June 25, 2024

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FA Cup: Manchester United wins after defeating Manchester City 2-1 in the final

FA Cup: Manchester United wins after defeating Manchester City 2-1 in the final

LONDON (AP) — If this was Erik ten Hag’s last game as Manchester United coach, it was an interesting way to go out.

Against the backdrop of intense speculation that he was about to be sacked, Ten Hag and United stunned defending champions Manchester City 2-1 to lift the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

After collecting his medal from the future King of England, Prince William, the Dutchman got his hands on his second trophy in as many seasons to cap off a turbulent campaign at the highest level.

Is it enough to save his job?

“I’m not satisfied with that,” Ten Hag said defiantly, “We have to do better and if they don’t want me anymore, I’ll go somewhere else to win championships because that’s what I’ve done my whole career.” “We are building a team and when I took over things were a mess at Manchester United.”

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobe Maino scored in the first half to seal the win. City continued to press after the break and eventually scored a late goal through substitute Jeremy Doku.

United’s owners were watching from the executive seats at Wembley and had a decision to make.

“We are all very proud of the players and staff who work tirelessly to support them,” new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe said.

The British billionaire bought a 27.7% stake in United in February and is overhauling the club. There is widespread speculation that Ten Hag will become the latest victim of his renewal regardless of whether they win the cup final.

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This theory will be tested after this win, which denied rivals City a first successive English league and cup double, and also saw United qualify for next season’s Europa League.

City coach Pep Guardiola said: “My game plan was not good.

Ten Hag executed his tactics as United absorbed the pressure and pounced to take control of the game at the end of the first half.

Jarnacho opened the scoring in the 30th minute, causing panic in City’s defense when he chased down a penalty from Diogo Dalot deep in his own half. Josko Gvardiol was quicker to the ball, but his headed back pass went past the onrushing City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega to leave Jarnacho with an open net to slot home.

If that goal benefited from luck, United’s second goal nine minutes later came from a fluid drive, with Jarnacho once again at the heart of it as he cut in from the right wing and played in Bruno Fernandes.

The United captain sent a first-time cross to Maino, who calmly slotted past Ortega.

The final was a repeat of last year’s final, which City won 2-1, and Pep Guardiola’s team did not give up its title without a fight. Doku’s long-range shot in the 87th minute set up a nervous ending.

By that point, Erling Haaland had hit the crossbar, Kyle Walker had forced two saves from goalkeeper Andre Onana, and substitute Julián Alvarez missed the target from close range and was only bettered by the goalkeeper.

It is United’s 13th FA Cup, one point shy of Arsenal’s record 14 trophies. It is the second cup for Ten Hag after winning the League Cup last year.

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Players and staff embraced him on the pitch after the final whistle, and fans cheered warmly as he went to collect the trophy in front of American owners Joel and Avram Glazer and Ratcliffe.

But the win came after United’s worst season in the league in 34 years.

“It’s been a tough season full of ups and downs. That’s the only thing we had to look forward to,” Maino said. “We knew we had to come together. The preparation for this match was amazing. “We showed our ability to compete and win matches.”


James Robson is here https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson


AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer