Noisy neighbours no more. After a nervy 90 minutes, Manchester City defeated cross-town rivals Manchester United in the first-ever Manchester Derby in the FA Cup Final. The match started with a bang. From the kickoff, City captain İlkay Gündoğan passed the ball back to Stefan Ortega.
The goalkeeper then launched the ball up the field, and after some fortunate headers and bounces of play, Gündoğan hit the ball on the volley past United goalkeeper David de Gea. The goal came within 13 seconds, the fastest goal scored in a FA Cup Final. City was flying, and United was shocked.
Manchester City continued the tempo. Several minutes later, the Sky Blues won a free kick in a dangerous area for the Red Devils. Kevin De Bruyne would launch the ball into the box, and an unmarked Rodri headed the ball towards goal. The ball, however, flashed narrowly wide. Ten minutes later, Erling Håland made a dangerous run into the United penalty area.
Having beaten several players, the striker fired on goal, but the ball went narrowly wide over the crossbar. As the match progressed, United made their presence known. The Red Devils gained more possession of the ball, and they slowly started to attack the City half. After 30 minutes, United’s pressure paid off. United launched a ball into the City box, and Jack Grealish marked Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Replays showed that Wan-Bissaka’s header came off Grealish’s hand, and United were awarded a penalty after confirmation from the video assistant referee. Bruno Fernandes stepped up to the penalty spot, and the outcome was never in doubt. The two Manchester clubs were on level terms.
City would pile on the pressure toward the end of the first half, but they could not steal the lead.
By the end of half-time, the two clubs were on level terms. City had outplayed and outclassed their opponents, but United had reason to believe that they could take something from the match.
The second half picked up where City had left off. Six minutes after the restart, the Sky Blues found themselves ahead again. Having won a corner, De Bruyne launched the ball into the box.
Manchester City gained the lead in the second half courtesy of Gundogan
Once again, an unmarked Gündoğan smashed the ball on the volley, and he fired it home. The German and City had their second, and the City section in Wembley was bouncing. Out of nothing, the Sky Blues were ahead again. The Red Devils were shell-shocked.
United manager Erik ten Hag would be the first to react, throwing on Alejandro Garnacho, Wout Weghorst, and Scott McTominay in place of his midfielders and a centre-back. de Gea would also keep his side into the match, having made a smart save against De Bruyne.
At the other end, Marcus Rashford and Garnacho had some dangerous shots on goal, but ultimately the ball went wide of the target. United’s best chance in the second half came in stoppage time, where Ortega saved Raphaël Varane’s shot on goal. The ball bounced off the crossbar and found its way to McTominay, but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Nothing would come from the Red Devil’s possession in the subsequent play. After seven minutes of added time, the whistle was blown. The Sky Blues defeated their rivals in the first-ever Manchester Derby in the FA Cup Final. City manager Pep Guardiola was brought to tears. The City squad ran around the pitch, and their supporters were bouncing in the stands.
Having won the 2022/23 English Premier League, and the FA Cup, the Sky Blues will now turn their attention to the Champions League Final next week. Only one English team has managed to complete the treble, and that was none other than Manchester United during the 1998/99 season. Should City complete the treble, it is almost poetic that they had to defeat their rivals in the process.
Two down, one to go. The treble is truly on for Manchester City.