Manchester City licensed themselves into the FA Cup final for the 12th time as they vanquished the first half threat from Championship side Sheffield United, they will face the winner of second semi final between Manchester United and Brighton in the final on 3rd of June.
Keeping an eye on the upcoming Premier League showdown against Arsenal on coming Thursday (12:30 AM, IST), Pep Guardiola rested some of his key players from his favored 11 ( Ederson, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne). Riyad Mahrez who didn’t score since last February scored a Hat-trick facilitating City to play their first FA Cup final after three years.
Manchester City vigilant about their possible Treble winning chance, started the game as favorites to go through, but Sheffield United were able to match City’s standards for almost the first 45 minutes until Riyad Mahrez scored from spot after Daniel Jebbison fouled Bernardo Silva in the penalty area. Had Iliman Ndiaye scored from close range just after 88 seconds since kick off this would have a different story. Also read:The Premier League Title Race, The Battle Between Arsenal and Manchester City is on
Mahrez was sidelined by Guardiola in the both legs against Bayern Munich, the Algerian forward showed his resilience and determination to be back in the starting eleven. In the 61st minute Mahrez scored a superb solo goal to put city in the driving seat and just five minutes later he completed his Hat-trick through a Jack Grealish assist.
After going 3-0 up, Pep Guardiola protected his players by subbing off Haaland, Gundogan, Grealish and Bernardo Silva. Erling Haaland who’s been in terrific form this season had a game off, the young Norwegian has already scored 32 times in the Premier League this season.
After a few lacklustre performances from Arsenal, City has the Premier League title in the their hands now, Pep Guardiola’s men are also in the semi finals of the Champions League where they will face holders Real Madrid. Also read: Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea (4-0 agg): UEFA Champions League post match analysis
After the game Mahrez said: “It feels very good [to score a hat-trick]. The most important thing is that two or three seasons in a row we’ve come here in the semi-finals and lost.
“Today, we wanted to make sure we got to the final. I think I had a good game.
“I don’t know really which goal was the best. It’s a good team achievement and we took the game seriously.
“It means a lot to be in final. We really want to work hard in every competition going.
“We’re in the final of the FA Cup which is amazing. Now we have to concentrate on the league and the next game against Arsenal.
“We have a very good squad and a very good team. We have to keep going.”
After the game Pep Guardiola said: “Excellent performance, we cannot forget three days ago we were in Munich
“It took a lot to be here, to try it. We suffered in some actions with long balls. In the end with the quality from Riyad [Mahrez] and the rest of the guys we did it.
“The quality of Riyad we have seen for many years in this country, also with Leicester. [He is a] huge mentality competitor. Huge ambition to score goals. Scoring at the end of the first half was so important.
“The question is not to be in this stage of the competition, it is where we came from fighting for many years fighting for the titles.
“Being there every year means the mentality of the club – not just the players – is there.
“It is an honour to be in the FA Cup final on 3 June. We will be here. Today we played really good, everyone was serious.”
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