English football rolled the dice one last time but could not stop Man City


By Sam Wallace, Chief Football Writer at Wembley

Only Internazionale of Milan, the third best team in Italy this year, stand between Manchester City and what feels less like the jolly treble of yore and more the establishment of a dictatorship of sorts of domestic and European football.

This was the last roll of the dice from the English game to stop them. A chaotic Manchester United who conceded within 13 seconds – needless to say, a record for an FA Cup final – and then spent much of the game with that indignity firmly in their minds. Of course, from that point, with Sir Alex Ferguson barely back in his seat having carried the FA Cup onto the pitch, the thought was that it could have been much worse for the deposed kings of Manchester.

They did not go the way of Watford, beaten by six in the FA Cup final four years earlier by Pep Guardiola’s winning machine, but then it still felt like the divide was uncomfortable for them. No doubt Inter have a plan for all this. First on the list will be not to concede within the time it takes to tie a pair of shoelaces.

The strange thing was that for all Guardiola’s protests to the contrary, this was not a vintage City performance by their towering standards. Erling Haaland charged the United defence to create the space in behind but never looked as certain of scoring. Kevin De Bruyne was the first player substituted.

Guardiola also selected his second-choice goalkeeper, Stefan Ortega, and at times it felt like he was just trying to make it more interesting. The German is not at the level of Ederson, but then United never really got to test that theory.

It matters not because there is always someone else to step up for City. Once again it was the sparkling Ilkay Gundogan who scored volleys with his right foot and then his left foot. Remarkable to think he might yet leave this summer, but then renewal is what City have done best.

As the FA Cup winners came up for their medals, Ferguson as well as David Gill and one of the six Glazer siblings, the ponytailed Avram, were obliged to shake the hands of every beaming man in blue. A well-timed retirement ten years ago was supposed to have saved Ferguson from these kinds of horrors and yet he insists on putting himself through them on a regular basis. You wonder if he recognises a lot of his great sides in this one created by Abu Dhabi.

Ferguson’s treble team of 1999 conspired many times to throw away what became the club’s greatest-ever season – only always to rescue it at the death. This City team is different. They bear down on Istanbul and the Champions League final on Saturday like the most irresistible of forces. One of the opposition’s two first choice strikers is Edin Dzeko, whom they sold seven years ago. Inter may find a way. Yet seven days out it feels more like City are simply ironing out the last details of the season, rather than heading into the European game’s biggest final of all with the usual jeopardy.

Pep Guardiola (R) Sir Alex Ferguson (L) - Man City one win from Treble after exquisite Gundogan double downs Man Utd - Getty Images/Chris Brunskill

Pep Guardiola (R) Sir Alex Ferguson (L) – Man City one win from Treble after exquisite Gundogan double downs Man Utd – Getty Images/Chris Brunskill

This is the difference in the treble now, with the finely-grooved Guardiola method turbo-charged by the Abu Dhabi wealth. It is less of a curio built on tenacity, skill and good fortune and more of an obligation. Guardiola is even talking that way. “Everything will not be complete if we don’t win the Champions League,” he said afterwards, “so we have to do it.”

There are also those 115 Premier League charges which, of course, hang around the edges of this, the second league and FA Cup double of the Abu Dhabi era. Whether the Football Association might apply them itself whenever the legal battle is settled, who knows. Uefa has already lost that fight with City and will not attempt to replay it anytime soon. In the meantime, the trophies accumulate for Guardiola and his bosses in the Gulf.

As for United, the needle seems stuck on this takeover that drags inexorably into the summer. Erik ten Hag has salvaged a season that looked unlikely after that defeat to Brentford last August. He has sorted the spare parts of many different eras into something coherent and was at pains to point out that United have won 42 games this season, just one fewer than City. A cold kind of comfort when Ten Hag’s team were in the Europa League and not the Champions League but you can see his point.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford after the final whistle - Man City one win from Treble after Gundogan double downs Man Utd – latest reaction - Getty Images/Matthew Peters
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford after the final whistle – Man City one win from Treble after Gundogan double downs Man Utd – latest reaction – Getty Images/Matthew Peters

This was a game that once again exposed the weaknesses in United. Big talk of clear-outs and reboots but the complications of financial fair play rules – and the salaries United pay – makes it more than difficult. United will have to avoid putting a foot wrong for years in their player trading. Did Ten Hag have a plan for a completed takeover and a plan for the alternative? “I only have one plan which is to improve this club and this team,” he said, “and I will fight for it and my ideas.”

