Manchester City are one game away from a historic treble after Ilkay Gundogan scored twice to beat Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s men completed a domestic double at Wembley and can become just the second side, after United in 1998/99, to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season should they beat Inter Milan to become European champions for the first time on June 10.
Gundogan scored the fastest goal in FA Cup final history after just 12 seconds.
Manchester City’s German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan shoots but is ruled offside during the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium, in London, on June 3, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
United levelled on 33 minutes through Bruno Fernandes’ penalty after Jack Grealish was harshly penalised for handball.
But the City captain, in what could be his final game for the club on English soil with his contract expiring at the end of the season, volleyed home the winner six minutes into the second-half.
“Everyone knows the FA Cup is the most beautiful domestic club competition in the world, so to win this trophy again and complete the double is amazing for us,” said Gundogan.
“We have a chance to do something special and win the treble and we do not want to let this opportunity pass us by.”
The first ever major final between the Manchester giants had the most explosive of starts.
Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland (C) lifts the trophy after the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium, in London, on June 3, 2023. Man City won the game 2-1. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Most of the 83,000 crowd were still taking their seats from the pre-match festivities when Victor Lindelof’s headed clearance sat up perfectly for Gundogan to volley home a stunning strike after just 12 seconds.
That appeared to set the tone for the Premier League champions.
Rodri headed into the side-netting moments later before Erling Haaland failed to get a clean connection on Gundogan’s enticing cross.
United were barely able to get across the halfway line in the first half hour, but got the break they needed to get back into the game.
Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola kisses the trophy after the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium, in London, on June 3, 2023. – Man City won the game 2-1. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s header back across the City box brushed the arm of Grealish and referee Paul Tierney was instructed to review the incident by VAR.
Despite City’s protestations, Tierney pointed to the spot and Fernandes coolly sent Stefan Ortega the wrong way.
The Portuguese’s celebrations in front of the City fans were met with a flurry of objects thrown from the stands, one of which struck Lindelof.
City boss Pep Guardiola was also showing his fury at the officiating as VAR did not intervene seven minutes before half-time when Kevin De Bruyne was wiped out by Fred inside the area and no penalty was awarded.
– De Gea question mark –
At the other end, United passed up a great chance to turn the game around before half-time when Raphael Varane fired high and wide at the back post from a corner.
Having fought so hard to gain a foothold, United were made to pay for another slow start in the second-half.
Gundogan was the goalscorer again as he fired home from De Bruyne’s free-kick.
But more questions will be asked of whether David De Gea remains the right man to be United’s number one goalkeeper after the 32-year-old Spaniard’s sluggish attempt to keep it out.
De Gea did at least make a big save to keep United in the game from De Bruyne and Haaland, while Gundogan was denied a rare FA Cup final hat-trick by the offside flag.
United rallied in a tense finale as Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho flashed efforts inches off target.
The ball came back off the City bar in a goalmouth scramble deep into stoppage time.
However, the Red Devils could not find the goal to deny Guardiola an 11th major trophy as City boss and protect the unique legacy of Alex Ferguson’s great side 24 years ago.
Only Inter in Istanbul in a week’s time now stand between City and matching the greatest achievement English club football has ever seen.