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Man City 1-2 Man United: FA Cup final 2024 result stuns Premier League champions

United also secured European football in what could be Erik ten Hag's last match in charge

Man United football manager Erik ten Hag

First-half goals by Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo gave Manchester United a shock FA Cup final win over Manchester City as manager Erik ten Hag secured the finest result of his reign in what could be his final match in charge.

United started the game as huge underdogs at the end of an underwhelming season but their bright start was rewarded with a touch of fortune when City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega and defender Josko Gvardiol crossed wires, Garnacho nodding a gift of a 30th-minute opener into an empty net.

With City’s defence in surprisingly obliging mood, a perceptive Bruno Fernandes pass found Mainoo unmarked inside the penalty area to sweep in United’s second six minutes before half-time.

Premier League champions City, who finished 31 points above United in the top flight and had beaten them in both previous derbies this season, scored a late consolation when substitute Jeremy Doku’s low shot beat Andre Onana at the goalkeeper’s near post.

FA Cup final result: Rare relief for Ten Hag

On the eve of an encounter few had predicted them to win, numerous reports had said Ten Hag would be sacked regardless of the result at Wembley Stadium.

While this result may not redeem United’s underwhelming season, it will, at the very least, come to represent an unexpectedly glorious swansong to the Dutchman’s uneven two seasons in charge and earn them Uefa Europa League qualification for 2024/25.

From the off, Ten Hag’s players showed the verve and conviction they have so sorely lacked for much of a miserable campaign, restricting City to a shadow of their usual selves and a solitary attempt on target.

Marcus Rashford – smarting from his exclusion from England’s Uefa Euro 2024 training squad earlier in the week – would have put United 2-0 ahead before Mainoo did the job, only for an offside flag to thwart the forward once he had slotted in as part of an impressive collective attacking display.

City’s unbeaten 35-match run in normal time left manager Pep Guardiola in an unfamiliar position at half-time, the two-time FA Cup winner responding by sending on Jeremy Doku and Manuel Akanji for Mateo Kovacic and Nathan Ake.

After top scorer Erling Haaland smacked the crossbar with an angled drive 10 minutes after the interval, the potent Julian Alvarez supplanted the talismanic Kevin De Bruyne and Onana made an excellent save to palm Kyle Walker’s thumping strike behind at short notice.

Alvarez rolled a shot wide of the far post from a one-on-one opportunity while United retained a palpable threat, Bruno Fernandes among those to threaten another.

Doku’s 87th-minute reply looked like an effort Onana should have kept out, but the seven additional minutes featured none of the late drama with which Coventry City equalised against United in the fifth minute of second-half added time on their last trip to Wembley for the semi-finals.

The new boss of United’s football operations, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, watched on with legendary Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson as Ten Hag won the first trophy of the businessman’s co-ownership of the club. If this proves his send-off, Ten Hag will ruefully wonder why his players so rarely produced performances of this class.

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.

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