The kind of bombastic answer designed to disguise the uncertainty all must feel – and who can blame him? He was obliged to defend David De Gea again for his part in the two Gundogan goals. The best player in the leanest era since the 1980s for United is coming to an end of his usefulness and there will be no easy decision. Yet it was the same for others. Jadon Sancho, Christian Eriksen – both in a FA Cup final but not really part of it.

United’s best player in the second half was the substitute Alejandro Garnacho who benefited from being thrust in among those tired legs and with little to consider other than going forward. Another substitute Scott McTominay had one headed off the line by the reliably excellent John Stones. Wout Weghorst was launched from the bench too. The difference in the benches was perhaps the most stark. Riyad Mahrez did not play a minute for City. He would have walked into United’s team.

Bruno Fernandes pulled United level with a penalty given for a handball from Jack Grealish spotted by the Var David Coote – or at least what passes for handball under the law now. The ball had dropped over his head, and as he turned to face Aaron Wan-Bissaka behind him it had brushed his fingers. Good fortune against City, however, is not enough

Match details

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ortega 6; Walker 7, Dias 7, Stones 8, Akanji 6; Rodrigo 7, Gundogan 9, De Bruyne 7; Silva 6, Haaland 6, Grealish 6.
Booked: Ortega, Rodrigo.
Goals: Gundogan 1, 51
Subs not used: Ederson (g), Phillips, Alvarez, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis 
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea 4; Wan-Bissaka 7, Victor Lindelof 6, Varane 6, Shaw 6; Casemiro 6, Fred 5; Fernandes 7, Eriksen 4, Sancho 5; Rashford 6. Subs: Garnacho 62 (Eriksen), Weghorst 78 (Sancho), McTominay 83 (Lindelof).
Booked: Wan-Bissaka, Fred.
Goal: Ferandes 33
Subs not used:Butland (g), Maguire, Malacia, Dalot, Weghorst, Pellistri, Elanga.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Ilkay Gundogan’s captain’s contribution inspires Man City – as it happened

05:59 PM

The team photo with the trophy

Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Cup - Reuters/Paul Childs

Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Cup – Reuters/Paul Childs

05:50 PM

Guardiola on the tactical battle

We can now talk about the Treble. Of course we still have to win the Champions League. We performed so well for our city and our fans.

They follow man to man so tight and we didn’t expect them to defend so narrow. We found more spaces in the second half.

Tomorrow and the next day they can have off. We’ve then got three or four sessions to train for Inter Milan. We’ll travel on Thursday morning after training.

It was so important for us today. The FA Cup is so nice.

I’m a Barcelona fan but I will love this club for the rest of my life. I know today we gave our fans a good gift to enjoy against our neighbours.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after winning the FA Cup - Reuters/Carl Recine

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after winning the FA Cup – Reuters/Carl Recine

05:45 PM

Ten Hag on his team’s performance

We are broken and disappointed of course. I am proud of my team, we did very well.

We found ourselves in the game with a great spirit and organisation. In the end we could have even score the equaliser.

When you play against City and concede very little from open play it is a big compliment for the team.

05:40 PM

Bruno Fernandes on United’s mood

Everyone is down and it’s really difficult. We wanted to end the season in a different way but it wasn’t possible.

We’ve made big steps for next season, it wasn’t a successful season overall but it was a good one. We have come back next season and try to win bigger trophies.

05:39 PM

Guardiola in jovial mood about City’s first goal

That was a genius manager plan! I said play to Haaland and knock it down.

[On scoring from a long ball forward] I am adapting to English football!

05:32 PM

Pep Guardiola dressed for the occasion

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, lifts the FA Cup Trophy - Getty Images/Michael Regan

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, lifts the FA Cup Trophy – Getty Images/Michael Regan

05:23 PM

Ilkay Gundogan and City lift the cup

 Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City lifts the FA Cup Trophy after the team's victory in the Emirates FA Cup Final - Getty Images/Michael Regan

Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City lifts the FA Cup Trophy after the team’s victory in the Emirates FA Cup Final – Getty Images/Michael Regan

05:22 PM

Grealish on his City team-mates

The best thing about this team is we have a mix of everything. Everyone is confident, we’ve got older more experienced lads and the younger lads are learning too.

