Manchester United vanquished a one-goal deficit to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.
The Red Devils poured cold water over Spurs’ smoldering start after Dele Alli’s early opener, responding with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera either side of the break. Jose Mourinho’s side will now face either Chelsea or Southampton in the FA Cup final on May 19.
Referee Anthony Taylor added five minutes onto the end of the match, but Spurs weren’t able to significantly trouble David De Gea throughout the second half. The north London club is set to complete a decade since it last procured silverware – a League Cup victory over Avram Grant’s Chelsea.
Tottenham flew out of the traps at the Home of Football, and its 11th-minute lead through Alli was deserved. A long ball down the right flank from Davinson Sanchez caught United short-handed in that department, and bounced invitingly into Christian Eriksen’s path. The Dane guided the ball to the edge of the 18-yard box, before his pinpoint cross found Alli’s outstretched left trotter.
Spurs’ advantage was almost doubled moments later when Heung-Min Son lofted an in-swinging delivery from the left that barely alluded Harry Kane at the back stick.
United gradually gained a foothold in the match and was back level when Paul Pogba robbed the ball from Mousa Dembele and swerved it into the box. Alexis Sanchez stands at under 5-foot-7, but the accuracy of Pogba’s searching pass made meeting the ball with his head relatively easy.
After the break, United appeared to be in control, beginning to encroach on Michel Vorm’s goal with greater regularity and warding off Tottenham’s attacking legion. Sanchez was growing in influence and Herrera was busy mopping up and distributing in midfield.
Herrera’s winner came when Tottenham wasn’t able to repel a wallop upfield and Romelu Lukaku’s wayward touch inadvertently found the Spaniard’s late arrival. He leathered the ball past Vorm.
(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
“We deserve it. If we split the match into periods we were the best team for many of these periods. Even when they had the ball when we were winning we were totally in control,” Mourinho told BBC Sport post-match.
“We lost control after the 1-0. At half-time we spoke – we came back late for the second half because we spoke a lot – and organised ourselves.”
The Portuguese handler added, “We should ask ourselves why there is too many critics on all of us? We can finish second with six more points. To do that with all the fantastic teams we play against will be an achievement for a club that couldn’t do it for a few years now.
“And it will be a fourth final in three years. So, maybe too much criticism.”
United reaches a 20th FA Cup final with the result and will learn of its opponent when Chelsea and Southampton compete in the second semi-final on Sunday.