Manchester City are one game away from a historic treble after Ilkay Gundogan scored twice to beat Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s men completed a domestic double at Wembley and can become just the second side, after United in 1998/99, to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season should they beat Inter Milan to become European champions for the first time on June 10.
“We are in a position we will probably never be in again,” said Guardiola.
“To win the FA Cup, the emotions are so special and to celebrate it with our people is really great.”
Gundogan scored the fastest goal in FA Cup final history after just 12 seconds.
United levelled on 33 minutes through Bruno Fernandes’ penalty after Jack Grealish was harshly penalised for handball.
But the City captain, in what could be his final game for the club on English soil with his contract expiring at the end of the season, volleyed home the winner six minutes into the second-half.
“Everyone knows the FA Cup is the most beautiful domestic club competition in the world, so to win this trophy again and complete the double is amazing for us,” said Gundogan.
“We have a chance to do something special and win the treble and we do not want to let this opportunity pass us by.”
The first major final between the Manchester giants had the most explosive of starts.
Most of the 83,000 crowd were still taking their seats from the pre-match festivities when Victor Lindelof’s headed clearance sat up perfectly for Gundogan to volley home a stunning strike.
That appeared to set the tone for the Premier League champions as United were barely able to get across the halfway line in the first half hour.
But Erik ten Hag’s men got the slice of luck they needed to get back into the game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s header back across the City box brushed the arm of Grealish and referee Paul Tierney awarded a penalty after a VAR review.
Fernandes coolly sent Stefan Ortega the wrong way, but the Portuguese’s celebrations in front of the City fans were met with a flurry of objects thrown from the stands, one of which struck Lindelof.
De Gea question mark
Having fought so hard to gain a foothold, United were made to pay for another slow start in the second-half.
Gundogan was the goalscorer again as he fired home from De Bruyne’s free-kick.
But more questions will be asked of whether David De Gea remains the right man to be United’s number one goalkeeper after the 32-year-old Spaniard’s sluggish attempt to keep it out.
“They were tough goals, they were so soft and avoidable,” said Ten Hag.
“When you play against City and you don’t concede almost nothing from open play, it is a big credit for the team, but if you concede goals like this it is disappointing.”
De Gea did at least make big saves to keep United in the game from De Bruyne and Haaland, while Gundogan was denied a rare FA Cup final hat-trick by the offside flag.
United rallied in a tense finale as Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho flashed efforts inches off target.
The ball came back off the City bar in a goalmouth scramble deep into stoppage time.
However, the Red Devils could not find the goal to deny Guardiola an 11th major trophy as City boss and protect the unique legacy of Alex Ferguson’s great side 24 years ago.
Only Inter in Istanbul in a week’s time now stand between City and matching the greatest achievement English club football has ever seen.
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