Manchester City secured the first English domestic treble in the men’s game by impressively thrashing Watford by six goals to nil in the FA Cup final at Wembley to equal the record for the biggest win in the final of the competition.
David Silva gave City a crucial lead, firing the ball past Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes with 26 minutes played and then Gabriel Jesus doubled their advantage from a tight angle just before half time.
In the second half substitute Kevin De Bruyne finished off a lightening quick break for City to make it 3-0 before Jesus rushed through on goal for his second of the game and his team’s fourth. Raheem Sterling added City’s fifth and sixth in the last ten minutes of the game as they won the FA Cup for the sixth time in their history - their first since 2011.
Captain Vincent Kompany lifted the trophy and led the celebrations, with some saying it could be his last game for the club, in what has been an incredibly successful season for Pep Guardiola and his players.
The club had already won the other domestic cup competition earlier in the season, beating Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on penalties in February, before lifting the Premier League trophy on the final day of the league season.
The Citizens knew they would complete the treble if they could overcome Watford, but left top goalscorer Sergio Aguero on the bench in a surprise move by City boss Guardiola.
And despite controlling the opening of the game it was the Hornets who had the best chance of the first ten minutes. Watford caught their opponents on the break with Gerard Deulofeu finding space down the right hand side. He slid a ball into the path of Roberto Pereyra who found himself through on goal, but the Argentinian struck the ball straight at the onrushing Ederson.
A let off for Manchester City and a missed opportunity for Watford.
But despite Watford’s early chances it was Manchester City who took the lead just before the half hour mark. Sterling battled hard to win a header in the Watford penalty area and the ball fell kindly to David Silva in space who smashed the it into the corner of the net for his first goal since December. A crucial lead for City.
It got worse for Watford just seven minutes before the interval, Javi Gracia’s men would have hoped to go into half time only trailing by one goal, but Bernardo Silva’s chipped ball found Gabriel Jesus lurking at the back post. The Brazilian managed to get just enough on his first time finish to loop the ball in. Sterling fired the ball into the back of the net from the goal-line, but the goal was awarded to Jesus with some debate as to whether Sterling hammered the ball home before the ball had crossed the line.
AS IT HAPPENED: Manchester City v Watford
The second half started in similar fashion to the end of first. Jesus bursting into the penalty area, but his shot was too close to Gomes and the Brazilian made an easy save at the near-post.
Aymeric Laporte was on the scoresheet on the final day of the Premier League season for City against Brighton and he almost bagged another here. His lopped header landing the wrong side of Gomes’ far post just before the hour mark.
Watford threw bodies forward in search of a route back in the game but failed to create too many clear cut chances. Instead they left gaps at the back for Man City to exploit. Sterling found Jesus in acres of space and he fed the ball to substitute Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian cut inside, leaving Gomes on the floor. The 27 year old tapping home from just a couple of yards out to make it 3-0.
Manchester City weren’t finished there though. Jesus started a run through on goal from the half way line, cooly finishing past the Watford goalkeeper to rub salt in the wounds of the Hornets. The 22 year old with his second goal of the game to make it 4-0.
City were chasing records at this point, looking for the biggest ever FA Cup final win in history. Bernardo Silva already had one assist to his name and he had his second with just less than ten minutes left on the clock. He fired a low ball across the six yard box and Sterling fired home for his first of the game.
Watford were all over the place defensively as the match reached its conclusion. Sterling claiming another, tapping home from close range at the second attempt after his initial effort struck the post following a dangerous ball into the six yard box from the impressive De Bruyne. City equalling the biggest win in an FA Cup final.
Manchester City lifting their third trophy of the season in style. Their second at Wembley, to cap an incredible season for Guardiola’s men.
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