Manchester City’s mission to win a treble of major trophies stayed on track after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday, with the first of Ilkay Gundogan’s two goals coming after a record 13 seconds.
With City having already retained the Premier League, now only a first-ever Champions League title stands between Pep Guardiola’s team and immortality in English soccer.
Gundogan, City’s captain, scored the quickest goal in an FA Cup final – timed by British broadcaster BBC at 12.91 seconds – only for United midfielder Bruno Fernandes to convert a 33rd-minute penalty against the run of play after Jack Grealish was adjudged to have handled the ball.
If Gundogan’s opener was probably his best goal for City, his 51st-minute winning goal might be one of his scrappiest as he met a cross from Kevin De Bruyne from a free kick with a left-foot volley that bobbled between two United defenders and past goalkeeper David De Gea.
United was looking to protect its proud status as the only team to win the league-FA Cup-European Cup treble, in 1999, but needs a favor from Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul on June 10.
It was the 142nd FA Cup final and the first between the two Manchester clubs, with Prince William and United great David Beckham among those in attendance at England’s national stadium.
City’s class of 2023 became the 13th team in English soccer history to clinch a league-and-cup double while the Abu Dhabi-controlled team won a 16th trophy since 2011, when City ended its 35-year title drought by winning the FA Cup.
It was the 13th trophy in Guardiola’s seven years at the club and the 34th of his managerial career.
The latest haul of trophies comes in the same season that the club was charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of financial rules. City denies the charges.
After the final whistle, City’s players ran from the halfway line and jumped for joy in front of their fans waving blue and white flags.
Right at the heart of the celebrations was Gundogan, who might leave City after the Champions League final because he is out of contract. He would depart as a club great.
In City’s final game of last season, he scored two late goals to complete a turnaround from 2-0 down against Aston Villa and clinch the Premier League with a 3-2 win.
The Germany midfielder has been arguably City’s star performer in the final stretch of this season, too, and gave City that stunning start after taking the kickoff himself.
He passed the ball back to goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, who booted it forward for Erling Haaland to flick on. United defender Victor Lindelof could only partially clear to Gundogan, who volleyed in right-footed from the edge of the area.
United was looking to clinch a double of domestic trophies in Erik ten Hag’s first year in charge, having won the League Cup in February, but more importantly ensure its class of 1999’s legacy was preserved.
Ten Hag’s team was dominated, though, until the last 10 minutes when substitute Alejandro Garnacho caused havoc down United’s left wing. He instigated a chance in stoppage time that saw Raphael Varane bundle the ball onto the top of the crossbar before City cleared.