FA Cup: VAR, Onana save poor Manchester United against Coventry to set up Manchester derby final

Andre Onana was the hero in the penalty shootout for Manchester United | Imago

FA Cup: VAR, Onana save poor Manchester United against Coventry to set up Manchester derby final

Ayoola Kelechi 18:40 - 21.04.2024

Andre Onana was the hero in the penalty shootout for Manchester United as they overcame Championship side Coventry in a tense FA Cup semifinal

In a rollercoaster of a semifinal clash at Wembley Stadium, Manchester United narrowly edged past Coventry in a dramatic penalty shootout thanks to heroics from Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana, setting up an electrifying FA Cup final showdown against local rivals Manchester City.

Onana endured as his team blew a three-goal lead and needed VAR intervention to prevent them from conceding a late equaliser before coming up big in the ensuing penalty shootout to help Manchester United reach the FA Cup final.

How it happened

The game kicked off with both teams showing attacking intent, but it was Manchester United who dominated possession from the start. The first real chance of the game fell to Marcus Rashford in the 15th minute, but the English forward squandered the opportunity with a wayward finish.

United broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when Diogo Dalot delivered a pinpoint cross into the box, finding Scott McTominay who made no mistake with a simple tap-in, sending the Red Devils into the lead.

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Despite Coventry's efforts to claw their way back into the game, they struggled to create clear-cut chances against United's makeshift defense. Dalot showcased his defensive prowess just before halftime, denying Josh Eccles a dangerous opportunity with a crucial intervention.

As halftime approached, Harry Maguire extended United's lead with a well-timed header from Bruno Fernandes' corner, putting the Red Devils in a commanding position heading into the break.

United continued to dominate in the second half, adding a third goal through a deflected strike from Bruno Fernandes, seemingly putting the game beyond Coventry's reach.

However, the Sky Blues mounted a remarkable comeback, pulling two goals back through Ellis Simms and Callum O'Hare to level the scoreline with just minutes remaining.

In a frantic finale, Victor Torp thought he had secured victory for United, only for his goal to be ruled out for a marginal offside decision.

With the game deadlocked at 3-3 after extra time, the tension reached fever pitch as both teams prepared for a penalty shootout. Manchester United endured a nervy start as Casemiro saw his penalty saved, but goalkeeper Andre Onana emerged as the hero, saving from O'Hare before Coventry's Ben Sheaf blazed his effort over the bar.

Rasmus Hojlund held his nerve to convert the decisive penalty, sealing a dramatic 4-3 shootout victory for Manchester United and booking their place in the FA Cup final.

The Red Devils will now face off against arch-rivals Manchester City in what promises to be an epic derby showdown for the prestigious FA Cup trophy.

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