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Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United: Garnacho and Mainoo fire Red Devils to FA Cup glory

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 May 2024

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Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo were the heroes as Manchester United pulled off an upset to beat rivals Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

United boss Erik ten Hag’s job was reportedly on the line whatever the result in Saturday’s game, but a mix-up between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega was capitalised upon by Garnacho to hand the Red Devils the lead at Wembley Stadium.

Mainoo’s fine finish made it 2-0 shortly after, and though Jeremy Doku pulled a goal back late on, United held firm to claim the famous trophy for the first time since 2016 and deny City a double after they secured a fourth straight Premier League title last weekend.

It now remains to be seen whether Ten Hag will suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was sacked as United boss after winning the FA Cup eight years ago.

Pep Guardiola’s men started the brighter, though it was United who went close first as Ortega got his body behind Garnacho’s fierce strike.

Garnacho was not to be denied with 30 minutes on the clock, though, as he pounced on a calamitous mix-up in the City defence.

A long ball over the top was not dealt with by either Ortega or Gvardiol, who inadvertently nodded it beyond his goalkeeper, allowing Garnacho to tuck home into an empty net, becoming the first teenager to score an FA Cup final goal since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004.

And another teenager in Mainoo made it 2-0 before the break at the culmination a brilliantly incisive move.

Garnacho was involved again as he burst down the right and cut back for Bruno Fernandes, whose deft pass teed up 19-year-old Mainoo to coolly slot past Ortega.

Erling Haaland nearly halved the deficit when he rattled the crossbar after the interval, before Andre Onana made a superb stop to keep out Kyle Walker’s ferocious long-range drive.

Onana should have done better in the 87th minute, though. United’s goalkeeper got down to Doku’s hopeful attempt, but could only parry it into the corner.

Yet United ensured Onana’s mistake did not prove costly, as City’s hopes of a double were dashed and the Red Devils claimed a stunning victory in what could have been Ten Hag’s final game at the helm.

United’s teenage daydream

United went into the game as outsiders, a fair view considering the 31 points that separated these city rivals in the Premier League table, but the Red Devils’ youngsters turned up in some style at Wembley to lead their side to glory, as well as securing European football next season.

Garnacho scored with one of his three shots on target, more than any other player on the pitch, while Mainoo’s performance did no harm to his chances of making Gareth Southgate’s final squad for Euro 2024, ruthlessly finishing his only big chance and again having an impact in both defence and attack.

Mainoo’s goal also made him the first English teenager to net in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981, and he looks set to be a big fixture for both United and England for many years to come.

De Bruyne’s dismal derby day

Kevin De Bruyne finished the Premier League season with 10 assists and four goals in just 18 appearances, but he, alongside many of City’s stars, looked well off the pace here.

De Bruyne completed an uncharacteristically low 71 per cent of his passes before Guardiola had seen enough, hauling off the Belgium international for Julian Alvarez with over half an hour left.

City ended their league campaign with nine straight wins to seal the title, but they looked a shadow of that side this time out and will finish the season with just one trophy, after claiming a treble last term.

Doku did make an impact after his half-time introduction, but though he managed to cut into United’s lead, it was too little, too late.

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