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Red Devils capture the F.A. Cup

Written By: Robert Halter

In a repeat of the 1990 F.A. Cup Final, Manchester United faced Crystal Palace, twenty six years on. In the eleventh minute from a corner by Daley Blind, a glancing header by Marouane Fellaini, went wide of the right post. In the fourteenth minute, after collecting a pass from Michael Carrick, a low drive by Red Devils captain, Wayne Rooney, tested the Eagles shot stopper, Wayne Hennessey. Five minutes later, after Chris Smalling was booked for pulling down Connor Wickham, a free kick by Yohan Cabaye, bobbled off the head of Yannick Bolasie, which forced United keeper David De Gea, to punch the ball over the bar. But in the twenty second minute, Hennessey was sent sprawling across the goal, from Mata’s drive on the right, as the ball ricocheted off Bolasie and then Souare, from Antonio Valencia’s ball in. After Cabaye brought down Carrick, a free kick by Rooney, ballooned over the crossbar, a minute later. In the twenty fifth minute, from a Blind corner, a close range header by Fellaini deflected off Eagles captain, Mile Jedinak, over the upright. Three minutes later from a headed pass by James McArthur, a right footed shot by Bolasie was saved by De Gea and then Wickham’s left footed shot missed to the right from an assist by Cabaye. But on thirty three minutes, as Rashford broke down the right wing past Bolasie, his ball across was met with a strong connection by Martial which was blocked by Joel Ward. Another chance fell to the Eagles when a mistake by Blind, put Wilfried Zaha through on goal and it took the intervention of Rooney, to stop Zaha from scoring. On fifty three minutes, Fellaini, sent a strike crashing against the right post, after he was played through by Rashford. After Smalling handled the ball, from Cabaye’s free kick, Smalling carelessly put the ball into the path of Jedinak, who hammered an effort high and wide. In the sixty first minute, a glancing header by Martial struck the bottom of the left post, through a cross from Valencia. After a cynical foul on Marcos Rojo by Damien Delaney, the injury to Rojo required Matteo Darmian to take over. Following a foul by Rooney on Cabaye, the Frenchman’s free kick was knocked on by Scott Dann and a poor clearance by Smalling was fired over by Delaney. An uncomfortable fall by Rashford while challenged by Zaha, required Ashley Young to take over, while the Eagles replaced Cabaye with Jason Puncheon, who opened the scoring as from Ward’s over the top delivery, the ball was smashed high into the centre of the net by Puncheon from an acute angle. But United levelled on eighty one minutes, as from Rooney’s creativity and cross, a chest down by Fellaini, went to Mata, whose low strike cannoned off Ward, into the net. Palace later changed Wickham with Dwight Gayle and Man U replaced Mata with Jesse Lingard before the Eagles brought on Adrian Mariappa for Dann. After Fellaini’s header missed to the right from a Blind assist, the Eagles responded as Zaha drove the ball into the outside netting as he went free from a mistake by Smalling. In extra time, on ninety four minutes, Rooney blazed wide of the target from a pass by Darmian and then Souare had to cut out Fellaini from a cross by Lingard. After an elbow by Fellaini on Jedinak, a free kick by Delaney, was put into Bolasie’s path by Blind’s error and it took the hand of De Gea to stop Bolasie’s strike. But after getting a second yellow for pulling down Bolasie, referee Mark Clattenburg sent off Smalling. In the hundred and seventh minute, the legs of De Gea kept out Gayle, after Zaha’s through ball. Three minutes later, Carrick put a header wide from a Lingard cross when in range of the target but Lingard emerged a hero as he capitalised on a mistake by Delaney to ram the ball into the roof of the net from a delivery by Valencia. The Eagles tried to reply as Jedinak struck the ball wide from Zaha’s pass and then from Ward’s assist, it took a brave stop by De Gea, to keep out Zaha, and when Zaha miscued an effort from a Ward ball through, Manchester United won the F.A. Cup for a twelfth time.