Coventry suffer FA Cup heartbreak as Manchester United prevail on penalties

Underdogs have late winner ruled out by VAR in extra-time before United fare better in the shootout to set up a final date with Man City

FA Cup semi-final: Coventry 3 Manchester United 3 (United win 4-2 on penalties)

This was the mother and father of all FA Cup ties and, in the end, Manchester United somehow scraped through 4-2 on penalties, after a beyond valiant Coventry City pulled back a 3-0 deficit at 71 minutes, forcing extra-time in the 95th-minute of the normal via Haji Wright’s cooler than cool equalising penalty.

When the shootout came, Bradley Collins saved Casemiro’s opener before Coventry took a 2-1 lead through Wright and Victor Torp, who had had a goal disallowed via VAR in the final minute of extra time. But sheer heartache followed for the Sky Blues – they would not register again.

Following Christian Eriksen making it 2-2, Andre Onana dived right to save Callum O’Hare’s effort, Bruno Fernandes made it 3-2 for United, and then, agonisingly, the Coventry captain, Ben Sheaf, skied his attempt.

This left Rasmus Hojlund to put Erik ten Hag’s embattled men into a second consecutive Cup final against Manchester City: he did, the strike clean and to Collins’s left.


Before all of this Ten Hag’s side had been cruising, United’s delighted fans chant of “Bruno, Bruno” to their captain signalling their third goal and this semi-final seemingly over just before the hour, Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire having already given United a two-goal half-time lead.

But, as with this Ten Hag vintage, even a three-goal lead against the Championship’s eighth-ranked team, coming off a 3-0 hammering by Birmingham, was not enough.

In the fight to keep his job the Ten Hag air-punch that greeted Fernandes’s smoothly engineered goal may have carried extra feeling. Yet now the self-destruct button was pressed, Ellis Simms beating Onana with a half-volley off his shin.

The Coventry forward was unmarked and the move came from an Onana clearance headed straight back at United, who also failed to close down Fabio Tavares, recently on as a substitute, and whose delivery was met by Simms.

Boosted, Mark Robins’ men raised the spectre of their manager perhaps serving the death notice on Ten Hag’s tenure 34 years after his strike against Nottingham Forest in this same competition apparently saved the skin of another United number one: Alex Ferguson.

For a countless time those in red were suckerpunched via a transition. Coventry broke and when O’Hare was found by Simms, the number 10′s shot looped off Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s back and over the stranded Onana and in.

United were in frantic mode, as those in Sky Blue flooded them, and by the 96th-minute Coventry had somehow squared the contest. A cross beyond Onana’s left post was stabbed at by Luis Binks, another Robins’s replacement, and the ball struck Wan-Bissaka’s right arm.

Robert Jones pointed to the spot, VAR backed the referee, and Wright cool sent Onana the wrong way, the penalty beating the Cameroonian to his left.

- Guardian