Anthony Martial scored a last-gasp winner as Manchester United secured their progression to the FA Cup final with a 2-1 win over Everton at Wembley this evening.
Romelu Lukaku had a golden opportunity to give Everton the lead within the first five minutes of the match as he took the ball round David de Gea but Wayne Rooney was there to clear the Belgian’s shot off the line. Jesse Lingard then wasted a good chance to put Man United in front when his half-volley was fired straight at Everton keeper Joel Robles. United grew into the game as the first half developed and a period of pressure saw Marouane Fellaini score when he finished off Martial’s excellent cut-back.
United were the side in the ascendancy but Everton had a chance to get back in it when Timothy Fosu-Mensah was adjudged to have brought down Ross Barkley in the box. However, Lukaku’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by De Gea, who palmed the ball away with a strong right hand. It was a huge moment in the game and one that changed the mood as Everton gathered momentum. And United succumbed as the unfortunate Chris Smalling sliced Gerard Deulofeu’s cross into his own net. Louis van Gaal’s side were on the ropes but Martial raced through with moments left in the match before calmly finishing to send the travelling supporters into raptures.
What a moment. Unbelievable.
Martial was enjoying a remarkable game having set up Fellaini but he reached a whole other level when he raced through and finished to send United into the final late on. An absolutely wonderful moment for the youngster and one that is still difficult to believe actually happened.
That’s it everyone, pack your bags and go home. Because the discussion is over: David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world.
The Spaniard didn’t have too much to do over the course of the match but he stood up in the game’s big moment when he palmed away Lukaku’s penalty. He could, however, do nothing about Smalling’s unfortunate own goal. De Gea is United’s best player by a mile and success in the final will largely depend on him.
The 18-year-old is full of confidence and it shows: Rashford’s touch, vision and downright arrogance was a joy to watch, particularly in the first half.
Rashford would never have imagined at the start of the season that he would be lighting up Wembley and his rise in stature in this United team has been nothing short of remarkable.
Rooney continued to play in a deeper role at Wembley, lining up alongside Marouane Fellaini in the middle of the park.
Van Gaal would have had Rooney’s attacking talents in mind when he picked the 30-year-old but it was his defensive work which was crucial to stopping Lukaku scoring early on. Rooney, showing good anticipation, ran back towards his goal and cleared Lukaku’s shot off the line after just five minutes played. His sublime lofted pass then should have been finished by Lingard. Rooney’s excellent start set the tone for the first half as he sprayed the ball about the pitch. A real captain’s display from him.
Fellaini’s shortcomings have been well documented but he grabbed the crucial opening strike as his good anticipation and movement saw him well placed to stroke home Martial’s pass.
Fellaini otherwise put in a solid shift in midfield as he got stuck in and gave his former side plenty to think about before being substituted after 87 minutes. Van Gaal certainly seems to trust the Belgian in the big games.