Manchester United salvages season with FA cup title
A remarkable goal by Jesse Lingard in the second half of extra time gave Manchester United a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.
It is United’s record-tying 12th title in football’s oldest tournament.
After a first half short on excitement at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial both fired shots early in the second that ricocheted off the woodwork as United, which dominated possession throughout, seemed to be closing in on the opening goal.
But instead it was Palace that struck first in the 78th minute, with Jason Puncheon receiving the ball unmarked after United failed to clear a ball out of its area and powering a left-footed blast past David De Gea at close range.
The London club’s fans could briefly dream about a first FA Cup title and revenge for their team’s loss to the Red Devils in their only other final in this competition – in 1990.
But instead United struck back just two minutes later when Wayne Rooney made an outstanding run down the right side before executing a cross that Fellaini chested to Spanish midfielder Juan Mata, who finished off the play with a left-footed volley that hit off defender Joel Ward’s ankle and into the net past net minder Wayne Hennessey.
The match then came down to the extra period and seemed to be in Crystal Palace’s favor when defender Chris Smalling was sent off for a second yellow card in the 105th minute.
But five minutes later, Lingard finished off the game in style with a powerful volley off an attempted clear that gave Hennessey no chance to react.
Manchester United saved the best for last in a disappointing season in which it was bounced from both the Champions League and Europa League and finished fifth in the Premier League, while Saturday’s defeat will surely be rued by Crystal Palace fans for a long time.