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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 24 May, 2018
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Hello! And welcome along to our coverage of this afternoon’s FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Tottenham.

Both sides can be confident of securing Champions League football for next season with top four finishes, but likewise both would fancy complimenting that with a piece of silverware.

Jose Mourinho led United to three trophies last year (League Cup, Europa League, Community Shield) but it’s been a decade since Spurs last claimed a title, winning the League Cup in 2008 — 3710 days ago.

The FA Cup is within reach for both this year, but who will come out on top to book their place in a Wembley decider here today?

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams are…

Man United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez.

Subs: Rashford, J Pereira, Darmian, Lindelof, Fellaini, Mata, Martial.

Tottenham: Vorm; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane.

Subs: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Wanyama, Sissoko, Lamela, Lucas.

Fans are continuing to pour into Wembley on a gloriously sunny afternoon.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final Source: Catherine Ivill

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No surprises from either side’s starting XI here today. Michel Vorm has started every FA Cup game this season for Spurs and so he replaces Hugo Lloris between the sticks.

For Jose Mourinho there are no major upsets, but there are a number of changes to his side’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial drop to the bench, along with Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian — while Luke Shaw doesn’t feature in the match-day squad.

Tottenham have often-times captured the imagination with beautiful football in recent years, produced fine finishes in the Premier League and compelled on the European stage against big-hitters, but the absence of any trophy to show for it is a cause for concern among fans.

It’s been a decade since their last trophy and in his nine-year managerial career Mauricio Pochettino is also without silverware. They will be determined to end their dry spells together, starting today.

They face a Manchester United side which has been the second best team in the Premier League this season, but one which has endured constant setbacks both with deflating defeats and a frustrating style of play.

Many United supporters are at their wit’s end with the Portuguese, calling for a new man in the dugout ahead of next season. An FA Cup triumph would certainly put significantly more leverage in Mourinho’s corner.

Right, with 20 minutes to go how do we see this one going? Let us know below!


Poll Results:




Not long now until our 5.15pm kick-off, with some of the Tottenham players taking the chance to have a quick scan of the playing surface in London.

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final Source: Tottenham Hotspur FC

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final

3Mins

A very strong start for Tottenham here, firstly via a direct sprint at goal from Harry Kane almost right from kick-off after Spurs regained possession, followed by a set of dangerous crosses into the box.

They will feel oddly at home here today — their home away from home as White Hart Lane continues reconstruction this year.

7Mins

Now then, United respond positively via Jesse Lingard, who forces a corner. The travelling support from Manchester make themselves known and create a mighty roar, however the cross is headed comfortably away by Harry Kane at the first hurdle.

For no reason at all that move reminded me of when Roy Hodgson decided Kane would take all of England’s corners at Euro 2016. I mean, really Roy? Strikers taking corners I mean really.

9Mins

Romelu Lukaku with a good chance following some patient build-up play from his side. Nemanja Matic is given the time and space to sweep in a cross, he finds the Belgian peeling off his marker in the box, but his effort flies just over the bar.

11Mins

We have liftoff at Wembley! Dele Alli gives Tottenham the lead in this semi-final with just 10 minutes on the clock. He gets on the end of Christian Eriksen’s low ball across the box to nudge the ball past David de Gea. The home crowd are absolutely rocking now. It’s 1-0!

17Mins

Tottenham really on top here as a chance for a second comes and goes. Christian Eriksen’s untracked run towards the edge of the box is rewarded, as Harry Kane lays the ball on a plate for the Dane.

Eriksen tries to curl the ball into the bottom corner to De Gea’s left, but he makes a poor connection and it bundles wide. Pity his shooting boots weren’t likewise at the Aviva that one time a few months back aye. But let’s not speak about that match. Ever again.

25Mins

We’re all square! Alexis Sanchez heads past Michel Vorm but goodness me Paul Pogba is due a huge amount of credit for setting it up.

The French midfielder outmuscles Mousa Dembele off the ball, picked out Sanchez unmarked at the back post and put the ball on a plate for the Chilean to nudge a brilliant header into the back of the net. 1-1!

27Mins

Antonio Valencia is the first player booked this evening. His rash challenge results in a yellow card from referee Anthony Taylor. Such an exciting, electric start to this game as the action seems unending.

28Mins

Heung-Min Son follows suit with a tackle from behind. He, too, is shown a yellow card by referee Taylor as things start to get a bit feisty on the field.

