Coventry City vs Manchester United FC Cup semi-finals: Red devils win on penalties by 4-2 to set up a Manchester Derby in the final

The Red Devils will face the Blue side of Manchester in the FA Cup final for the second consecutive time after beating Coventry City FC 4-2 on penalties.

Abishek Goswami
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Rasmus Hojlund scored the decisive pen to send United to the FA Cup Final

Rasmus Hojlund scored the decisive pen to send United to the FA Cup Final | Image: Reuters

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Manchester United are set to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final for the second consecutive time following a 4-2 victory on penalties against Coventry City in the Semi-final at Wembley. The Red Devils took a 3-0 lead but Coventry pulled off one of the best FA Cup comebacks of all time to draw the game 3-3. The match went to extra time and Victor Torp scored in the last kick but it was ruled offside.

The match eventually went into penalties and the Red Devils clinched the victory to qualify for the final. United have now become the first team to progress through a semi-final via penalties in the back-to-back seasons. The Red Devils have reached the FA Cup final for a record 22nd time, reaching the final in back-to-back seasons for the first time since doing so in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Read Also: UEFA Champions League 2023-24 semi-finals fixture and schedule

Manchester United beat Coventry City 4-2 on penalties to secure their spot in the Final 

United were cruising comfortably to a record 22nd FA Cup final thanks to goals by Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire, and Bruno Fernandes. But Coventry, playing in their first FA Cup semi-final since 1987, fought back with goals by Ellis Simms and Callum O'Hare before Haji Wright netted home a stoppage-time penalty.

Erik Ten Hag had to play Casemiro at the back alongside Maguire as Willy Kambwala, Varane, and Lisandro Martinez all were injured. United started brilliantly, creating lots of opportunities right from the beginning. The Scotland international, Scott McTominay tapped home a great cross from Dalot from the right following a good team move from the Reds in the 23rd minute of the game.

This is also his 10th goal of the season in all competitions. Despite the fact, United dominated possession the goal was the first shot on target. 

Scott McTominay scored the opener for the Red Devils
Scott McTominay scored the opener for the Red Devils | Image: Reuters

Coventry almost equalized in the 39th minute. Eccles charged in from the centre of midfield to the right side squeezed between two United players and whipped in a low cross for Simms in front of the goal, but Dalot pulled off a vital block to deny the Coventry player from scoring. That was probably the best chance for Coventry in the first half.

But United doubled the lead in the dying minutes of the first following a corner. Harry Maguire found the net with a simple header from a corner taken by Bruno Fernandes. A simple yet good header that went past the Coventry shot-stopper and United took complete control of the game. The Reds completely dominated the first half, allowing Coventry very few chances at goal.

Harry Maguire doubled the lead for United
Harry Maguire doubled the lead for United | Image: Reuters

Coventry tried to score right after the beginning of the second half but United extended their lead through Fernandes' deflected goal. Alejandro Garnacho started the move on the counter from the right wing for the Reds, as he moved the ball out to Rashford on the other end. 

Rashford lost possession but Fernandes picked up the loose ball and found the net with the help of a deflection. This should have been the game settler but United did what they have been doing all the season, messing up with the results in every way possible.

If someone is blaming Erik Ten Hag it would be criminal to do so. He hardly gets everyone available to pick his best XI and once again the intensity dropped in the second half and they paid the price. The Coventry forward, Simms netted the first one following Tavares’ cross from the right past Onana at the near post in the 71st minute of the game. It completely changed the dynamics and momentum of the game.

Manchester United conceded their second in the 79th minute and the fans just couldn't believe it. Simms made a great run on the left wing and squared the ball for O’Hare. O’Hare took a powerful shot which took a huge deflection off Wan-Bissaka and looped into the far corner beyond the reach of Onana. The stage was set for yet another bottle and United did that once again.

O’Hare celebrated with Fabio Tavares after scoring the second Coventry goal
O’Hare celebrated with Fabio Tavares after scoring the second Coventry goal | Image: Reuters

Coventry looked like an entirely different side in the second half as compared with the first. The goals from Simms and O’Hare have ignited belief in their fans. Meanwhile, they almost scored the third but Onana made a diving save to deny the ball from going in. He dived to his left to stop a stunning volley from Torp from outside the box. A sensational shot needed a magnificent save otherwise it was going in. The momentum was with the team in blue and finally, they got their third.

It was a handball against Wan-Bissaka and Coventry won a penalty in the 93rd minute of the game. Wan-Bissaka had his hand outstretched while trying to block a shot. VAR also confirmed it was a penalty and Haji Wright found the bottom right corner to complete the comeback. He sent Onana the other way and the Coventry fans went crazy at the Wembley. The match went to the extra time which the United fans never even dreamt of.

Haji Wright scored the third goal for Coventry
Haji Wright scored the third goal for Coventry | Image: Reuters

Manchester United started the first half of extra time with almost taking the lead once again. Rasmus Hojlund started a counter-attack, releasing Diallo on the right side. Diallo found Fernandes on the edge of the box and the United captain smashed a shot, which came off the underside of the bar. 

In the second half, Coventry had a chance at goal again, as they once again broke on the counter. Wright drilled in a shot from the edge of the box, which went wide. It was end-to-end action and the fans were going crazy with everything that was going on in the pitch. After four minutes, Simms hit the underside of the bar from a very close range on the turn

Coventry's substitute Victor Torp thought he had won it at the death. The VAR checked it and ruled the goal offside. The replays showed Wright was offside in the build-up.

The match went to penalties and out of nothing, Casemiro missed the first spot-kick after deciding to go first. Haji Wright didn't miss and it looked like the end of United. Diego Dalot and Torp both scored for the respected sides but Coventry were in the lead due to Casemiro's casual spot-kick. Eriksen didn't miss and equaled the score and then Onana denied O'Hare to keep United's hope alive.

Onana saved O'Hare's spot-kick to keep United's hopes alive
Onana saved O'Hare's spot-kick to keep United's hopes alive | Image: Reuters

Bruno Fernandes put the ball in but the Coventry skipper, Ben Sheaf skied it. From leading in the Penalty shoot-out, Coventry were on the verge of losing it. Rasmus Hojlund got the opportunity to send his side into the final for the second consecutive time and he did it by netting a perfect spot-kick. Mark Robins’ side fought back from three goals down to take the game to penalties but ultimately experienced a heartbreak.

United’s captain Fernandes said, “We put ourselves in a difficult position because we had the game controlled and could have killed it but we didn’t,” after the game. “Credit to Coventry for what they have done but we need to do better. We’ll never be successful if we win [only] the FA Cup. The standard of this club is much higher than what we have been doing. We have to do better in the league, the League Cup, and in Europe.” he added.

Manchester United Manchester City Bruno Fernandes Erik Ten Hag Harry Maguire Alejandro Garnacho Scott McTominay rasmus-højlund