Man City make history with record-matching FA Cup final win over Watford

Date published: Saturday 18th May 2019 6:50 - Samuel Bannister

Manchester City completed an unprecedented domestic treble with a convincing 6-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup final.

Pep Guardiola’s side added to their Premier League and Carabao Cup successes with a 5-0 triumph at Wembley, with David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus all getting among the goals.

They matched the biggest ever win in an FA Cup final, a record which has stood for long over a century, as they were able to celebrate the end of an incredible season in which they have picked up all domestic trophies on offer.

Sergio Aguero was a surprise absentee from City’s starting XI, with Jesus trusted with leading the line instead.

With memories of Vincent Kompany’s long-range goal against Leicester still fresh in the memory, it was the Belgian’s centre-back partner Aymeric Laporte who had the first attempt of the game, but his strike went over.

At the other end, there was a huge chance for Watford on a counter attack, but Ederson made himself big and pulled off a fine save with his feet to deny Roberto Pereyra.

It was the start of a period of pressure for the Hornets, who saw appeals for a penalty waved away when Abdoulaye Doucour√©’s shot struck the tucked-in arm of Kompany. The Watford midfielder picked up the first booking of the game thereafter for his excessive protests.

On 26 minutes, City took the lead. David Silva found himself in the box, and as the ball dropped kindly to him from Sterling’s header, he finished with a neat volley across goal – courtesy of a slight deflection off Kiko Femenia’s boot.

Watford had to weather the storm, as the opening goal gave City the impetus and saw them continue on the front foot. Javi Gracia’s side had their backs against the wall, and with five minutes left before the break, the lead was doubled.

A brilliant crossfield pass from Bernardo Silva picked out Jesus at the backpost, and the Brazilian shot across goal. Sterling raced onto it to smash home, doubling City’s advantage. The ball was deemed to have crossed the line before Sterling’s touch, meaning Jesus claimed the goal.

City started the second half strongly, with Jesus’ diving header ruled out for offside.

Watford then seemed to gain a second wind, but their final ball was letting them down. A chance fell to Gerard Deulofeu in virtually the same position from which Silva had scored, but the former Barcelona man’s shot was pulled wide.

While Watford were struggling to put away their chances, City were being clinical. And just after the hour mark, it was 3-0. Jesus unselfishly picked out substitute De Bruyne with a square pass, and the Belgian took it round Heurelho Gomes. It was calmness personified from the midfielder, and City could start to think about celebrating.

Sensing his players were losing energy, Gracia made a double change for Watford. However, soon after, the Hornets were cut open at the back again, with Jesus racing through and providing another cool finish for 4-0. This time, there was no doubt about it being his goal – although he owed a large debt of gratitude to De Bruyne for the assist.

De Bruyne was pulling the strings, and after weaving his way into a shooting position, fired over with his left foot as City continued to take the game to their opponents.

There was no sign of sympathy from Pep Guardiola, as he replaced the injured Ilkay Gundogan with winger Leroy Sane, showing a ruthless approach.

With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the advantage was increased even further, as Sterling had a tap in to make it five.

Moments later, the same player struck again, seeing his first effort saved by Gomes before pouncing on the rebound to match the record score for an FA Cup final.

You can see how the action unfolded in our Live Centre here.


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