Manchester City remains unstoppable on its way to the historic treble. The team led by Pep Guardiola, who already won the Premier League a couple of weeks ago, beat Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final this Saturday in a game in which they barely needed a couple of flashes of Gundogan. The German midfielder scored at the start of both halves and left Bruno Fernandes’ penalty goal to nothing to bring closer the dream of a team that will seek in Istanbul, on June 10 against Inter Milan, to close the perfect season with the achievement of the Champions League.
The protocol dictated that the game be at Wembley, that Prince William greet both teams, that the new and revamped ‘God save the King’ sound over the public address system and that Manchester City be a real roller. All this had to happen logically at startup and everything happened at maximum speed. The tea had not yet fallen into the stomachs of the 90,000 attendees when Ilkay GÜndogan caught a forehand from the front that was impossible for De Gea, who was looking at the scoreboard trying to understand how his life can change so much in just 16 seconds, the time it took in exploiting the ‘citizen’ stands and in pinching himself for the umpteenth time in a season that continues to be a dream for Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ortega Moreno, Walker (Laporte, min. 95), Stones, Rubén Dias, Akanji, Rodri, Gündogan, De Bruyne (Foden, min. 76), Bernardo Silva, Grealish (Aké, min. 89) and Haaland
De Gea, Shaw, Lindelof (McTominay, min. 83), Varane, Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro, Fred, Eriksen (Garnacho, min. 62), Sancho (Weghorst, min. 78), Bruno Fernandes and Rashford
1-0, min 1, Gundogan. 1-1, min 33, Bruno Fernandes. 2-1, min 51, Gundogan.
Paul Tierney. He booked Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Ortega Moreno and Rodri.
Match played at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 spectators.
And it is that City went out to play the grand final of the FA Cup with the same plan that it has been showing throughout the entire course. Guardiola’s usual 3-5-2 formation with Stones in the midfield and with Rodri, Gündogan and De Bruyne in the engine room took over the clash at the first exchange and highlighted the abysmal distance that currently exists between the two sets.
The brand new Premier champions were able to extend the lead with a header from Rodri and two shots from the edge of Haaland and De Bruyne, but they did not do so and gave wings to a United that knew how to weather the storm, equalize forces and even meet with an absurd Grealish penalty for a handball. Bruno Fernandes took advantage of the gift to equalize the clash from eleven meters and reach the break with some surprising draws in the light.
After the restart, history repeated itself. City came out with a bugle call and in a rehearsed play they found the prize in the boots of the same footballer as in the first half. Gundogan has been touched by the magic wand this season and he showed it this time with a left-footed volley that penetrated the Mancunian defense in an incomprehensible way and surprised David de Gea.
It was a new blow for United, who was going to have to row against the current again in the second half. He did it this time trying to get the game to get out of the script set by Guardiola and gradually become an exchange of blows. In this scenario, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho and company emerged and managed to scare a City that narrowly escaped after two shots from the edge of Garnacho, just entered the pitch, and Rashford.
City needed fresh air to withstand the thrust of a more physically whole Manchester United and Guardiola knew it, desperate on the touchline. Sampedor’s man continued without changing the drawing despite no longer having full control of the crash, but he brought on Foden for De Bruyne, very tired, and the change suited his team well.
The ‘skyblues’ knew how to get hold of the ball in the final stretch, rest with the ball and tame an opponent who no longer found a way to get their hands on their oldest enemy. 732 teams started an FA Cup that ended up in the hands of City, just like the Premier League did and who knows if the Champions League too. The treble is a little closer for a team that is on its way to making history.
#City #step #closer #treble