Manchester United shocked the soccer world on Saturday by upsetting rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

The defeat is only City’s fifth on the entire campaign and first with Rodri in the lineup since February of 2023. United netted twice in the match to collect the cup, and both goals were scored by 19-year-old emerging stars.

City entered the match as massive favorites to lift the trophy. The Premier League champions went into the weekend having not lost in regulation since December 6th. Pep Guardiola’s side did get knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Real Madrid, but they were edged out on penalty kicks.

United, on the other hand, endured one of their worst seasons in the last 30 years. The Red Devils ultimately finished a drastically disappointing eighth in the top flight table. As a result, the club had to win Saturday’s match to ensure a place in a European competition next season.

Red Devils stun rivals with two first-half goals

Both teams had chances to take an early lead in the fixture. Marcus Rashford found himself racing in on goal inside the first minute of the match. Nevertheless, City defender Kyle Walker was able to use his electric pace and snuff out any danger.

At the other end, United center back Lisandro Martinez clumsily bundled into star striker Erling Haaland inside the box just seconds later. Both the match referee and VAR, however, denied a potential penalty kick for the English champions. The decision will certainly be debated, but the correct call was likely made on the pitch.

Mainoo Garnacho
Mainoo Garnacho

Mainoo Garnacho

United, despite only having 25% of the ball in the opening half an hour, then took the lead in the 30th minute thanks to a gift by the City defense. Josko Gvardiol attempted to clear a pending threat by heading the ball back to Ortega in front of goal.

Nevertheless, the goalkeeper simultaneously rushed out to collect the long ball near the edge of his own penalty area. With Ortega nowhere to be found, Alejandro Garnacho picked up possession and slotted a shot into the wide open net. The lack of communication between the two City players ultimately cost the club a goal.

United then shockingly doubled their advantage in the 39th minute with a goal from teenage sensation Kobbie Mainoo. Rashford started the move by playing a long pass out towards Garnacho on the right flank. The fellow youngster then found Bruno Fernandes at the edge of City’s box. The club captain opted against taking a touch and instead sent a clever pass towards Mainoo. Now one-on-one with Ortega, Mainoo easily sent a shot into the back of the net.

United holds on for victory despite late push by City

Guardiola attempted to shake things up ahead of the second half by introducing two halftime substitutes. Jeremy Doku and Manuel Akanji entered the fray for Mateo Kovacic and Nathan Ake. The moves nearly paid off after Haaland looked certain to get a goal back for City in the 55th minute. Nevertheless, the vicious shot struck the bar and the center forward was left with his head in his hands.

The City boss then made another interesting substitution just minutes after the Haaland miss. Julian Alvarez came into the match for superstar midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. The Argentine forward quickly made a positive impact for his club with a dangerous shot in the 61st minute. Alvarez then nearly scored three minutes later, but ultimately pushed his shot wide of Onana’s post.

City was given a late lifeline as Doku somehow found the back of the net in the 87th minute.

The substitute fired a low shot towards the bottom corner of the goal from outside of the penalty area. Although the attempt looked certain to be saved, Onana reacted incredibly late. As a result, the ball snuck by the diving goalkeeper, just inside the post.

United would, however, hold on to win the game and the trophy. Their triumph will go down as one of the biggest FA Cup upsets in the last decade of the competition.

In fact, the Red Devils entered the match as +750 underdogs. United will now feature in next season’s Europa League. However, the result also now pushes Newcastle out of a European competition altogether and drops Chelsea to the Conference League.

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