Last-gasp Martial sends Man Utd into FA Cup final

Monday, 25 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

1461441308419Reuters: Anthony Martial snatched a late winner to send Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United into a potentially season-redeeming FA Cup final as the favourites following a 2-1 victory over Everton at Wembley on Saturday.

After Marouane Fellaini’s first-half strike for United against his former club was cancelled out by Chris Smalling’s 75th-minute own goal, Martial struck three minutes into stoppage time. United’s opponents in what will be a record-equalling 19th FA Cup final will be Watford or Crystal Palace who play on Sunday. Everton, with manager Roberto Martinez’s job looking increasingly on the line, could only rue what might have been after they missed a second-half penalty and then took the game to United. David de Gea was as much the United hero as Martial, the Spain goalkeeper keeping out Romelu Lukaku’s 57th-minute spot kick with a superb diving save after Timothy Fosu-Mensah had felled Ross Barkley. “Everton played really well and had some chances,” said De Gea. “In one second Anthony Martial scores a goal and you win it in the last minute, it’s unbelievable.” In a rollercoaster of a semi-final, with a string of missed chances keeping both sets of fans on a knife edge, United had a penalty appeal rejected in the 66th minute when Fellaini’s shot was blocked by Phil Jagielka’s arm.

Dutchman Van Gaal has faced endless debate about his United future, with media speculation that Jose Mourinho is waiting in the wings, after crashing out of Europe and poor performances in the Premier League.

The final, with United on course to lift the trophy for the first time since 2004, would be a silver lining even if there are no guarantees he will still be in the job next season.

“When you see the joy in the eyes of the players it is fantastic to see but also for the fans,” said Van Gaal who has had all too few moments of such unbridled enjoyment during his tenure.

“We deserved to go to the final. I think the referee...we didn’t have any fouls in our benefit. He changed the match I think.”