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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

Manchester United reach FA Cup final after comeback win over Tottenham

  • Alli opened the scoring after early dominance from Spurs
  • Pogba sets up Sanchez for United's equaliser
  • Herrera scores the winner midway through the second half
Ander Herrera, right, after scoring Manchester United's second goal against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final. Carl Recine / Reuters
Ander Herrera, right, after scoring Manchester United's second goal against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final. Carl Recine / Reuters

Manchester United fought back from a goal down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday to reach a record-equalling 20th FA Cup final.

United were made to absorb plenty of early pressure from Spurs and when Dele Alli struck the opener after 11 minutes, it was just reward for the London club's early domination. However, United levelled 13 minutes later when Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez latched onto a pinpoint Paul Pogba cross and cushioned a header into the bottom corner.

Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera then struck the decisive just after the hour mark as Tottenham's decade-long wait for a trophy stretched into another year.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino played down the importance of winning his first silverware as a manager to back up four years of undoubted progress at Tottenham beforehand, claiming it "wouldn't change their lives".

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However, Spurs started like the side determined to make a statement.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min had already seen shots deflected behind before Spurs went in front with a brilliant team goal on 11 minutes.

Davinson Sanchez's long ball picked out Christian Eriksen perfectly as Paul Pogba failed to track the Danish midfielder's run down the right. And his cross was inch-perfect for Alli to apply the finishing touch for his 13th goal of the season.

Spurs failed to make the most of their early dominance, though, as Eriksen scuffed wide from Kane's layoff before the England striker just couldn't reach Son's viscous in-swinging cross at the back post.

Pogba has been a figure of frustration all season for Jose Mourinho, who has often left the club record signing on the sidelines.

Mourinho said Pogba had shown what he is capable of in Wednesday's 2-0 win at Bournemouth after being substituted just four days earlier in a shock 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion that handed Manchester City the Premier League title.

And having showed the side of his game that Mourinho detests for Spurs' opener, Pogba demonstrated his combination of physical power and technical ability as he outmuscled Mousa Dembele before delivering a pin-point cross for Sanchez.

The Chilean has also been much-criticised since reportedly becoming the highest paid player in Premier League history when he moved from Arsenal in January.

However, Sanchez has a superb record at Wembley. His third United goal was his eighth in eight games at the home of English football for club and country.

Both sides were unfortunate to not take the lead in the dying moments of a captivating first 45 minutes as firstly Michel Vorm got fingertips to a deflected long-range strike from Pogba.

At the other end, Eric Dier then drove against the base of the post with David de Gea unmoved.

Kane had the first chance of the second period, but saw his shot blocked behind by Chris Smalling as Spurs again started on the front foot.

But, once more, they were hit by a sucker punch when Sanchez's ball across the face of the area fell perfectly for Herrera arriving late from midfield and, despite going in the middle of the goal, his low effort beat Vorm, who was slow to react down to his right.

Eriksen came closest to a reply for Spurs with a long-range strike that flew just wide.

Spurs will likely seal their place in the Champions League for a third successive season in the coming weeks as Pochettino's proof that progress is being made.

However, with Spurs only three defeats of 2018 now all coming at Wembley against the toughest of opposition in Juventus, Man City and now United, questions remain over Pochettino's ability to turn Tottenham into trophy winners.

RESULT

Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Man United: Sanchez (24' ), Herrera (62')
Spurs: Alli (11')

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