mai 23, 2024

Coventry 3 – 3 Man Utd

2 min read

Manchester United blew a 3-0 lead and needed a last-gasp winner from Championship side Coventry to be overturned but scraped into the FA Cup final with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory, where they will once again meet Manchester City.

Their celebrations when Rasmus Hojlund scored the crucial penalty were fuelled by relief after an astonishing and woeful collapse had almost cost them.

Perhaps this was Erik ten Hag’s ‘Mark Robins moment’ – the Coventry boss saved the job of Sir Alex Ferguson with a winner in this competition in 1990. Hojlund’s spot-kick may have saved Ten Hag – but the fightback from Robins’ side exposed all the flaws of the Dutchman’s tenure.

Coventry pulled off a similar late show against Wolves in the quarter-finals. But this was a horror show from United who hit the panic button when Ellis Simms pulled one back with 19 minutes to play.

It had all been so comfortable until then, with Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes putting United into a seemingly unassailable position. But with a centre-back injury crisis compounding a vulnerability and openness in United’s play Coventry capitalised.

Callum O’Hare’s deflected shot looped over Andre Onana and in the 95th minute, Haji Wright levelled it up from the spot after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s handball.

There was drama in extra-time with Fernandes and Simms both hitting the bar before Victor Torp thought he’d scored the clincher on 121 minutes only for it to be ruled out by VAR for offside in the build-up.

When Casemiro’s opening penalty of the shootout was saved by Bradley Collins it seemed Coventry would complete the most incredible FA Cup turnaround – but O’Hare was denied by Andre Onana and when Sky Blues captain Ben Sheaf blazed over, Hojlund fired in a fine penalty to clinch it.

For 1987 FA Cup champions Coventry, 10 years on from being forced to play at Northampton’s stadium, this was ultimately another shootout defeat at Wembley after last season’s play-off final loss to Luton. But another reminder of how far the club has come from the dark days a decade ago.

For Ten Hag this was a victory but a chastening one. Two years to the day since it was announced he would be United head coach he has somehow steered his side to a record 22nd FA Cup final, where they will hope to exact revenge on rivals Man City on May 25. But even in victory, there will be fierce criticism.

More to follow…

What’s next?

Coventry switch their attention back to securing a play-off place in the Sky Bet Championship when hosting Hull City on Wednesday 24 April, kick-off 7.45pm.

Manchester United host Sheffield United on Wednesday 27 April, kick-off 8pm.

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