An Empty Wembley Stadium
Wikimedia Commons/ Geograph Britain and Ireland/ Basher Ayre

A pulsating 120 minutes: Manchester United scrape past Coventry to reach FA Cup final

Manchester United have reached the FA Cup final on penalties after Championship side Coventry came from three goals down to force extra time.

Wembley hosted a thrilling semi-final, which ended up seeing United progress 4-2 on penalties.

Just like in the quarter-final against Liverpool, Scott McTominay opened the scoring for Manchester United, tapping in from close range following a low-driven cross by Diogo Dalot.

Coventry came close to an equaliser, but some brilliant defending by Dalot prevented Ellis Simms from tapping in Josh Eccles’ cross.

Down the other end, Marcus Rashford came close to doubling United’s lead, as his ferocious strike was kept out by a combination of Coventry goalkeeper Bradley Collins and the crossbar.

Right at the end of the first half, Manchester United grabbed a second. Harry Maguire gave Collins no chance with his powerful header from Bruno Fernandes’ corner.

In the second half, Bruno Fernandes came close with a long-range effort, before his deflected goal gave United a three-goal advantage, and what seemed to be a one-way ticket to the final.

For a brief moment, Victor Torp and the blue half of Wembley thought they were heading to an FA Cup final

However, Coventry did pull a goal back with twenty minutes remaining. Substitute Fábio Tavares’ cross was swept into the back of the net by striker Simms.

Less than ten minutes later, Callum O’Hare’s deflected strike found the back of the net to set up an electrifying finish to the match.

Coventry kept pushing, as Victor Torp’s fierce volley was kept out thanks to a great save from André Onana.

In the 93rd minute, Coventry were awarded a penalty after the ball struck the arm of Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the box. Haji Wright kept his nerve to convert the penalty and level the game, marking one of the great FA Cup semi-final comebacks.

As the game went into extra time, Bruno Fernandes came very close to restoring United’s lead. Collins was beaten in the Coventry goal, but the crossbar came to the Sky Blues’ rescue.

Coventry themselves also had chances to win the game in extra time. Following a quick counter-attack, Wright was given a chance to have a shot at goal, but the American saw his effort flash past the far post. Just minutes later, Simms came even closer, as his effort came back off the underside of the crossbar.

For a brief moment, Victor Torp and the blue half of Wembley thought they were heading to an FA Cup Final. Right at the end of extra time, Torp turned in Wright’s cross to send the Coventry fans delirious. Unfortunately for Coventry, VAR ruled that Wright was offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off, sending the game to a penalty shootout.

Casemiro stepped up to take United’s first penalty, but saw his poor effort saved by Collins. Onana then denied O’Hare to level up the shootout, before Ben Sheaf put his penalty over the crossbar to give Rasmus Højlund the chance to send Manchester United to the FA Cup final. Højlund scored his penalty to set up yet another Manchester derby in an FA Cup final.

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