Alexis Sanchez hits extra-time winner as Arsenal edge FA Cup thriller against Manchester City
FA Cup Semi-final, Wembley – Arsenal 2 (Monreal 71, Sanchez 101) Manchester City 1 (Aguero 62)
Alexis Sanchez scored an extra-time winner to send Arsenal into the FA Cup final with a 2-1 win over Manchester City at Wembley.
The Chilean poked home from close range to put his side ahead for the first time in the match, and they held on as Man City struggled to create the onslaught you would have expected from a team heading out of the competition.
City had lead through Sergio Aguero, who looked to have overrun the ball when one-one-one with Petr Cech but the goalkeeper was slow to react which allowed Aguero to dink the ball over him and into the net.
The Citizens will rue hitting the woodwork twice with the score 1-1, and will also cite Raheem Sterling having a goal incorrectly disallowed in the first half.
Have Arsenal saved their season? Arsenal have been way off the pace in the Premier League, a fact made all the worse by Tottenham’s form, and suffered their usual humiliating exit in the last 16 of the Champions League too. The pressure has been mounting on Arsene Wenger, the board and the players but the opportunity to win silverware next month gives them a chance to at least go some way to rescuing their season. There may be underlying issues but the club has only won two trophies in 12 campaigns, so silverware shouldn’t be scoffed at.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal). In an unfamiliar position he excelled, helping to keep the dangerous Leroy Sane quiet while also providing Arsenal’s most potent threat going forward. When their equaliser came it was no surprise that he was involved and it was a lovely cross to find Monreal.
29’ – PENALTY APPEAL! Aguero goes to ground in the box after a clumsy Oxlade-Chamberlain makes contact from behind but the referee says no penalty. Arsenal got away with one there.
40’ – DISALLOWED GOAL! Huge controversy as City have the ball in the net through Sterling, who is first to react after Aguero's shot is saved by Cech, but the linesman says Sane's cross, from which Aguero was shooting, went out of play. Replays suggest otherwise.
45’ – PENALTY APPEAL! Arsenal want a penalty as Sanchez takes a tumble while trying to get on the end of an overhit free-kick with Navas for company. The City man had a little pull of the shirt and wasn't looking at the ball, so is certainly fortunate.
62’ – GOAL! Arsenal 0--1 Man City (Aguero). From an Arsenal corner, Toure wins the ball and releases Aguero with a long pass which he latches onto and then, one-on-one, dinks the ball over Cech when it looked like he'd overrun it.
71’ – GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Man City (Monreal). Oxlade-Chamberlain picks out Monreal with a lovely cross and the left-back volleys in at the back post off the outside of his right foot.
79’ – WOODWORK! So close! Toure's 20-yard volley is tipped onto the post by Cech and bounces out!
82’ – WOODWORK! The woodwork saves Arsenal again as Fernandinho's thumping header crashes off the bar from a corner!
86’ – CHANCE! Welbeck gets a slice of luck as the ball breaks his way after a 50-50 with Otamendi and then curls inches wide from a tight angle, but Ramsey and Sanchez were waiting for a pass in the centre.
101’ – GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Man City (Sanchez). Ozil's deep free-kick is headed back towards goal and after Welbeck scuffs his shot it falls to Sanchez who takes a touch then scores from six yards!
Arsenal are into the FA Cup final for a record 20th time.
This was Pep Guardiola's 50th match as manager with City, but the first time he has named an unchanged starting line-up.
Aguero has scored in three successive FA Cup matches.