Manchester United won their first piece of silverware under manager Louis Van Gaal as they beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday evening.
Despite the scenes of celebration after the match, speculation was rife that Van Gaal would be replaced by Jose Mourinho as manager of the Old Trafford club during the next seven days.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) 22 May 2016
The first half was a tense affair with both sides creating very little between them; the only major incident came when Chris Smalling brought down Palace striker Conor Wickham.
Despite the foul Wickham was able to get back to his feet and put the ball into the net, but Mark Clattenburg had already blown his whistle for the foul. Leaving many of the Palace fans questioning the referee’s application of the advantage ruling.
In the second half The Red Devils began to assert some dominance over Alan Pardew’s side and they could have been two goals up and out of sight. After neat build up play and a lovely flick from Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini saw his thunderous drive crash back off the woodwork.
Then it was Anthony Martial’s turn to strike the frame of the goal as his header from Antonio Valencia’s cross hit the post and tricked wide of the goal. With 12 minutes to go Palace looked like they had stolen the game when Jason Puncheon smashed home after United failed to clear a corner.
But just two minutes later United were level when Juan Mata’s deflected effort wrong-footed goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Lingard’s superb strike wins FA Cup for Manchester United
As the game entered extra-time Manchester United were forced to rely on the skills of David De Gea as he turned a wonderful Yannick Bolasie effort around the post. On the stroke of half-time United were reduced to 10 men, as Smalling received his second yellow card of the afternoon.
But with 110 minutes on the clock it was Van Gaal’s side who struck the killer blow, as Valencia’s cross rebounded to the edge of the box youngster Jesse Lingard unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner to seal the win; Manchester United’s first FA Cup win for 12 years.
After the game Van Gaal said: “It is fantastic to win this title for the club, for the fans, and also for me because I now have won the cup in four countries, and not many managers have done that.
“We had 10 players, and we have played Tuesday evening also, but we have deserved it I think.”
But will Van Gaal be around the trophy next season? Not if the reports are to be believed.