We’ll have a good night tonight and then straight back at it on Sunday and Monday for a big game next week.

05:22 PM

Man Utd’s dejection

Casemiro and David De Gea of Manchester United look dejected following the team's defeat in the Emirates FA Cup Final - Getty Images/Clive Rose

Casemiro and David De Gea of Manchester United look dejected following the team’s defeat in the Emirates FA Cup Final – Getty Images/Clive Rose

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United looks dejected following the team's defeat in the Emirates FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Manchester United - Getty Images/Michael Regan

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United looks dejected following the team’s defeat in the Emirates FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Manchester United – Getty Images/Michael Regan

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag after the final whistle in the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium - PA/Martin Rickett

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag after the final whistle in the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium – PA/Martin Rickett

05:13 PM

Gundogan on his Man City futures

To be honest, I don’t need these kind of days to feel appreciated. I know that, that’s why I’m here seven years. Nothing is decided yet. We’re going to see what’s going to happen.

05:10 PM

The City celebrations are already in full swing

Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish of Manchester City celebrate following the team's victory in the Emirates FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Manchester United - Getty Images/Shaun Botterill
Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates after his team won the English FA Cup final soccer match - AP/Jon Super

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland celebrates after his team won the English FA Cup final soccer match – AP/Jon Super

Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola celebrates after his team winning the English FA Cup final - AP/Dave Thompson

Manchester City’s head coach Pep Guardiola celebrates after his team winning the English FA Cup final – AP/Dave Thompson

05:06 PM

Jack Grealish still thinking about the penalty he conceded

Us English guys, we know what it means to play in these games. It’s a dream. I lost one with Aston Villa.

I don’t know how it’s a penalty. I’m not even looking at the ball, I could understand if I was looking at the crosser and blocking it.

05:04 PM

FT: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Man City are 90 minutes away from matching United’s Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League Treble.

For now, they are merely Double winners after a hard-fought win over their rivals at Wembley. It was not City’s flashiest performance but they always had that extra bit of class.

Will Ten Hag regret not starting Garnacho? United were competitive but pretty toothless around the box.

05:00 PM

95 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Haaland spins in behind to latch on to a long ball, and he heads for the corner. His cross bounces off Varane for a corner, and Haaland sends a fist pump towards the City fans. Time is surely up for United.

Fernandes sends one last long ball forward, but Akanji keeps his head to nod back to Ortega.

04:58 PM

93 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

It was Rodri who did just enough to partially block the McTominay header. That was an almighty scare for City. Walker is down nursing an injury which will take us beyond the four added minutes. There is surely a minute or more still to play. Laporte is replacing Walker.

04:56 PM

92 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Foden fouls Shaw which gives United the chance to keep the pressure on. They should be trying to feed Garnacho as much as possible.

SCRAMBLE! That was superb goalkeeping from Ortega to deny Varane who looked poise to score from a knockdown, and then McTominay’s header was flicked over the bar for a corner.

Walker sticks out a leg to clear. Almost some 1999-like late drama.

Manchester United's Scott McTominay (2nd right) looks on as his shot goes over the bar during the Emirates FA Cup final - PA/Martin Rickett

Manchester United’s Scott McTominay (2nd right) looks on as his shot goes over the bar during the Emirates FA Cup final – PA/Martin Rickett

04:54 PM

90 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Gundogan and Grealish combine, with the City captain running off Casemiro, but Shaw made a fantastic block to stop Foden turning home the cross. Guardiola makes another change: Ake on for Grealish, which tells you the plan.

Rodri penalised for handball in midfield, giving United the chance to put it in the mixer.

There will be FOUR minutes of added time to play.

04:52 PM

88 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Fernandes shows invention to fashion a yard for a cross, but it is too high for his team-mates in the box. City’s back four standing firm. A couple of flashes from Garnacho aside, City have managed the final stages of this game well.

04:50 PM

86 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Garnacho has been very impressive since coming on, but Rodri snuffs out the danger and halts his dribble into the box. City have a goal kick, and go long on this occasion. United are still within touching distance of City, can they produce one big moment at the death?

