Riyad Mahrez’s Wembley treble was the highlight of Manchester City’s 3-0 FA Cup semi-final victory over Sheffield United, but he was more focused on avenging a different sort of hat-trick.
City had suffered defeat in the semi-finals of the competition for the past three years, part of a sequence that had seen them lose four out of five at Wembley – as many as they had in their first 18 at the ground since it reopened in 2007.
A cagey first half saw City head into the break just one goal ahead, with Mahrez on target, and he stole the spotlight in the second half to send the Championship promotion hopefuls packing.
His goals ensured he became the first player in history to score an FA Cup semi-final treble at Wembley and the first overall since Alex Dawson for Manchester United against Fulham in 1958.
However, the most important aspect for Mahrez was ensuring a previous City treble did not become an unprecedented quadruple.
“It’s very good [to score a hat-trick] but the most important thing, after two or three years in a row where we always came here in the semi-final, we always lost and we didn’t really play good. Today, we wanted to make sure we put in a good performance and got to the final,” he told ITV Sport.
“It means a lot. Every season we start, with the team we have got and the coach we have got, we really want to go as far as we can in every competition.
“Getting into the final of the FA Cup is amazing in this country. Now we need to concentrate on the league and the next game against Arsenal.”
City now turn their attention to the midweek tie against Arsenal in the Premier League, where victory would move them just two points behind the leaders with two games in hand.
3 – Riyad Mahrez has scored the first ever FA Cup semi-final hat-trick at Wembley Stadium, and first in the semi-final of the competition overall since Alex Dawson in 1958 (Man Utd against Fulham). Historic. #MCISHU pic.twitter.com/L7mWjRiXx5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 22, 2023
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