18
Fri, Jan
39 New Articles

Man Utd reach record-equalling 20th FA Cup final with 2-1 win over Spurs

Ander Herrera drove a low shot under goalkeeper Michel Vorm midway through the second half to condemn Spurs to an eighth consecutive FA Cup semi-final defeat.

Foreign Sports
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Manchester United reached a record-equalling 20th FA Cup final with victory over Tottenham at Wembley.

Ander Herrera drove a low shot under goalkeeper Michel Vorm midway through the second half to condemn Spurs to an eighth consecutive FA Cup semi-final defeat.

Dele Alli had put Mauricio Pochettino’s side ahead in the 11th minute, sliding in to convert Christian Eriksen’s low cross.

But Alexis Sanchez athletically headed in a delivery from Paul Pogba in the 24th minute to level the scoreline.

Tottenham hit the post through Eric Dier in first-half stoppage time but United held off Spurs’ challenge with relative ease after Herrera’s goal.

Jose Mourinho’s side will play Chelsea or Southampton, who play in the second semi-final on Sunday at 15:00 BST.

Manchester United’s style has been criticised on a number of levels this season – but the character and resilience in Jose Mourinho’s side is beyond question.

In recent weeks alone, they have come from behind to beat Chelsea at Old Trafford then recovered from 2-0 deficits to win at Crystal Palace and, most notably, at Premier League champions Manchester City.

And they needed to call on all those reserves in the face of an opening salvo from Spurs that was fierce in its intensity and pressing, as well as bringing that opening goal from Dele Alli.

United held on, with moments of good fortune, and grasped the lifeline that came with a cheap concession of possession from Spurs, a perfect cross from Paul Pogba and an athletic header from Sanchez to beat Michel Vorm in the 24th minute.

Spurs were still left cursing their luck when Eric Dier’s shot deflected off Chris Smalling to hit the foot of the post – and when ruthlessness and a clinical edge was required it was United who provided it.

It came courtesy of Ander Herrera’s low finish and gave United an advantage they never seriously looked like relinquishing.

Mourinho, now on course for another trophy after lifting the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at Manchester United last term, prides himself on his ability to inject the strengths winners require into his players.

And his Manchester United players showed that at Wembley.

Tottenham’s curse strikes again

Tottenham reuters

Tottenham have not won an FA Cup semi-final since 1991
Tottenham must wonder when they will ever win another FA Cup semi-final – or indeed be rewarded with a trophy for all the obvious fine work manager Mauricio Pochettino has done.

This was their eighth successive FA Cup semi-final defeat, the longest sequence of losses in the history of the competition and stretching back to the victory over Arsenal at the old Wembley in 1991.

And as expectations rise and Pochettino’s side progresses, so those losses get more painful and this will feel as bad as any others coming after the way they also lost here to Chelsea 12 months ago.

The usual “Spursy” argument will be made – the team that somehow never gets across the line – and there will come a point when this undoubtedly talented side must back up the bouquets it gets with actual trophies, the true currency of success.

Pochettino’s side flew out of the blocks but simply could not put United away and there was an air of desperation and frustration about their work once Herrera put Mourinho’s side in front and time started to ebb away.

Questions must also be asked of Pochettino’s decision to persist with Michel Vorm in goal and keep first-choice Hugo Lloris on the bench. It is harsh to place defeat solely at Vorm’s door but he certainly could have done better with Herrera’s winner.

Harry Kane could not find his usual sure touch and Son Heung-min, superb this season, had one of those days when nothing went right.

The wait goes on without a trophy for both Spurs and Pochettino, who has now had four full seasons at the club.

It is something they must change soon to shed the tag of the team that always falters with the finishing line in sight.

Sanchez finally makes his mark
Alexis Sanchez has struggled to make a serious impact since his January switch from Arsenal to Manchester United – but the Chilean showed perfect timing to demonstrate his class on the Wembley stage he loves.

When he showed great strength and athleticism to direct Pogba’s cross back across Vorm for that vital equaliser, it was Sanchez’s eighth goal for club and country at Wembley in eight appearances.

Sanchez is also still on course for a third FA Cup win, having won the trophy twice previously at Arsenal, scoring in victorious finals against Aston Villa and Chelsea.

Here, this was Sanchez at his best – busy, dangerous, revelling in the fight and making the crucial contribution that has become his Wembley trademark.

Eyebrows were raised when Mourinho ignored the pace of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in his starting line-up – but he was rewarded with the industry of Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku and Sanchez – with the latter delivering a man-of-the-match performance.

 

Source: BBC

Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.