04:48 PM

84 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Haaland almost barrelled his way through and a clearance bounced off the striker and flew not far wide of the post. United are taking gambles now, there could well be another chance or two in this game for City. Fred and Shaw battle well to deal with Bernardo and Foden.

04:47 PM

82 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

City try to work a short free-kick around the corner of the box, but get it horribly wrong as the pass back to Gundogan runs out for a goal kick.

Poor forward play from Weghorst who is caught offside. Another Ten Hag change: McTominay on for Lindelof, which means Haaland is one-on-one with Varane at the back.

04:44 PM

79 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Grealish skips away from Fred who trips him and receives the yellow card he has been asking for all second half.

Ten Hag has rolled the dice: Weghorst on for Sancho to offer United a penalty box threat.

City go close to a third! Foden toying with United and standing a cross up to the back post. Shaw goes very well to compete with Haaland in the air, before Bernardo Silva flashes a ball across just beyond the outstretched leg of Akanji.

04:39 PM

75 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

This is United’s best spell of the second half by some distance, City forced to defend deep.

Garnacho carrying the fight again down the left, but Stones did well to block his shot.

Tierney then penalises Casemiro for a foul on Bernardo which looked very soft.

Guardiola’s first change: De Bruyne is off, replaced by Phil Foden.

04:38 PM

73 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Just when they looked in danger of hitting the canvas, United throw a few punches of their own.

First, Garnacho produced a lovely effort with the inside of his right foot, curling just wide of the far post from the edge of the area. Fernandes then wins a corner with a deflected shot which ultimately comes to nothing. Better from United.

Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho, second left, shoots on goal during the English FA Cup final - AP/Jon Super

Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho, second left, shoots on goal during the English FA Cup final – AP/Jon Super

04:36 PM

71 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Ilkay Gundogan thought he had his hat-trick but the flag goes up, correctly, for offside.

It all stemmed for Ortega hitting Haaland again who got the better of Varane and dragged City forward.

Grealish found himself in space down the left, he teed up Haaland who’s shot was well-saved by De Gea. Gundogan scored the rebound but he was offside.

 Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City scores a goal past David De Gea - Getty Images/Mike Hewitt

Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City scores a goal past David De Gea – Getty Images/Mike Hewitt

04:32 PM

69 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

That was United’s best attacking moment of the second half. Fernandes teed up Rashford who was in space away from Rodri, 25 yards out and very central. He had time to take a touch and line up the shot, but it was always rising. At least it’s a reason for United encouragement.

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United reacts during the Emirates FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Manchester United - Getty Images/Clive Rose

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United reacts during the Emirates FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Manchester United – Getty Images/Clive Rose

04:31 PM

67 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

Tierney makes United take a free-kick again after they tried to launch a quick one over the top for Rashford.

All of a sudden, the game looks very stretched and legs look weary. Rodri had the chance to run at the United back four but ran out of gas, before Stones got back to halt Garnacho’s fast break.

Guardiola will not want this game to see-saw.

04:28 PM

64 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

City found Stones in space between the lines but he elected to shoot from distance when he had runners in support. Feels like United are praying for a moment or a mistake at this point, the pattern of the game is set and going against them.

04:26 PM

62 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

City starting to find the free player more often now, flowing through midfield via Rodri and Gundogan.

Ten Hag has seen enough to make his first change: Garnacho replaces Eriksen which will mean Fernandes into a central starting position. Sancho will play on the right.

 Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City celebrates with teammate John Stones - Getty Images/Tom Flathers

Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City celebrates with teammate John Stones – Getty Images/Tom Flathers

04:23 PM

58 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

United have had a couple of promising attacks in this half but they look rather toothless around the box. City’s defenders are in charge of their duels. Fernandes mis-cues a pass horribly when there was a chance to counter. Guardiola is calling for his team to play simple.

04:21 PM

56 minutes: Man City 2 Man Utd 1

City now well on top, pushing for the third goal which would surely finish this game off. A couple of minutes ago, the ball dropped for Fernandes in a similar position to Gundogan in the first minute, but he hesitated when there was a chance to catch Ortega off-guard.

