Manchester United dug out from a deficit and survived Chris Smalling’s sending-off to beat Crystal Palace and win the FA Cup at Wembley through Jesse Lingard’s additional time strike.
As Wembley was flooded with developing theory this would be Louis van Gaal’s last match as United chief – with BBC Sport understanding he will be supplanted by Jose Mourinho one week from now – he could include English football’s most spectacular container to his distinctions list.
Joined looked on course to end the season flat broke and passing up a great opportunity for Champions League football when substitute Jason Puncheon’s intense far-post complete put Palace ahead with 12 minutes left.
It was cruel on United, who had hit the woodwork through Marouane Fellaini and Antony Martial, yet they reacted inside four minutes with a splendid keep running from Wayne Rooney that finished with Juan Mata scoring from short proximity.
Joined lost Smalling to a second yellow card for pulling back Yannick Bolasie in additional time – however Lingard took the trophy to Old Trafford when he lashed home a first-time strike from Damien Delaney’s half-leeway following 110 minutes. All the messages in and around Wembley before and amid this FA Cup last indicated this Wembley show-stopper denoting the end of Van Gaal’s generally undistinguished two-year spell in control.
At the point when his normal supplanting with Mourinho is affirmed, the 64-year-old Dutchman can in any event assume delight and acknowledgment for returning United to trophy-winning courses surprisingly since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
What’s more, this was another execution in a way that has turned into their FA Cup layout this season, driving on through times of affliction to in the end leave the other side successful, something for which Van Gaal merits acclaim.
They won at West Ham in a quarter-last replay then survived a rebound from a resurgent Everton to win the semi-last with Antony Martial’s late champ.
Also, here they disregarded Smalling’s red card to show genuine versatility and character.
It was a triumph that obviously implied such a great amount to Van Gaal as the typically emotionless director hustled from his seat in the specialized range to observe Lingard’s victor.
In what has all the earmarks of being his last go about as supervisor, it was one that delineates he will leave on a high.