Everton vs Manchester United 1-2 Highlights & Goals – Semi-finals | FA Cup 2015/16 – Download here

Anthony Martial’s injury-time winner sent Manchester United into a record-equalling 19th FA Cup final with victory over Everton at Wembley.

Martial ensured Louis van Gaal’s side will face either Crystal Palace or Watford with a composed finish in the dying seconds of an enthralling semi-final.

Marouane Fellaini gave United a deserved first-half lead from close range – but they were then indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea as he brilliantly saved Romelu Lukaku’s 57th-minute penalty.

Everton rallied after a passive first 45 minutes that saw them jeered off at half-time and they drew level with 15 minutes left when Chris Smalling deflected Gerard Deulofeu’s cross into his own net.

As the game looked destined for extra-time, Ander Herrera’s poked pass sent Martial clear and the striker showed great composure to drill a low finish past Everton keeper Joel Robles.

With England manager Roy Hodgson looking on, his international captain Wayne Rooney showed his class – and perhaps the future – in a deep-lying role behind United’s attack.

In the opening half especially, afforded time and space by a timid Everton, Rooney not only showed his full range of passes to create chances and dictate the game, he even showed the energy to get back and clear Lukaku’s early goalbound effort off the line.

Rooney’s place in England’s attack has come under increasing scrutiny with the emergence of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy as potential rivals, but this was the sort of performance that might just give Hodgson food for thought as he makes his plans for Euro 2016.

Romelu Lukaku was responsible for bringing Everton to this semi-final with two goals and a powerhouse performance against Chelsea in the quarter-final – but he had a game to forget here.

He had two good chances in the first half but twice his touch was heavy and let him down, then when his big chance came from the penalty spot he was thwarted by an admittedly brilliant save from De Gea.

Lukaku simply could not find the magic touch and his face was a mask of bitter disappointment at the final whistle.

He has made regular noises about possibly leaving Everton in the summer – he will not do so with a trophy to his name after a performance that came up short.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been surrounded by constant speculation about his Old Trafford future – but the dramatic conclusion here at Wembley means he still retains the hope of winning a trophy at every club he has coached or managed.

This was a two-faced United performance, excellent in the first half but ragged for much of the second and yet, as they have done through much of this FA Cup campaign, Van Gaal’s team got the job done and are through to their first FA Cup Final since 2007.

Whether he survives as United manager or not, he has the chance to make sure United have silverware to remember him by. He will lead United out as favourites in the final.

Martinez heard his players roundly jeered by thousands of Everton fans at they left the pitch after a dreadful first-half performance, but they were a team transformed after half-time and deserved to take this semi-final into extra time.

After the debacle of the 4-0 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby, Everton at least regained some pride and credibility in a second half in which they turned the tide of this semi-final.

The bottom line, however, is that Everton once again conceded a last-minute goal – almost a trademark this season – and in a week that Martinez himself admitted was “defining”, he has ended up a loser to both Liverpool and Manchester United.

With Everton’s new major shareholder, Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri, watching from Wembley’s directors’ box, Martinez will at least have a hard-luck story to tell. Whether it saves his job is another matter altogether.


Comments are closed.