04:18 PM

From Oliver Brown at Wembley

Just when Pep Guardiola’s agitation on the touchline threatens to boil over, up steps Ikay Gundogan to lash in a low left-foot volley from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner. Truly, the German’s big-game temperament knows no bounds. Having all but single-handedly won Manchester City’s game against Everton, a crucial moment in the title race last month, he is electrifying the FA Cup final. Calm, precise, never panicking, he has an uncanny capacity for delivering when it matters. Surely, City need to tie him to a contract extension as a matter of urgency.

04:18 PM

From Jason Burt at Wembley

Was David De Gea slow to react to Ilkay Gundogan’s volley that restored Man City’s lead? it looked like it and will raise fresh questions as to whether the Spanish goalkeeper should keep his no1 spot for Man Utd.

04:16 PM

GOOOAAAALLL! Gundogan at the double

It was slack from Fred to give the free-kick away, and De Bruyne chipped the ball up for Gundogan to hit on the volley from the edge of the area.

Gundogan took this one with his left foot, and while it was not struck as clean as his earlier hit, it bounced through bodies and beyond De Gea into the bottom corner. De Gea got a hand to it, but the fact the ball skipped through bodies did for the United goalkeeper.

04:14 PM

51 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

Better from City, as De Buryne flashes a cross across the area from the right. Then the Belgian receives the ball close to the right touchline, and is tripped by Fred after a drop of the shoulder.

04:13 PM

49 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

That was superb play from John Stones at the edge of his own box, attracting the pressure from Fernandes and then feinting away and turning into space. But the City move broke down with a poor Walker pass, before Fernandes then messed up a potential counter. Scrappy start to the half.

04:11 PM

47 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

Sancho with a promising foray into the area, but blue shirts converged on him before he could get a shot off. Guardiola not happy with Akanji hacking a long ball forward, asking his defender to keep the ball.

04:09 PM

We’re back under way!

United get the second half started. I do think City fans will be the nervier of the two sets of supporters.

04:01 PM

Lindelof after being struck with an object during the celebrations

Victor Lindelof of Manchester United holds his face - Getty Images/Shaun Botterill

Victor Lindelof of Manchester United holds his face – Getty Images/Shaun Botterill

04:00 PM

Guardiola was not best pleased with the penalty decision

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, reacts towards Fourth Official Peter Bankes during the Emirates FA Cup Final - Getty Images/Michael Regan

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, reacts towards Fourth Official Peter Bankes during the Emirates FA Cup Final – Getty Images/Michael Regan

03:55 PM

HT: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

United will be the happier with the scoreline. After Gundogan’s historic opening goal 13 seconds in, United fans would have feared City ending this final as a contest.

But since then, United have done a good job of making the game a scrap and quite bitty.

City having more of the ball and controlling territory as you would expect, but there has not quite been the degree of domination we sometimes see from City.

03:52 PM

45 minutes+4: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

Wan-Bissaka is the first player booked for his second foul on Grealish in as many minutes. The United right-back did go sliding in, but there was not much contact with Grealish. One last chance for City to deliver before half time.

De Bruyne floats it in, and it is taken easily by De Gea.

03:49 PM

Keith Hackett’s view of United’s penalty

I was very surprised that Var intervened. The hand was in a natural position and I do not think that Grealish is attempting to make his body shape bigger. The ball did come into contact with the fingers of the Man City player but what else could he do? There was clearly no time to withdraw his hand. Once Tierney was called to the monitor then of course he was always going to change his mind. It’s a poor decision – and a very poor law.

The law and its interpretation need to change and we need to go back to emphasise the word ‘deliberate’. We need to see the hand moving towards the ball.

03:48 PM

45 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

Bernardo Silva showing some frustrating, kicking out at Luke Shaw who did well to block his path.

There will be five minutes of stoppage time to play.

03:45 PM

42 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

United carrying a threat on the break after Stones got a little cavalier in midfield and ran in front of a De Bruyne pass. Rashford earns them a corner, and Varane misses a good chance to give them the lead!

Casemiro and a City shirt flicked the ball on from the near post, but Varane could not keep his left-footed volley down.

03:42 PM

39 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

City work a clever short corner from which De Bruyne crosses into the box with the outside of his right foot but Casemiro heads clear. The Fred’s loose touch on the edge of his box gives City a chance to pounce but Shaw mops up.

The City get in behind down the left through Grealish and Stones, and De Bruyne goes down under the challenge of Fred in the box! Appeals for another penalty, and it was checked by Var but nothing doing.

