Emirates FA Cup
Wembley Stadium, London, England
105′ Smalling Sent off (Second bookable offence)
Manchester United equalled Arsenal’s FA Cup tally of twelve titles after coming from behind to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in what was a repeat of the 1990 FA Cup Final.
Substitute Jason Puncheon had briefly given the Eagles the lead twelve minutes from time, but 175 seconds later Juan Mata levelled the scores. Despite losing Chris Smalling, who was dismissed for a second yellow card, a superb goal from substitute Jesse Lingard in the second period of Extra-Time handed the Red Devils their first FA Cup title since 2004.
Despite United dominating possession, it was Palace who had the ball in the back of the net in the 17th minute. Connor Wickham looked as though he had got the better of Smalling, and despite being fouled Wickham surged forward before firing home. However, referee Mark Clattenburg had decided not to play the advantage despite Wickham being in a brilliant position and play was brought back and the goal wasn’t to be.
A minute later the Eagles went close when a Yohan Cabaye freekick was flicked-on by Yannick Bolasie but his effort was instinctively tipped over by David De Gea in the 18th minute.
Three minutes later the Red Devils went close themselves when a first-time effort from Mata forced Wayne Hennessey into a good save with the Welshman palming the Spaniard’s curling effort away.
In the 32nd minute United had a great chance to take the lead when Marcus Rashford beat his man before pulling the ball back to Anthony Martial who looked set to score but Joel Ward made a fine last-ditch challenge to block the Frenchman’s effort.
After the break United very nearly took the lead. In the 52nd minute a neat backheel from Rashford sent Marouane Fellaini through on-goal but his first-time effort rattled the woodwork with Hennessey rooted to the spot.
On the hour-mark the woodwork came to Palace’s rescue again. After a United corner was cleared, Martial met a delivery from the right with a header but he was to be denied by the far-post with Hennessey beaten again.
In the 78th minute the Eagles went ahead. After substitute Puncheon’s corner was cleared, Ward’s delivery back into the danger-area found the onside Puncheon who took a touch before volleying past De Gea.
However, the lead barely lasted a few minutes as the Red Devils were level within 175 seconds. Wayne Rooney made a fine surging run, he picked out Fellaini at the back-post who chested the ball for Mata who volleyed home with Ward unable to prevent the ball from closing the line.
In the 3rd minute of normal time Palace nearly got the winner. Wilfried Zaha dispossessed Smalling before firing the ball into the side-netting.
Eventually the game went to Extra-Time and four minutes from the interval, Palace nearly went ahead. Bolasie met a clearing header on the volley but De Gea made a fine save to tip it behind.
Right on the stroke of half-time in Extra-Time, United were reduced to ten men. Despite Smalling already been booked, the centre-back cynically pulled back Bolasie and referee Clattenburg had no option but to give the United man his second booking before sending him off.
Immediately after the interval the Eagles tried to make use of their man advantage. A minute after the restart Zaha found substitute Dwight Gayle whose poked finish forced De Gea into a fine save with his feet.
Three minutes later Lingard found Michael Carrick with a cross, but despite having a free header, the midfielder somehow headed wide.
A minute later United went ahead. Antonio Valencia did well to get forward and after his initial cross was blocked, the ball dropped to Lingard who exquisitely volleyed home into the top-corner to put the side with ten men ahead.
Palace still tried to find an equaliser and went close six minutes later when Ward played Zaha through on-goal but De Gea got there to claim the ball at the feet of the winger. Three minutes later they went close when Zaha beat his man before he fired an effort over the bar.
The result meant that United equalled Arsenal’s FA Cup tally of twelve titles whilst Alan Pardew lost his third FA Cup Final, his second as a manger and his second as a member of Crystal Palace.