega was forced into a save, before the ball cannoned off the bar before the keeper tipped over the rebound for a corner, which came to nothing.
Four minutes of added time increased City’s pain, but the blues held their nerve and their lead to take the trophy home for the seventh time in their history. Not bad for a team that apparently only formed in 2008!
90 minutes and Inter Milan now stand between City and an incredible treble as they look to become European champions for the first time.
Final Score: Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United