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FA Cup final 2024: Mainoo goal doubles Man United joy in stunning first half v Man City

The final is United's last chance to qualify for European football next season

Man United football manager Erik ten Hag

Beleaguered Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag had a first half to celebrate as Kobbie Mainoo struck to give his side a shock 2-0 lead at the break in the 2024 FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Alejandro Garnacho took advantage of a calamitous misunderstanding between Manchester City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega and defender Josko Gvardiol to put United ahead with a gift of an opening goal after 30 minutes.

With City’s defence cut wide open, Bruno Fernandes then found England newcomer Mainoo unmarked inside the penalty area to sweep in a second with six minutes of the half remaining.

“United have been brilliant,” the club’s record scorer, Wayne Rooney, told BBC Sport. “They’ve been organised, hard to play through, hard to play around.

“The threats have been coming from the wide areas, [Marcus] Rashford and Garnacho. It was obviously a mistake for the first goal but it was a really good run from Garnacho. The second goal is an unbelievable goal. The pass from Bruno is incredible.”

City started the afternoon on a 35-match unbeaten run in regular time but had only one of the four first-half attempts on target between the teams in pursuit of a repeat of their victory over their neighbours in last season’s showpiece.

FA Cup final score: United goals stun City

Reports have claimed that beleaguered Ten Hag will be sacked regardless of whether his side wins the trophy in what is their last chance of qualifying for European football next season.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has taken over the football operations side of the club and pledged to change its culture, was watching on with legendary former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the national stadium.

United were huge underdogs against a City side who finished 31 points above them as champions and beat them 2-1 in last season’s FA Cup final.

Ratcliffe’s additions have included Sir David Brailsford in a key performance role and chief executive Omar Berrada, but United have continued to struggle on the pitch, never rising above sixth and finishing eighth during Ten Hag’s second season in charge while ending bottom of their Champions League group.

City manager Pep Guardiola responded to the first half by bringing on defender Manuel Akanji and wideman Jeremy Doku for Mateo Kovacic and Nathan Ake.

The Cityzens beat United 3-0 away and 3-1 at home in the Premier League this season, although they fell behind to an early Rashford strike at Etihad Stadium.

Picture of Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.