City had a strong case there, Fred stepped across De Bruyne.

03:39 PM

36 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 1

City had the chance to strike back in quick order but De Bruyne miscued his chipped cross.

An object was thrown from the City fans during the celebrations and struck Victor Lindelof, which was the cause of United players’ concern.

This final is set up perfectly now.

03:36 PM

Fernandes scores! 1-1

Fernandes takes his time and sends Ortega the wrong way, rolling the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Game on, that is the lifeline United needed. Their players are unhappy during the celebrations, I think something may have been thrown from the City fans.

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernande - AFP/Getty Images

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernande – AFP/Getty Images

03:35 PM

PENALTY UNITED!

Tierney does not take long to award the penalty. Grealish’s arm was up but he did not know much about it, it was certainly not a deliberate attempt to block Wan-Bissaka’s header. Harsh, but could well be technically correct.

Fernandes to take.

03:33 PM

Possible United penalty here….

Rashford and Fernandes appealed for a handball against Grealish, after a ball went over his head in the area and Wan-Bissaka headed across goal.

Play continued for a good minute or so, but Var has sent Tierney across to the monitor.

We know what usually happens next.

03:31 PM

28 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

Shortly after the restart, City work the ball well to De Bruyne in space around 25 yards out, but his well-struck left-foot shot flew just wide of the post. De Gea had it covered.

Fernandes knocks an early ball forward for Rashford to stretch the City defence, but Dias and Stones do well to delay him at the edge of the box and the danger passes.

03:29 PM

25 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

Play has paused for a drinks break, which Ten Hag will welcome. It’s a redundant statement, but if you struck off Gundogan’s goal I’m not sure United have started too badly at all. City nowhere near as comfortable as they were in games against Real Madrid and Arsenal. But when you’re one-down against a side this good, it is slip pickings.

03:27 PM

23 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

The game starting to open up a little more, with De Bruyne picked out once again by an Ortega clip forward but he lost his balance as he carried the ball towards the United box.

United then enjoy some possession in the City half, but from Casemiro’s cross a glancing header from Rashford drifts wide.

03:23 PM

21 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

That’s the difference with City this season…United thought they had them boxed in, but Ortega clipped a longer ball to De Bruyne who found Haaland with a flick around the corner. The striker holds the ball up well and wins a foul from Varane.

Moments later, Haaland spins Lindelof outside the area but shoots over the bar from a tight-ish angle. It looked like his standing leg slipped.

03:21 PM

18 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

United encouraged by a ball over the top for Sancho to chase, but Walker shuffled across from right-back and picked off the run with a trademark burst of speed.

It looks like Ten Hag has Casemiro and Fred man-marking Gundogan and De Bruyne in the pockets. Can be an effective tactic, but if one link in the chain breaks there is space everywhere.

Fred dallies on the ball in midfield and is robbed by Haaland.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Manchester United's Fred - Reuters/Paul Childs

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne in action with Manchester United’s Fred – Reuters/Paul Childs

03:18 PM

15 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

United have actually responded reasonably well to that slap around the face 13 seconds into the game. They are trying to press aggressively when they lose the ball, taking the gamble to go man-on-man against City. Guardiola’s team are not finding it completely straightforward to play out, but do now have Haaaland as an escape route.

03:15 PM

12 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

United’s front three of Fernandes, Rashford and Sancho are staying quite narrow and trying to block through the middle.

Casemiro has caught Akanji high on the ankle with a nasty challenge, studs showing. Var has checked the incident but no further punishment is forthcoming. Akanji is back on his feet, but Casemiro fortunate not to be shown a card there.

Manchester City fans stand with their backs to the pitch ahead of the English FA Cup final soccer match - AP/Jon Super

Manchester City fans stand with their backs to the pitch ahead of the English FA Cup final soccer match – AP/Jon Super

03:12 PM

9 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

Ten Hag not happy that Fernandes is penalised for a push in the back as United piece together their first bit of football in the game. Eriksen is joining Rashford up top when United pick their moment to press City high.

Good work from Rodri to carry the ball through midfield for City and get them playing in the United half. For once, De Bruyne’s touch lets him down as he tries to trap a diagonal pass and United have a goal kick.

