Manchester United edge out rivals Liverpool in FA Cup classic

Substitute Diallo strikes deep into extra time to settle seven-goal thriller

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Manchester United super sub Amad Diallo sealed an exhilarating 4-3 extra-time victory over bitter rivals Liverpool to clinch a place in the FA Cup semi-finals and breathe life into their troubled season.

In a pulsating game that had everything, momentum swung one way and then the other before Diallo provided the dramatic conclusion.

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 

Scott McTominay had put United into an early lead but Liverpool stormed back as Alexis Mac Allister and Mohamed Salah scored late in the first half to put Jurgen Klopp’s men in control.

Erik ten Hag’s side created precious little in response but substitute Antony - a much-criticised big money signing from Ajax - managed to equalise against the run of play in the 87th minute.

Marcus Rashford then missed a golden opportunity to win it with the final kick as the game headed towards extra time.

Liverpool sub Harvey Elliott looked to have won it with a 105th-minute goal but Rashford drew United level in the 112th minute and Diallo scored on the break in stoppage time at the end of extra time, sparking wild scenes in the stands at Old Trafford. The 21-year-old was then sent off after receiving a second yellow card for taking his shirt off during the celebrations.

Rashford savoured the moment as he told ITV: “It’s a massive night in the history of United against Liverpool. We’re happy that it gets us through to a semi-final but even if it’s a normal game against Liverpool, we need to win.”

On Diallo, Rashford added: “I’m happy for him. He’s been working hard this year and he’s probably not had the opportunities that he would have wished. But if he wants to have more opportunities there’s no better way to prove it than nights like tonight.”

With his United team ailing in the race for Champions League qualification after a difficult second season in charge, the FA Cup means that much more to Ten Hag. The Dutchman delivered the League Cup last term and a further piece of silverware would strengthen his position with new part-owners Ineos looking to shake up football operations at Old Trafford.

As for Liverpool, with this year's League Cup already secured, a Europa League campaign and the small matter of an ongoing title race, they'd have been forgiven for not considering this duel with their arch-enemies as a top priority.

But Klopp's team selection said differently. The visitors were virtually at full strength with Salah, so often the scourge of United, joined in attack by Darwin Nunez and the returning Luis Diaz.

Salah, who going into the game had scored more goals for Liverpool against United - a club record 12 in 13 appearances - than versus any other team, had the Reds' first big chance as his improvised volley flashed across the face of goal.

Falling behind would have been harsh on United who had begun well. Kobbie Mainoo was at the heart of most of it and his surging run produced an early opening but Aaron Wan-Bissaka's weak effort took the ball off the toe of the well-placed McTominay.

The Scot wouldn't have to wait long for another look at goal and this time the deadlock was broken. Fit-again Rasmus Hojlund brought a save out of Caoimhin Kelleher but McTominay smelt the opportunity and pounced to tuck away the rebound.

United were playing well and Mainoo combined with Rashford to create another opening for McTominay. The midfielder should have scored but fired straight at Kelleher.

Liverpool's threat remained, though, and was demonstrated as Diaz raced clear and stung the palms of Andre Onana. The visitors had been second best but soon found themselves in front after a chaotic spell before half-time.

Wataru Endo first saw a leveller ruled out by a linesman's flag before Nunez teed up Mac Allister to rifle home. United lost their heads and it soon got worse. Onana could only beat out Nunez's rasping hit and there was Salah to thump home the rebound and register his 13th career goal against United.

The end-to-end action resumed after the break with United continuing to do well with the ball but suffer terribly without it, and as time ebbed away, so it seemed did their hopes of silverware.

But just as they looked to have run out of ideas, up stepped an unlikely hero as Antony's first goal at Old Trafford for more than a year kept them alive and sent the game into extra time.

Yet momentum shifted once again as Liverpool edged in front when Elliott's deflected shot found the bottom corner.

Rashford made amends for his earlier miss by drilling home from McTominay's pass to make it 3-3. Diallo then had the final word as he scored just his second ever United goal to write his name into the history books.

Updated: March 18, 2024, 7:11 AM
FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21.