Man United break Coventry hearts to set up FA Cup final against Man City

Football Tuesday April 23, 2024 By: Harry Howes

The FA Cup final next month will be a repeat of last year’s, with two of the country’s biggest clubs – and fiercest rivals – set to lock horns at Wembley. The Manchester derby will once again head south for the weekend, with Manchester United looking to win the competition for a 13th time against neighbours Manchester City.

While United were the favourites to progress to the final as they took on Coventry City on Sunday, things could have been so different as VAR intervened to deny the Championship outfit a late winner in extra-time. Meanwhile, City bounced back from their midweek Champions League exit to edge past Chelsea and continue their hopes of winning the double.

Man United need penalties to beat Coventry

The magic of the FA Cup was alive and well on Sunday as almost 40,000 Coventry fans filled Wembley with a sea of sky blue and hopes of causing an upset. The Midlands side are no stranger to a big day out, having reached last year’s play-off final, while also winning the FA Cup back in 1987.

Coventry fans would have been forgiven for accepting defeat against United as they found themselves 3-0 down, with goals from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes before the hour mark.

Yet the spirit of ‘87 shone through and, combined with complacency from their Premier League opponents, Coventry mounted a remarkable comeback. Ellis Simms pulled one back in the 71st minute before Callum O’Hare added a second eight minutes later.

They piled on the pressure and were given the ultimate lifeline when Aaron Wan-Bissaka handled the ball and Coventry were awarded a penalty. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Haji Wright stepped up and showed no signs of nerves as he fired the ball past Andre Onana to send the game to extra-time.

As football fans around the world were treated to another 30 minutes of FA Cup action, Coventry had chances to clinch the game. They thought they’d done just that when Victor Torp slotted home with seconds of extra-time left.

But Wright was adjudged to have been offside in the build up and VAR ruled out the goal, sending the match the penalties. It looked like it wasn’t going to be United’s day as experienced midfielder Casemiro fluffed the opening spot-kick.

Yet their luck changed and following misses from O’Hare and Ben Sheaf, Rasmus Hojlund buried the deciding kick to break Coventry hearts and send United to the final for the second successive year.

For Coventry, while they won’t have another FA Cup trip to Wembley this year, they’ll still have memories to last a lifetime and the belief that they can take the game to anyone as they cling on to faint hopes of reaching the play-offs again this season.

Meanwhile, while United now have the chance to end their rivals’ double dreams, their win papers over the cracks of a disappointing season, which no doubt leaves the futures of Erik ten Hag and plenty of the playing squad hanging in the balance as they prepare for a new era.

Man City bounce back from Champions League woes

After Arsenal and Liverpool both slipped up last weekend, Man City started last week on top of the world. They sat in the driving seat in the Premier League title race and were looking forward to a clash of the titans against Real Madrid.

Their joy was short lived as they took their European tie to penalties, only to miss out to the Spanish giants. But rather than feel sorry for themselves, Pep Guardiola’s side regrouped and did what they do best as they put in a professional performance to see off Chelsea at Wembley.

The London side actually had the better of the chances but a string of misses from Nicolas Jackson kept the scoreline level. Chelsea felt they should have had a penalty when Cole Palmer’s free-kick hit Jack Grealish’s arm but the officials had other ideas.

And with just six minutes left on the clock, Bernardo Silva, who missed a penalty in the shootout against Real Madrid, arrived at the back post to lash home the winning goal and send Chelsea home.

Following a disappointing first season for Mauricio Pochettino, an FA Cup win would have provided something to build on going into the summer. Yet the Blues will have to settle for a mid-table finish in a campaign to forget that would have been so much worse without the brilliance of Palmer.

For City, they’ll now have full focus as they target their fourth consecutive Premier League title before they return to Wembley next month to take on United.

The FA Cup Final 2024

As ever, Wembley will be the venue as United and City meet in the FA Cup final. This year’s showpiece match takes place on Saturday 25th May and you can watch all the action from the best seats in the house with Engage’s exclusive hospitality packages.

City came out on top last year, winning the competition for the seventh time, thanks to two goals from Ilkay Gundogan. The German volleyed home after just 12 seconds and after Bruno Fernandes levelled the score with a first-half penalty, it was Gundogan on the scoresheet again as he added a second to secure a 2-1 win.

With Gundogan no longer at the club, the responsibility will fall on somebody else’s shoulders to make themselves a hero for either side, with Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden coming up against the likes of Marcus Rashford, Fernandes and Alejandro Garnacho.

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