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Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City: Gundogan golazos sink Reds at Wembley

United’s season ends on a sour note, and City are one step closer to a treble...

Manchester City v Manchester United: Emirates FA Cup Final Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Manchester United’s 2022/23 season is over after a frustrating loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup Final.

The Noisy Neighbors came away with a 2-1 victory thanks to a pair of goals from distance from Ilkay Gundogan, with the first being a sensational volley just 13 seconds after kickoff. They are now 23 of the way to completing a treble, something only Manchester United have done before in English football, and United fans will surely be Internazionale fans for the next week ahead of the UEFA Champions League final.

Once Gundogan’s goal went in the disbelief set in, and United looked a bit overwhelmed in the opening minutes. David De Gea, who stood still watching as the ball rocketed past him into the net, had a poor game with several poor giveaways and long balls as City ran their socks off to press the back line. Eventually things did settle a bit, but City always looked the more dangerous side.

Around the half hour mark United were handed a lifeline thanks to Jack Grealish’s arm. As he moved to block a cross by Aaron Wan-Bissaka his arm was left up in what the VAR determined to be an unnatural position, allowing Bruno Fernandes a chance from the spot. The captain calmly performed his hop-skip run up and sent Ortega the wrong way to bring United level.

Heading into the break there was hope for the Reds. They’d strung some attacks together, but failed to really challenge Ortega in goal. That energy was gone when the second half came around, and again a flat-footed United midfield caused problems for themselves.

United conceded a free kick near the sideline early in the second half after yet another turnover of possession. Christian Eriksen and Casemiro struggled in the middle of the park, with the former having rings run around him for much of the match.

Eriksen was then out of place defending the set piece, and an unmarked Gundogan fired another shot towards goal, taking a deflection from Raphael Varane on its way past De Gea.

Having surrendered another goal United made some changes to push for another equalizer, but City played very comfortable until the final 20 minutes or so. The arrival of Wout Weghorst, Alejandro Garnacho, and Scott McTominay helped to apply more pressure, and the latter two each had good chances to score. Garnacho in particular got to do something he’s best at, run at defenders.

Garnacho sent a shot just wide of the target minutes after Rashford saw an effort go over the bar. McTominay saw a shot of his own blocked, and then a stoppage time chance cleared on the goal line twice.

That was unfortunately as close as United would come to getting back in the game, and City killed off the rest of the clock easily with the ball in the corner and United unable to play through the pressure to mount another charge.

It’s a disappointing end to what has been an otherwise positive first season under Erik ten Hag. Losing any cup final will hang over a player over the summer, but losing to their Mancunian rivals on their way towards a possible treble will sting even more. They played hard, but they lost to a better team with a deeper squad and a much clearer sense of direction.

Now the hard work begins to get United back to the top.