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It's Man United verses Man City in FA Cup final

Football
 Graphic mural of Man City's Erling Halaand and Marcus Rashford of Man United. [Courtesy,X]

Manchester United recovered from an astonishing collapse to beat Coventry on penalties in an FA Cup classic on Sunday, setting up a second straight final against Manchester City.

Erik ten Hag's men won the shootout at Wembley 4-2, with Rasmus Hojlund scoring the decisive spot kick after the teams were level at 3-3 following extra time.

The game perfectly encapsulated a chaotic season for Ten Hag's men, who are well off the pace in the Premier League.

There was no hint of what was to come when United coasted into a 3-0 lead against their second-tier opponents in the London sunshine, with goals from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes.

But they have made a habit of tossing away leads in recent weeks.

Second-half strikes from Ellis Simms and Callum O'Hare gave the 1987 FA Cup winners hope and Haji Wright levelled from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time, capping a scarcely credible comeback.

Coventry fans taunted Ten Hag with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning" as belief infused the massed ranks of supporters clad in light blue.

A gripping period of extra time followed, with both teams hitting the woodwork, before United held their nerve to win the shootout.

"It was an incredible game, a strange game too," Ten Hag told ITV. "We had total control for so long and then gave it away in the last part of the game. We did show resilience to win the penalty shootout."

"We have to improve," he added. "We talk a lot about this. First you have to put yourself in a winning position but then you have to take it over the line."

- Robins factor -

Coventry manager Mark Robins famously played a key part in United's FA Cup win in 1990, a triumph that launched two decades of success under Alex Ferguson.

But his team's push to reach the Championship play-offs has faded in recent weeks and they travelled to Wembley as underdogs despite United's stuttering season.

United, 12-time winners of the competition, settled early and took the lead in the 23rd minute after a fine move down the right finished off by McTominay.

Marcus Rashford forced a fine save from Bradley Collins late in the first half but United doubled their lead from the resulting corner, with Maguire heading home Fernandes's cross.

Coventry, who scored twice in stoppage time to beat Premier League team Wolves in the quarter-finals, looked brighter in the early stages of the second period.

But the wind was taken out of their sails when Fernandes's deflected shot found its way past Collins in the 58th minute.

Coventry pulled a goal back when top-scorer Simms connected with a cross from substitute Fabio Tavares in the 71st minute and O'Hare reduced the deficit further.

The club's fans were now in full voice as their team mounted waves of attacks and they were level in the 95th minute when Wright scored from the penalty spot after Aaron Wan-Bissaka was adjudged to have handled.

Fernandes rattled the crossbar early in the first period of extra time when set up by substitute Amad Diallo.

Simms then smashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar as time started to run out.

Coventry thought they had won it in the dying moments, sending their fans delirious when substitute Victor Torp poked the ball past Andre Onana but a VAR check ruled that Wright was offside by the narrowest of margins in the build-up.

Casemiro took the first penalty in the shootout, which was saved by Collins.

But O'Hare and captain Ben Sheaf failed to convert, leaving Hojlund with the job of sending United through and he made no mistake.

A disappointed Robins said defeat felt like "kick in the teeth".

"We've just said to them they've put themselves right up there in the history of the football club," he said. "People will talk about this game for a long time."

Manchester City, who beat United in the 2023 final, edged Chelsea 1-0 in the other semi-final on Saturday.

It is only the second time in the competition's history that the same two teams have reached successive finals, the first sides to do so since 1885.

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