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FA Cup final 2024: Garnacho goal gives Man United shock lead v Man City

Erik ten Hag saw his side take the lead in what could be his last game as Man United manager

FA Cup Wembley

Alejandro Garnacho took advantage of a monstrous mix-up between Manchester City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega and defender Josko Gvardiol to give Manchester United a shock lead with a gift of an opening goal in the 2024 FA Cup final.

United began the day as huge underdogs but started brightly at Wembley Stadium and were rewarded when Garnacho gambled on Gvardiol faltering, the Croatia international obliging by nodding a bouncing ball beyond the advanced Ortega and on to the grateful winger’s run with the City goal gaping.

“That’s what happens when you gamble,” former England striker Alan Shearer told BBC Sport after Garnacho pounced to nod in with 30 minutes played.

“That’s what happens when you don’t give up. Alejandro Garnacho times his run to perfection. That’s what happens when you’re patient. He’s given a tap-in.

“The ‘keeper is in no man’s land. How do you want it? On a plate. You’d have been dreaming about that last night, wouldn’t you? Give me an open goal from seven yards out. Thank you very much.”

Matters improved even further for United nine minutes later when Bruno Fernandes found England newcomer Mainoo unmarked inside the penalty area to sweep in a second.

FA Cup final score: United goals ‘brilliant’

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.

“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.”

Reports have claimed that United manager Erik 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.

After finishing eighth in the table and being knocked out of the 2023/24 Uefa Champions League in the group stage, United will be in the Europa League should they upset City.

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

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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.