Football: Man City 1-0 Man Utd, FA Cup 2011 Semi-Final

Manchester City defeated their bitter local rivals, Manchester United, 1-0, in the 2011 FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley Stadium, London, on Saturday 16th April 2011.

City will go on to play the winners of Sunday’s Semi-Final between Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City after Yaya Toure capitalised on a couple of United mistakes, first from Van der sar, who failed to clear, then by Michael Carrick, who played a square ball straight to the tall central midfielder on the edge of the United area. Toure pushed the ball wide of Vidic before smashing home between the onrushing Van der Sar’s legs on 52 minutes.

Toure’s goal signalled a spell of pressure from City, who had their tails up, but United could have got back into the game had Joe Hart not been aware to tip a deflected free-kick from Nani onto the crossbar. When Paul Scholes was sent off for United with 20 minutes remaining, following a dreadful studs up tackle, the game appeared to be up, and so it would prove as the minutes ticked away without United producing another shot on target.

It could have been a very different story, however, had Man Utd converted some great chances in the first half into a goal or more.

After a cagey first fifteen minutes, United had not one, but two excellent opportunities, both of which fell to Dimitar Berbatov. The Romanian striker was first denied by an outstanding one-on-one save by City’s goalkeeper, Joe Hart, before, moments later, putting a low Nani cross over the bar from literally one or two yards.

City came in at half time at 0-0, but had to be thankful for their goalkeeper’s intervention, and Berbatov’s uncharacteristic failure to convert from close range.

In the second period, however, City were definitely the better side and, once Toure had got them in front, it was they, not United, who looked the most likely to score.

For United, the result means that they now have just the Premier League – which they currently lead – and the UEFA Champions League, where they have a two-legged Semi Final with Schalke 04 of Germany, from which to garner silverware in 2010/2011. They must put away hopes of a treble, or, indeed, an FA Cup win, for another season, however.

Just how much United’s defeat today came about as a result of Wayne Rooney’s suspension, which he is currently serving for swearing in celebrating a goal at West Ham a week or two ago, is difficult to assess. What is clear, though, is that free-spending Manchester City, themselves without top scorer, Carlos Tevez, who has an injured hamstring, are firmly establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in all competitions.

Manchester City will take their place in the final against either Bolton or Stoke City, who kick off their Semi Final on Sunday 17th April 2011, at 16:00 BST.

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