34Mins

Spurs with a free-kick routine right off the training ground, which ultimately fails in execution. Eriken picks out Kieran Trippier completely unmarked just inside the box. Like most of us, the defender wasn’t entirely expecting the pass and couldn’t get a decent delivery into the box.

40Mins

A first real lull in the game now as supporters are given a chance to catch their breath. It really was a bombastic opening half an hour or so, with goals at both ends and more than a handful of tasty challenges.

The crowd has fed off the eager, positive energy on the pitch. But the game’s frantic pace has slowed down just a notch the last few minutes with five to go before the break.

43Mins

Chance! The first in a while here. Patient buildup play from United finds Pogba just outside the box and with an eye for goal. He opens up his body and curls a powerful right-footed effort goal-bound. It narrowly misses the bottom corner he intended it for — as a result drawing a few worried, audible gasps from Spurs fans behind the goal.

45Mins

There will be two minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.

45Mins

OFF THE POST! Eric Dier is given an ocean of space and he lets fly from distance. David Ge Gea is a bystander and lets off a sigh of relief as the ball pings off the bottom of his post and back out after a deflection. Dier hit that from a good 30 yards and what a goal it would have been.

Flag 46Mins

Second-half: We’re back underway for another 45 minutes…. maybe more.

51Mins

Jesse Lingard goes down inside the box but referee Taylor waves play on. There was a real possible shout for a penalty there after a deliberate push in the back. As the terrible cliché goes: we’ve seen them given.

53Mins

Both sides seem to just be sussing one another out in these early exchanges of the second half. No-where near the intensity of that opening half an hour, as more nuanced passages of slow, patient build-up play ensues at both ends of the pitch. I think what we all want is another goal.

66Mins

Anddddd we have a goal! Ander Herrera puts his side back ahead with an excellent low finish. He takes possession just inside the box, venturing into the danger zone, and latches a low drive underneath the dive of Michel Vorm. 2-1!

64Mins

65Mins

67Mins

Mauricio Pochettino knows he needs to make a switch if he wants to draw level here. Former PSG man Lucas Moura has warmed up and is ready to come on any minute now. Will the Brazilian bring a bit more impetus to Spurs’ attack?

70Mins

Mourinho’s side are revelling here in attack. Spurs are pushing so high with their defensive line that Romelu Lukaku is being given free reign to make runs into space behind. The Belgian hasn’t properly tested Vorm as yet, but chances are flowing in this second half to such an extent he might just put one away any second.

76Mins

SAVE! Vorm forced to produce a big save there, as Paul Pogba yet again carves out a pocket of space to release a go at goal. His strike is full of power and force, but the Dutch keeper gets a firm hand behind the shot and bats it away for a corner at the front post.

76Mins

81Mins

Changes for both sets of managers as Jose Mourinho seeks to hold onto this one goal lead, with Tottenham no option but to go for break in search of a second. The game has slowed considerably following the prolonged period involved in the sets of substitutions.

82Mins

Substitution for Man United: Marcus Rashford replaces Jesse Lingard.

83Mins

Can Manchester United see this out with a little under 10 minutes to go, or are we heading for extra-time with a late Spurs leveller?

949643528 Source: Chris Brunskill Ltd

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final

86Mins

A matter of moments on the field, Marcus Rashford is shown a yellow card. The forward went down following a clash along the left wing, however referee Anthony Taylor deemed it simulation from the England international. He is booked for diving.

88Mins

Header! Victor Wanyama rises highest to meet Erik Lamela’s cross from a free-kick just 25 yards out from goal. He gets plenty behind the ball, but it doesn’t come back down to earth and flies over the crossbar.

90Mins

There will be five minutes of additional time to come.

90Mins

Rashford almost with a third to seal United’s passage into the final.

The forward is played through on goal with plenty of space to boast, but bearing down on goal he is caught by a perfectly timed sliding tackle from Eric Dier who recovered to snatch the ball at the last second.

Spurs attack at the other end with minutes left on the clock…

90Mins

Wanyama with a shot from range but it defects back out off a body in a red shirt. At the other end Lukaku almost sees himself clean through on goal with an empty net to shoot into.

Michel Vorm came a considerable distance in order to hoof the ball back up the pitch Manuel Neuer-style, but he mistimed his run. Lukaku, however, couldn’t get to the ball first following the scramble.

A minute to go…

90Mins

Man United have booked their place in the FA Cup final: their 20th! They chase a 13th cup triumph, attempting to equal Arsenal’s record. Ander Herrera was the hero with his fine second-half strike the difference in a close game — one in which Jose Mourinho’s side were the better team throughout 90 minutes.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher

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