Mane double fires Liverpool to Emirates FA Cup final despite late Man City rally

Saturday 16 Apr 2022
Mane celebrates his second goal against Manchester City

Liverpool survived a late fightback from Manchester City to secure their place in the Emirates FA Cup final with a superb 3-2 win at Wembley Stadium.

Ibrahima Konaté's third goal in three games put the Reds ahead before Sadio Mané's double capped a sensational first half for Jürgen Klopp's side.

Jack Grealish scored minutes after the break, and on the verge of full-time, Bernardo Silva grabbed a second, but it proved to be a consolation as the Reds hung on for victory.

Liverpool fans can now start planning for another day at Wembley Stadium in May when they will celebrate reaching their 15th FA Cup final.

It was scrappy stuff in the opening exchanges, as Liverpool pressed City's back-four, forcing several passing errors in the process.

The pressure led to Mané winning the game's first corner, and Konaté's goalward header from the resulting set-piece put the Reds 1-0 up.

Andrew Robertson provided the assist with an out-swinging corner that found the French defender, who physically dominated Nathan Aké before sending a brilliant bullet of a header into the back of the net.

The press was the difference yet again just eight minutes later, as Mané took the ball off the toes of Manchester City keeper Zack Steffen on his own goal line to double Liverpool's lead.

As the half progressed, Alisson Becker left a few Liverpool fans with their hearts in their mouths as he came close to giving the ball away in dangerous areas on a few occasions.

But it was 3-0 before the break when Mané's sublime right-footed volley sneaked inside Steffen's near post.

Seventy seconds into the second half, Gabriel Jesus put the ball on a plate for Grealish, who found the top left corner to reduce the deficit to two goals.

Jesus almost made it 3-2 in the 54th minute but his shot from a tight angle on the right side of the box was sent behind for a corner by the Liverpool goalkeeper.

And Alisson came to the rescue for the Reds again in the 70th minute, getting his left foot in the way of Jesus' shot after the Brazilian was put through on goal.

Liverpool were made to sweat in the closing minutes after Riyad Mahrez beat Robertson before setting up Silva, who tapped the ball into the back of the net to set up a stunning finish.

But City were unable to find an equaliser in added time as Liverpool progressed to their first Emirates FA Cup final in ten years.

Liverpool forward and Man of the Match Sadio Mané said: "Well, I think today is special because Manchester City are one of the best teams in the world.

"So, of course, if you win this type of game, especially in a semi-final, it is a big big big win. And we are very pleased, and we are very happy to qualify for the final.

"To be honest, I think from the start of the game we were playing very well, and I think everybody was vital. I think we pressed them hard and for the second goal especially the goalkeeper made a mistake.

"I was very happy to score the two goals for the team. I thought the performance of the team today was fantastic, and I think that today every single player enjoyed it and did well in the game because we did the right things at the right time, and it paid off.

"We'll see (about the quadruple), we have got a few games to go, and we are trying to do our best. It is a dream for sure, and we will go for it and fight for it."

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp added: "I'm absolutely proud. It was incredible. I think the first half was one of the best we have ever played.

"We did all the right stuff. We scored in the right moments, we played an incredible game in the first half, I have to say. I loved each second of it.

"The second half starts with a goal for Manchester City, and it opens up, the quality of their team is insane, and you could see that.

"It was a much more open game. We had our situations, but you see now, we had the counter-attacks that we didn't use, but we came close to getting there.

"We respect the quality of City so much, and it is so difficult to win against them, but because of these boys in my dressing room, we have a chance.

"That is enough for me to give it a try. We just wanted to go to the final, and that is what happened."

By FA Staff