FA Cup: Manchester United offers City, a title and Europe | TV5MONDE

FA Cup: Manchester United offers City, a title and Europe | TV5MONDE
FA Cup: Manchester United offers City, a title and Europe | TV5MONDE

Manchester United, devilishly efficient, created a sensation by dominating their neighbor Manchester City (2-1) in the final of the FA Cup, Saturday at Wembley, a trophy which brightens the gloomy season of the “Red Devils” and qualifies them for the Europa League.

The red half of the stadium exploded with happiness at the end of a perfectly executed match, despite the maximum pressure weighing on the shoulders of Erik ten Hag, coach threatened at kick-off, and in paradise at the final whistle .

Wembley has become the theater of Mancunian dreams thanks to Alejandro Garnacho (30th) and Kobbie Mainoo (39th), the two 19-year-old scorers, and perhaps the Dutch technician’s lifeline.

“Unbelievable, no one believed in us. But we are a team, all together,” Garnacho said on BBC One. “It was our last chance to have something positive this season,” said captain Bruno Fernandes, his eyes misty.

Manchester United’s thirteenth FA Cup, the first since 2016, does not erase a completely missed exercise in the Premier League, finishing in eighth place, 31 points behind champion Manchester City.

But the sick neighbor deprived his great rival of the double by signing a brilliant and deserved victory on Saturday, synonymous with qualification for the Europa League group stage.

United’s happiness, however, is the misfortune of Chelsea and Newcastle, sixth and seventh. The “Blues”, qualified for the Europa League if City had won, will have to settle for the Conference League next season, a competition which is slipping under the noses of the “Magpies”, deprived of Europe.

First defeat since December

Manchester City confiscated the ball (77% possession at half-time) but their passing game came up against the red wall built around Lisandro Martinez and Raphaël Varane, the central hinge of last season, impeccable for the Frenchman’s last at United.

Conversely, the rearguard of the “Citizens” appeared much more feverish than usual, commenting on errors as gross as they were unusual, particularly on the opening score.

Josko Gvardiol, put under pressure by Alejandro Garnacho, wanted to head the ball back to Stefan Ortega, but the Croatian defender lobbed his goalkeeper and allowed the 19-year-old Argentine winger to score against the empty goal (30th , 1-0).

The second Mancunian goal is more due to the talent of the “Red Devils”: brilliant reversal of play from Marcus Rashford, center from Garnacho intelligently extended and vista by Bruno Fernandes towards Kobbie Mainoo, with the perfect strike (39th, 2-0) .

Pep Guardiola reinvigorated his attack in the second half by bringing in Julian Alvarez and, above all, Jérémy Doku from the restart.

The Belgian winger caused panic several times in the Mancunian area with his dribbles and passes, like the one that Erling Haaland sent onto the crossbar (55th).

And it was he who reignited the suspense with a long-range shot that André Onana let escape near his right post (87th, 2-1).

Manchester United gritted their teeth during the last minutes, endless for their supporters, but achieved the incredible: defeating the giant citizen, undefeated (excluding penalties) since the beginning of December, in all competitions.

This may not save Erik ten Hag, still on borrowed time, but the Dutchman offered the red people a second trophy in two seasons, a year after the League Cup.

Along the way, he takes his revenge on Manchester City, his defeater in the final of the previous “Cup”, with exactly the same score.

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