03:10 PM

6 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

Pep Guardiola, who has ditched the hoodie now, turned and punched the air in the direction of the City fans when that Gundogan volley hit the net.

Quite hard to discern a pattern to the game at the moment, everyone is catching their breath and steadying themselves.

Sometimes scoring so early can make a team tense and defensive, but I do not expect City to fall into that psychological trap.

03:07 PM

4 minutes: Man City 1 Man Utd 0

The stuff of anxiety nightmares if you are a United fan, and City almost had a second from a wide free-kick as Rodri’s glancing header brushed the side-netting. United need to find a way to stay alive. Lindelof heads De Bruyne’s cross away.

03:05 PM

GOOOOOAAALLL! Gundogan with a screamer after 13 seconds

The fastest goal ever in an FA Cup final, beating Louis Saha’s goal for Everton against Chelsea in 2009.

City worked the ball back to Ortega from kick off who went long. Haaland won the first header, and knocked it down into the path of Gundogan, who let it bounce before paint-brushing a volley over the helpless De Gea from 25 yards.

That goal will feature on FA Cup montages for years to come.

03:03 PM

KICK OFF!

The game is under way at a sun-drenched Wembley!

03:02 PM

City fans already doing the Poznan behind one goal…

I think we will know pretty quickly whether we’re in for the long haul or if City have a chance to blow their rivals away early.

02:58 PM

The latest from Sam Wallace at Wembley

Sir Alex Ferguson has brought the FA Cup out onto the pitch with Mike Summerbee. The old Scot couldn’t resist turning towards the United end and giving the fans two fists clenched. It is a great atmosphere at Wembley.

 Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and former Manchester City player Mike Summerbee - Reuters/Paul Childs

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and former Manchester City player Mike Summerbee – Reuters/Paul Childs

02:57 PM

The players are on their way out of the tunnel

Wembley looks glorious in the sunshine, although as ever the acoustics are less pleasant with the PA system at full blast.

The two teams line up to shake hands with Prince William.

02:55 PM

The brass band at Wembley plays Abide With Me

A brass band play on the pitch before the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, - PA/Adam Davy

A brass band play on the pitch before the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, – PA/Adam Davy

02:51 PM

Mike Summerbee and Sir Alex Ferguson will be carrying the trophy out

Mike Summerbee and Sir Alex Ferguson pose for a photo inside the player tunnel prior to the Emirates FA Cup Final - Getty Images/Michael Regan

Mike Summerbee and Sir Alex Ferguson pose for a photo inside the player tunnel prior to the Emirates FA Cup Final – Getty Images/Michael Regan

02:45 PM

Ten Hag’s pre-match thoughts

It’s great at Wembley, you can feel the history and it’s the first time Manchester United and Manchester City have played each other in an FA Cup final. I’m so proud to be part of it.

It’s a great opportunity. I said before ‘let’s make this one of the best days of your life’.

It’s about their own legacy and trying to pick up a trophy.

We have to approach this game in the right way and give everything we have, more than 100 per cent.

02:37 PM

Less than 30 minutes until kick-off now

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw during the warm up before the match - Reuters/Paul Childs

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw during the warm up before the match – Reuters/Paul Childs

Manchester City's Jack Grealish during the warm up before the match - Reuters/Carl Recine

Manchester City’s Jack Grealish during the warm up before the match – Reuters/Carl Recine

02:33 PM

The ideal gift for a United or City fan in your life

They can relieve the storied history of their club, as told by the Daily Telegraph over the last century and more.

These are personalised, leather-bound books filled with archive newspaper articles. You can find the City edition here and United here.

02:30 PM

Erik ten Hag on United’s motivation

“I know what is the thinking from the fans,” Ten Hag said. “But what we want is to restore Manchester United by winning trophies.

“So, on Saturday we have an opportunity to win a trophy and we don’t want to be distracted by anything.

“If it’s important for the fans then it’s important for us, so we will give everything to win the cup.”

02:28 PM

No FA Cup final suit for Guardiola today

By Sam Wallace at Wembley

Pep Guardiola has gone for green khaki hoodie and slacks. Big call on FA Cup final day. Erik ten Hag in the traditional Wembley suit

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup Final - Getty Images/Eddie Keogh

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup Final – Getty Images/Eddie Keogh

02:26 PM

Guardiola not having any focus on the Champions League final

We just talk about what we have to do to win the game. Two teams in the same city, it’s nice, for the first time in FA Cup history.

