Ilkay Gundogan scored a brace to help Manchester City to a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, leaving City one game away from completing the treble, with UEFA Champions League final against Inter Milan on June 11 set to be their final mission.
Gundogan sensationally volleyed Manchester City into the lead after just 12 seconds, breaking the previous record of Louis Saha’s 25-second goal in the 2009 FA Cup final.
United were on the verge of freezing on the big stage during City’s dominating beginning, but they stayed in the game and equalised when Jack Grealish was penalised for handball after blocking an Aaron Wan-Bissaka pass, which was seen by VAR. Bruno Fernandes finished the job from the spot to level the scores in the 33rd minute.
City got back their lead again when Kevin De Bruyne found Gundogan on the outside of the box and he controlled his second volleyed finish of the game past David de Gea, who was caught off guard. An offside flag prevented Gundogan a hat-trick, and United attacked again in stoppage time, but an epic scramble ended with Raphael Varane’s strike hitting the top of the crossbar.
Pep Guardiola’s club will now meet Inter Milan in the Champions League final next Saturday with a chance to become only the second team, after Manchester United in 1999, to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and European Cup all in the same season. Many supporters were still settling in after the pre-match commotion of pyrotechnics, flags, and flares when Gundogan delivered a classic FA Cup moment.
Erling Haaland won a long ball blasted forward, and Gundogan pounced on the loose ball from 25 yards out, delivering an incredible volley reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane’s legendary Champions League final goal at Hampden Park. United almost succumbed to the constant City assault, but Haaland curled an attempt wide after giving Varane the runaround, and De Bruyne followed suit with an effort from range.
There was little reason to expect a United reaction, but it arrived in the form of a penalty, given for a handball by Grealish as he attempted to stop a cross with his arm in an unnatural decision. After a sluggish run-up, Fernandes obliged from the spot. During the celebrations, Victor Lindelof seemed to be hit by an item from the crowd but escaped major damage. After the interval, City stayed completely focused on the task at hand, retaining the ball with their typical certainty and excellence. The goal came on 51 minutes, courtesy of a guy who is built for big moments. Gundogan met De Bruyne’s free-kick with just enough power to drive a low, cutting shot past a crowd and beyond of De Gea’s grasp.
Despite seeing little of the ball, United made the most of their restricted area, with the lively Alejandro Garnacho adding spark to their assaults. With a curling attempt from 20 yards, he was inches away from tying it up, while Marcus Rashford sent a fizzing drive just wide. There was one more chance for drama in stoppage time, but Varane’s looping header inside the six-yard box hit the crossbar and Scott McTominay couldn’t clear the loose ball.
This was supposed to be City’s FA Cup, and United’s reputation as the only team to win the triple is now in jeopardy. They require a favour from Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 11 in Istanbul.