ManU lift FA Cup
LONDON – Manchester United substitute Jesse Lingard’s superb volley in extra time secured a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday for their first major trophy in three years.
The game was locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Jason Puncheon coming off the bench to put London side Palace ahead 12 minutes from time before Juan Mata equalised three minutes later.
United central defender Chris Smalling was sent off in the extra period for a second yellow card but Lingard produced a moment of class to give under-pressure Dutch manager Louis van Gaal a first trophy in his two years at Old Trafford.
“It’s fantastic to win this title for the club, the fans and also for me,” Van Gaal said. “Now I have won a Cup in four countries. Not many managers can say that so I am very happy.”
Underdogs Palace took the lead when Puncheon, who had only come on six minutes earlier, deftly controlled a long ball into the area and fired past United goalkeeper David de Gea.
But within three minutes Wayne Rooney went on a brilliant run across the edge of the Palace area and crossed for Marouane Fellaini to set up the equaliser for Spaniard Mata.
Despite playing the second period of extra time with 10 men after Smalling’s dismissal, United continued to pour forward and Lingard’s strike secured their 12th FA Cup triumph, putting them level with Arsenal at the top of the all-time winners’ list.
“I saw it come across and it landed nicely for me, all I had to do was hit it sweet and luckily I did that. As a sub you always have to be ready. Thankfully I was,” Lingard said, with Van Gaal adding, “It was a super goal when we needed it.”
Smalling was the first Englishman and only the fourth player ever to be sent off in the FA Cup final. (Reuters)