Manchester United booked their place in the FA Cup final after coming from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday. Goals from Alexis Sánchez and Ander Herrera overturned Dele Alli’s early opener, and sealed victory after an even contest. Chelsea take on Southampton in the second semifinal tomorrow.
Spurs were alarmingly quick out of the traps, and broke the deadlock with less than 11 minutes on the clock. A quick counter-attack culminated in an inch-perfect Eriksen cross, bundled in at the back post by the onrushing Alli.
United initially looked at risk of crumbling, and both Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen went close to swiftly doubling Spurs’ lead.
However, it was José Mourinho’s men that nicked the all-important second midway through the first half. Alexis Sánchez pulled off a remarkable feat of athleticism to head Paul Pogba’s dinked ball back across Michel Vorm and into the back of the net to equalise.
It was a goal from nothing, but still the momentum seemed to be shifting. Jesse Lingard almost sent United ahead just four minutes later, though Romelu Lukaku’s floated ball was a little too high.
The remainder of the half was closely contested, though it was Spurs that went closest to edging in front. A stoppage time drive from Eric Dier took a ricochet off Chris Smalling, and left David de Gea stranded, though fortunately cracked back off the post.
The interval offered the opportunity of a much-needed breather, and the second half started rather less spectacularly than the first. But just past the hour United took the lead, when Herrera drove a clumsy Lukaku touch through the legs of Ben Davies, and beyond Vorm for 2-1.
Spurs struggled to react, and the remaining minutes were surprisingly flat: the humid London weather seemed to have sucked the life from both sides, and chances were few and far between.
It certainly wasn’t a dominant performance from United, but then few big Mourinho wins are. United kept things tight, rode their luck, and took their chances. All in all, a good afternoon’s work. They’ll be back at Wembley again for the final on May 19.