Erik ten Hag's Historic Triumph: Garnacho and Mainoo Lead Man Utd to FA Cup Glory Over Rivals Man City

Erik ten Hag led Manchester United to a historic 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final, with Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scoring decisive first-half goals. This triumph, marking United's 13th FA Cup win, secured their qualification for the Europa League and made ten Hag the first manager to defeat Pep Guardiola's City in a major domestic cup final.

May 26, 2024 - 16:32
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Erik ten Hag's Historic Triumph: Garnacho and Mainoo Lead Man Utd to FA Cup Glory Over Rivals Man City
FA cup winners Manchester United celebrating
Erik ten Hag's Historic Triumph: Garnacho and Mainoo Lead Man Utd to FA Cup Glory Over Rivals Man City

Manchester United triumphed over their rivals Manchester City in a thrilling FA Cup final, securing a 2-1 victory and adding another prestigious trophy to their collection. Goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo in the first half set the stage for United's win. Garnacho capitalized on a defensive error between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega to open the scoring, while Mainoo doubled the lead shortly after, stunning Pep Guardiola's team.

City fought back in the second half, with Erling Haaland's shot hitting the crossbar and Andre Onana making crucial saves against long-range attempts from Kyle Walker. Substitute Jeremy Doku managed to score for City in the 87th minute, making for a tense final few minutes, but United held on to claim the victory.

This win marked Erik ten Hag's second major trophy as United's manager, having also led the team to victory in a previous competition. Erik ten Hag: "You can see when we have the players on board.. you can see the philosophy. And some of them weren't even fully fit." Remarkably, ten Hag became the first manager to defeat Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in a major domestic cup final. At fulltime Pep Guardiola said, "He is a lovely person and an extraordinary manager." The victory also saw United qualify for the Europa League and brought their FA Cup tally to 13, just one behind Arsenal's record.

Interestingly, both Garnacho and Mainoo had previously shone together in May 2022, winning the FA Youth Cup for Manchester United. Their progression to scoring decisive goals in the senior FA Cup final highlighted their development and the bright future ahead for the club. If this match was to be ten Hag's final one in charge, it was a fitting send-off, encapsulating his impact and success during his tenure at Old Trafford.

Analysis: Has Ten Hag given Ratcliffe a dilemma?

In the lead-up to the FA Cup final, much of the attention was focused on the uncertainty surrounding Erik ten Hag's future as Manchester United's manager. Reports emerged on Friday indicating that the club had decided to part ways with the Dutchman, regardless of the outcome of the final against Manchester City. This speculation created an intense backdrop to the match, as fans and analysts alike debated the potential impact of this decision on both the team's performance and the club's direction.

Despite these rumors, ten Hag managed to keep his focus and led United to a memorable victory. His ability to steer the team to success under such circumstances highlighted his professionalism and tactical acumen. The win not only secured United's 13th FA Cup but also underscored ten Hag's significant contributions during his tenure. “I don’t know. For me this is a project. When I came in it was a mess. It is better now. We are still far off where we want to be.” “Two trophies in two seasons and three finals… not bad”. “If they don’t want me anymore, I’ll go somewhere else and win trophies. That’s what I do," Ten Hag said.

However, if the reports are accurate, ten Hag's departure would mean that the final against City was his last match in charge. This possibility added an emotional layer to the game, as the players might have been motivated to deliver a fitting send-off for their manager. The uncertainty surrounding Ten Hag's future made the triumph even more poignant, showcasing his resilience and the team's unity in the face of off-field distractions.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe: “It is a glorious feeling to win the FA Cup final at Wembley. #mufc clearly were not the favourites to win today but they played with total commitment and skill and overcame one of the great teams in football. We are all very proud of the players and the staff who work tirelessly to support them.”

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