It was the definition of drama. An injury-time winner from Anthony Martial that followed a heroic penalty save from David De Gea. A moment that booked United a return trip to Wembley in one month’s time for their first FA Cup final appearance in 12 years.
It was “a very special atmosphere,” writes United forward Juan Mata in his weekly blog. “…as always in that stadium.”
The icing on the cake in a good month of April.United Forward Juan Mata
Thriller to the final whistle
An absolutely thriller to the very end, just as it looked like extra time would be needed, the Red’s never-say-die spirit made sure that would not be the case. Deep into injury time, Martial latched onto to a pass that just poked through from Herrera to score the game-winning goal. The moment sent United fans into raptures and the team into next month’s FA Cup final!
“It brought a burst of joy to all of us,” writes Mata, adding that the win was “the icing on the cake in a good month of April in which we have won five out of the six games that were scheduled.”
Former Everton man Marouane Fellaini put the Reds in front on 34 minutes before De Gea saved a Romelu Lukaku penalty and Chris Smalling put through his own net.
Going into the match, the Reds were 2 for 2 in league play against Everton, and the opening quarter brought hope a third win would follow, with United dominating possession and looking sharp in attack. But while the Reds created the majority of the early openings, United still needed De Gea to make some customary solid stops.
United's deserved breakthrough duly arrived 11 minutes before the break when Martial burst towards the touchline for the umpteenth time and pulled the ball back for Fellaini to steer home from close range.
Own goal ties it up
The second half began as the first had ended, with United on top and creating more chances. Everton sparked into life 11 minutes after the restart when Aaron Lennon broke forward and found Ross Barkley. Fosu-Mensah went in for the tackle with referee Anthony Taylor adjudging it to be a foul even though the young defender appeared to get the ball. Lukaku stood over the penalty but De Gea, the man who thwarted Leighton Baines from the spot last season, dove brilliantly to his right to push the spot-kick away.
Being at Wembley is always special.Juan Mata
Despite the setback, Everton had their tails up and continued their onslaught on the United goal. United struggled to get a foothold back in the game, although Fellaini went close to bundling the ball home on 65 minutes. Everton continued to threaten and drew level 15 minutes from time in the cruelest of fashions from a United perspective, as Smalling deflected a cross into his own goal.
But in the end, United came through as Martial kicked the game winner with just seconds to play. An amazing moment that won't soon be forgotten.
I can't remember the last time I had a feeling like this," said United midfielder Michael Carrick after the match. "It's a phonomenal feeling."
“We sealed our passport to the big FA Cup final on May 21,” writes Mata. “We have to give credit to David and Anthony…and I think that the team deserves credit, too, because we have gone through several adversities this season. We have won five rounds and now we can enjoy such a special moment as the FA Cup final, one of the most beautiful games in aa footballer’s career.”
We couldn’t agree more – and we can hardly wait for the next month to pass. See you in Wembley!