With a hat-trick from Riyad Mahrez in the FA Cup semifinal win against Sheffield United, Manchester City kept its treble ambitions alive.
Pep Guardiola rested five important players – Kevin De Bruyne, Rben Dias, Rodri, John Stones, and Ederson – ahead of Wednesday’s likely title-deciding Premier League match against Arsenal. However, the knockout stages of any game can generate surprises.
Even though Sheffield United is competing for promotion to England’s second division, the Championship, and City is one of the finest teams in Europe, the match was not entirely one-sided.ig
Guardiola said, “Excellent performance,” adding, “We cannot forget three days ago we were in Munich.
“This nation has long observed the quality of Riyad, as well as Leicester. He is a fierce mentality rival. a great desire to score goals. It was crucial to score at the very end of the first half.
For the majority of the first half, Sheffield kept the score at 0-0, and it had an early opportunity to take the lead when Iliman Ndiaye’s shot following a corner was stopped by Stefan Ortega.
However, City was awarded a penalty in the 43rd, which Mahrez converted, and the result appeared to be decided at that point.
The opening goal was scored by Mahrez.
Mahrez scored his second goal of the match shortly after the break. He did it with a beautiful strike after winning the ball on the halfway line and dribbling past the Sheffield defense.
Five minutes later, after latching onto Jack Grealish’s cross and finishing expertly, he had a hat-trick, the first in an FA Cup semifinal since 1958.
“It feels very good (to score a hat-trick),” Mahrez told ITV after the game. “The most significant fact is that we have lost here in the semi-finals for the past two or three seasons in a row. We wanted to be sure we made it to the final today. I felt like I played well.
“I’m not sure which goal was the best in reality. We played with serious intent, and it’s a good team accomplishment.
On June 3, City will compete in the FA Cup final against either Manchester United or Brighton & Hove Albion.