Manchester United Survive Coventry Collapse to Reach FA Cup Final

Manchester United Survive Coventry Collapse to Reach FA Cup Final

Manchester United’s rollercoaster season took another dramatic turn as they overcame a stunning collapse to defeat Coventry City 4-2 on penalties in an FA Cup semi-final classic.

Erik ten Hag’s side cruised to a 3-0 lead at Wembley Stadium, with goals from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire, and Bruno Fernandes. However, Coventry staged a remarkable comeback, with Ellis Simms, Callum O’Hare, and Haji Wright scoring to level the match at 3-3 in the 95th minute.

The second half saw a complete reversal of fortunes. Coventry, who had struggled to create chances in the first half, suddenly found their rhythm. Simms pulled one back in the 71st minute, and O’Hare equalized in the 79th minute.

As extra time approached, Coventry’s momentum continued to grow. Victor Torp forced a sharp save from United goalkeeper Andre Onana, and Wright converted a penalty in the dying seconds to send the match into extra time.

In extra time, both teams had chances to win it. Fernandes rattled the crossbar, while Simms hit the underside of the crossbar. Coventry thought they had won it in the final seconds, but VAR ruled out Torp’s goal for offside.

The penalty shootout proved to be a tense affair. Casemiro’s weak penalty was saved by Coventry goalkeeper Bradley Collins, but O’Hare and Ben Sheaf missed their spot-kicks. Rasmus Hojlund stepped up to take the decisive penalty and sent United through to the final.

Manchester City await United in the final, after they defeated Chelsea 1-0 in the other semi-final. It will be a repeat of last year’s final, which City won 1-0.

Mark Robins Plots FA Cup Upset as Coventry Face Manchester United

Mark Robins Plots FA Cup Upset as Coventry Face Manchester United

Mark Robins, the former Manchester United striker who played a pivotal role in the club’s resurgence under Alex Ferguson, is now plotting to inflict misery on his old team as Coventry City manager in the FA Cup semi-final.

Robins’ goal against Nottingham Forest in the third round of the 1990 FA Cup proved to be a turning point in United’s history. It helped save Ferguson’s job and sparked a cascade of trophies under his leadership. Robins also scored the winner in the semi-final against Oldham, paving the way for United’s first FA Cup triumph under Ferguson.

Despite United’s recent struggles, they remain firm favorites at Wembley against Coventry. However, Robins believes the pressure is on Erik ten Hag’s side, who have endured a dismal second season in charge.

“People are talking in a derisory way about Manchester United,” Robins said. “But they’re still the biggest club in the world, with talented players and top international players.”

Coventry, meanwhile, have stuttered in recent weeks, losing three of their past four games. But Robins is confident his team can cause an upset.

“We know they are clearly favorites to win this game,” Robins said. “But we will get opportunities against a United team who concede a lot of chances.”

Coventry are bidding to become the first second-tier club to reach the FA Cup final since Cardiff in 2008. Robins has done a remarkable job since returning for a second stint in 2017, taking the club from the fourth tier to the brink of the Premier League last season.

Ten Hag is aware of the threat posed by Coventry.

“We know the manager, a former United player, striker, his long period there, he’s doing a fantastic job there,” Ten Hag said. “So, we know a lot about them.”

“Of course they are dangerous, they are in the semi-final. It’s logical. Last season, they were that far away (a small margin) from being promoted to the Premier League. So they do a fantastic job over there.”

Ronaldo's United Return Ends in Disappointment

Ronaldo’s United Return Ends in Disappointment

Cristiano Ronaldo’s tumultuous second stint at Manchester United ended abruptly in November 2022, following a controversial interview where he criticized the club’s hierarchy and manager Erik ten Hag. The decision to terminate his contract marked a bitter end to a transfer that had initially sparked excitement among United fans.

United had acquired Ronaldo from Juventus in the summer of 2021 for a fee of 15 million Euros, plus potential add-ons. The Portuguese superstar’s arrival was seen as a major coup for the club, given his legendary status and prolific goalscoring record. However, the move proved to be a disappointment, with Ronaldo struggling to adapt to ten Hag’s high-pressing style of play.

As the season progressed, Ronaldo’s playing time diminished, leading to growing frustration. The situation reached a boiling point when he gave an unauthorized interview to British broadcaster Piers Morgan, in which he expressed his dissatisfaction with the club’s management and coaching staff.

In the interview, Ronaldo claimed that he felt “betrayed” by United and that he had no respect for ten Hag. The club responded by suspending Ronaldo and eventually terminating his contract by mutual consent.

Former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had initially signed Ronaldo, has since admitted that the transfer was a mistake. “With the ball, with him in the team, it was no problem,” Solskjaer said. “But without him [pressing], we had to change a little bit from the different roles we’d gotten used to.”

Solskjaer also acknowledged that Ronaldo’s age and fitness levels played a role in his reduced playing time. “Cristiano – when you know him and speak to him, he wanted to play three out of four games, he realized he’s getting older as well,” Solskjaer said. “But when you leave him out once, he’s not happy!”

Ten Hag’s position as United manager is now under scrutiny following a string of poor results, including a humiliating 1-3 defeat to Manchester City in their latest Premier League fixture. United currently sit sixth in the standings, with their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League fading.

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