Match Report: Manchester United vs Spurs
Manchester United defeated Spurs, two goals to one, in the semi-final of the FA Cup in Tottenham Hotspur’s temporary backyard. The Lilywhites have enjoyed a glistening home record at Wembley Stadium this season, but goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera proved too much for Spurs in a pulsating match that kept the whole of Wembley on the edge of their seats.
Tottenham Hotspur started the livelier side and attacked the sticks of David De Gea within the first minute. Trying to replicate the fast goal scored by Christian Eriksen against Utd in January, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son had their efforts blocked by an alert Utd defence.
Fun fact, the Man U team never left the South after the Bournemouth fixture, they had been using the facilities of Fulham to train for the semi-final. Lukaku brought United their first opportunity on goal in the 10th minute when Nemanja Matic found him back post. The striker just turned it over the crossbar of Michel Vorm.
A minute later Spurs had the ball in the back of the United net. The two Lilywhite magicians linked up, as they so often have this year, to put Spurs ahead. Christian Eriksen found Dele Alli with a pinpoint curling shot for a simple tap-in. Spurs almost doubled up in the 14th minute. After an attack down the left flank, Heung-Min Son looked for an onside Harry Kane at the back post; Kane must have been half an inch away from connection with a stretched out leg, but it was not to be. United looked somewhat vulnerable in structure, however, some fine last-ditch defending from Phil Jones denied Alli an effort from three yards out in the 17th minute.
Spurs were not resting on their laurels, and Kane, Son, and Eriksen linked up fantastically up top to give Eriksen an effort from inside the area. Well marked by Ashley Young, the young Dane sliced it just wide of the post.
United fought back into the game in the 24th minute with a lovely passage of play. Paul Pogba dispossessed Mousa Dembele before floating a delicious ball into Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez was zonally marked by both Ben Davies and Jan Vertonghen but managed to wriggle away and head it into the bottom corner.
Eriksen, again, was the standout player for Spurs and also provided another assist in the 37th minute. He delivered a 30-yard lofted ball to Son, who hit it first time and just missed the near post by a yard or two. Eric Dier hit the post from distance with a low drilled effort on the stroke of halftime. That concluded a really open and end-to-end first half.
The second half, with so much at stake, seemed to tell a different story.
The first real effort of the first half for Spurs came in the 58th minute when Harry Kane’s shot was defended and deflected by Chris Smalling. Herrera got the winner in the 62nd minute. Lingard set the ball up for Herrera just inside the box. The shot was powerful, however, very near to Vorm, the effort just traveling beneath the keeper’s hand.
United looked to maintain their lead for the remaining period and defended well against a deflated Spurs side. Eriksen took a shot from distance with 15 minutes to go, but De Gea covered his left-side post well. Vorm kept out Pogba shortly after.
It’s an eighth consecutive FA Cup semi-final loss for Spurs, and unfortunately, it marks the club’s last chance of winning any silverware this year. However, Tottenham Hotspur benefit from a valiant spirit of comradery, which will serve them well in their Premier League pursuits to finish as high up the table as they can.
Manchester United vs Spurs Attendance
Wembley Stadium: 84,667
Starting Line-Ups: Manchester United vs Spurs
Manchester United: De Gea, Young, Jones, Smalling, Valencia, Pogba, Matic, Herrera, Sanchez, Lukaku, Lingard
“I have no regrets. We competed and dominated the first half. It was unfair to go in 1-1 at half-time. But in the second half they scored, the game was competitive. When you compete against teams like Manchester United it’s always 50-50, and today the victory was for them.”
Man of the Match
Alexis Sanchez was named the official Man of the Match. Despite his header that re-levelled the scoreline, Alexis Sanchez gave an inspired performance that had yet to be seen since his arrival at the club in January. Sanchez had a history of scoring against Spurs when he was a Gunner and it seemed to be the bitter rivalry that reinvigorated his taste to score.
What’s next for Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs have a bit of a break now, and will next be in action against Watford at Wembley Stadium on Monday the 30th of April. The game will feature as the sole event on Sky Sports MNF, and will kick off at 8pm.