Next Saturday, I’m not thinking about it. Play the game and we will see what happens after. The FA Cup final is attractive enough, you only play these games a few times in your life.

02:16 PM

The two halves of Manchester at Wembley

Wembley Way looks a picture right now. Red and blue waking side-by-side and all it all looks very peaceful (from a distance at least).

Fans walk down Wembley Way towards Wembley Stadium as they arrive ahead of the Emirates FA Cup final - PA/aron Chown

Fans walk down Wembley Way towards Wembley Stadium as they arrive ahead of the Emirates FA Cup final – PA/aron Chown

02:14 PM

A Cup final tradition: checking the state of the pitch pre kick-off

Unlike when Man Utd played in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley in 2007, the surface looks pristine today.

Manager Erik ten Hag of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Final - Getty Images/Matthew Peters

Manager Erik ten Hag of Manchester United arrives ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Final – Getty Images/Matthew Peters

02:11 PM

The City and United teams

Ortega starts in goal for City just as Guardiola promised, but otherwise City are as expected in that 3-2-4-1 shape they have perfected in the second half of the season.

Without Anthony Martial, United start with Marcus Rashford as their central striker. Ten Hag could set up in a number of different ways in midfield – it looks like a three of Casemiro, Eriksen and Fred with Fernandes on the right.

02:08 PM

Bruno Fernandes’ pre-match thoughts

We prepare the game the normal way knowing this is a final, hoping the result is on your side. We want to bring the trophy back to Old Trafford and give joy to our fans who are here today.

01:39 PM

This could be the first great Cup final at new Wembley

Oliver Brown says the showpiece match has been a damp squib since returning to the national stadium in 2007, but this Manchester derby – with so much riding on it for both sides – could change all that.

01:25 PM

United fans descend on Kilburn High Road

By Sam Wallace

Kilburn High Road in NW London is a popular pre-match destination for Manchester United fans when the team is playing at Wembley. They were here in numbers for the Carabao Cup final in February but the crowds today are even bigger. Met Police presence required just to keep the crowds outside pubs around Kilburn Jubilee line station from spilling into the road. Not a City shirt in sight.

United fans stand outside The Brondes Age pub in Kilburn, north London

United fans stand outside The Brondes Age pub in Kilburn, north London

United fans pack the pavements in north London

United fans pack the pavements in north London

Met Police officers keep order in the streets

Met Police officers keep order in the streets

United fans gather outside the popular North London Tavern

United fans gather outside the popular North London Tavern

01:05 PM

Ortega starts in goal for City

By James Ducker and Telegraph Sport

Pep Guardiola has confirmed No 2 goalkeeper Stefan Ortega will start the FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Ortega has started every round of the competition for Manchester City this season and Guardiola says the German will keep his place at Ederson’s expense.

“He’s going to play yeah, it’s always like that, even in Barcelona, the keeper who has played FA Cup [stays in goal],” the City manager said.

Guardiola also said Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake were all available after minor injury problems.

“They trained well in the last two days – no concerns,” he said. “They are more or less fine.”

Guardiola also believes stopping Manchester City winning the treble could give Manchester United extra motivation in the FA Cup final.

For Premier League winners City victory could be the second leg of a potentially glorious treble with the final of the Champions League to come next week.

United on the other hand – as the only side to have won all three of those competitions in the same season, back in 1999 – will be anxious to stop them and protect their place in history.

City manager Guardiola said: “I could understand that. It belongs to them, that’s normal. Sport is like that.

”‘That belongs to us – we don’t want anyone else to do it,’ it’s normal, that feeling. It’s completely understandable. But it’s a football game, who will be better will win.”

United boss Erik ten Hag, however, has played down the party-pooping aspect of his side’s task. The Dutchman has enjoyed an encouraging first season at Old Trafford having won the Carabao Cup and reclaimed a Champions League spot.

“I know what is the thinking from the fans,” Ten Hag said. “But what we want is to restore Manchester United by winning trophies. We have an opportunity to win a trophy and we don’t want to be distracted by anything.

“If it’s important for the fans then it’s important for us, so we will give everything to win the cup.”

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