Manchester City scored a massive achievement Saturday by defeating Manchester United one-nil in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Could this be a turning point in City’s history? We’ll have to wait and see. But one thing is for sure, City will look back fondly on this season for years to come and will never forget the year that they beat their cross-town rivals at Wembley.
You could see by the way that City supporters and players celebrated after the end of the match how much this match means to them. They celebrated as if they had won the FA Cup. I’m sure in many ways it felt like they did after decades of being in the shadows of Manchester United. The blue half of Manchester finally are in touching distance of winning a trophy for the first time in 35 years. And to knock United off their perch and to stop them from having a chance to win the Treble must be bliss for City supporters.
To be fair, Manchester United were awful on Saturday. Dimitar Berbatov had several clear-cut chances in front of goal to score. He missed all of them. And in hindsight, I believe Sir Alex Ferguson made a mistake of starting Berbatov instead of Javier Hernandez who has been on a hot goal scoring streak for several weeks. As for United, the difference in this game between them and City were mistakes. Michael Carrick was to blame for United letting in the first goal. But all over the park United players made poor decisions, whether it was giving the ball away too easy, awful crosses or poor decision making.
City started the game off awfully and looked like they would be in for a hiding. But slowly but surely the Citizens started to get David Silva more involved in the game and the creative Spaniard was a key to unlocking the United defense.
When United’s Paul Scholes was sent off in the second half for a late and high challenge against Pablo Zabaleta, it looked less likely that Manchester United would be able to grab an equalizing goal. For Manchester City, they now face the prospect of playing either Bolton Wanderers or Stoke City in the final on May 14 at Wembley Stadium. There’s still a long way to go before City can think about winning the FA Cup, but for now, their supporters can bathe in the glory of defeating their hated rivals.
PS – It was unfortunate that Mario Balotelli and Rio Ferdinand got into a scuffle after the full-time whistle blew. What Balotelli said to Ferdinand is unknown as of writing, but Ferdinand was so incensed that several of his players had to hold him back from the fiery Italian.