Jesse Lingard struck a superb volley in extra time as Manchester United lifted the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Wembley on Saturday.
- Crystal Palace 1 Manchester United 2
- Fellaini and Martial hit the woodwork
- Puncheon opens the scoring
- Mata equaliser forces extra time
- Smalling sent off
- Lingard strikes fantastic winner
There were no goals in a first half in which Manchester United were dominant, with Crystal Palace getting more into the match towards the break. Wayne Rooney put in an impressive shift in midfield, while Marcus Rashford looked a real livewire up front.
United twice hit the woodwork as their search for the breakthrough continued in the second half, with Marouane Fellaini striking the angle from close range before Anthony Martial saw his header clip the post.
The opening goal eventually arrived later in the second period when Jason Puncheon latched onto a long ball over the top to fire the Eagles into the lead, but United responded almost immediately when Fellaini knocked down Rooney’s cross for Juan Mata to restore parity on the volley.
The match went into extra time, and United were reduced to 10 men when defender Chris Smalling picked up his second yellow card right at the end of the first 15-minute period. But it didn’t stop them from winning the trophy late on when Jesse Lingard sent a superb, instinctive volley into the back of the net in the 111th minute.
Proud moment lifting the FA Cup for the first time! Thanks to all the fans for your support today ???? pic.twitter.com/nrub2iBaG0
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) May 21, 2016
Manchester United looked the more threatening side in the opening 15 minutes, dominating possession and seeing the first half-chance of the match when Marcus Rashford saw the ball returned to him as he flew into the box past Damien Delaney, but his effort was over the bar.
The Red Devils continued to put the Eagles defence under siege, and needed Wayne Hennessey to be alert in the 23rd minute when Pape Souaré’s block on Juan Mata fell kindly for the Spaniard to strike on the half-volley with his favoured left foot, and he would have found the bottom corner at the far post had the Welsh goalkeeper not gotten his palm to it.
United had another good chance in the 34th minute when Rashford skinned Delaney to break free down the right flank and play it across goal for Anthony Martial to attack, but Joel Ward made a vital block to prevent the Frenchman from picking out the bottom corner.
Referee Mark Clattenburg then became the centre of attention in the 37th minute when Wilfried Zaha stole the ball of Daley Blind to break away into the United box, but Rooney was busting a gut to get back on the cover and make the tackle, but it wasn’t exactly surgical from the captain, and Eagles fans were hoping for a penalty.
Marouane Fellaini missed a great chance in the 52rd minute when Rashford met a pass with a delightful little flick to tee it up for the big Belgian, but the former Everton man launched it up onto the crossbar.
The woodwork was rattled again after 61 minutes when Martial was picked out by Antonio Valencia’s cross and sent a glancing header towards the far post where Hennessey was equal to it with another good save.
The breakthrough finally arrived in the 78th minute, when substitute Jason Puncheon latched on Joel Ward’s ball over the top to sneak in behind the United defence in the immediate aftermath of a half-cleared corner. The winger came bursting down the left, taking one touch to control it before firing past David De Gea at his near post.
But United were level just a few minutes later, with Rooney starting the move with a wriggly run that saw him dribble his way down the right of the Palace box and loft a cross in towards the far post, where Fellaini cushioned it down for Mata to volley in the equaliser in the 81st minute.
The best chance of the first period of extra time came from Yannick Bolasie, who had a go with an optimistic volley from long range, and sent in a low fizzing effort that needed an alert stop from De Gea to keep it out of the bottom corner.
Chris Smalling then saw red right at the end of the first period of extra time for a cynical pull on Bolasie, forcing the ref to brandish a second yellow card.
Despite their numerical disadvantage it was United who struck the fatal blow in the second half of extra time through Jesse Lingard. Valencia got down the right and played a low ball in that was half-cleared out the box where Lingard met it sweetly with a first-time volley that flew into the back of the net.