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Published: 19:27 | 23/4/16

United edge Everton in FA Cup thriller

Last gasp winner from Martial

Anthony Martial scored an injury-time winner as Manchester United beat Everton 2-1 in a thrilling FA Cup semi-final encounter at Wembley on Saturday evening.

With extra time looming, the Frenchman combined with substitute Ander Herrrera before curling a superb effort beyond Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles to keep United's quest for silverware alive and possibly keep manager Louis van Gaal in a job for next season.

It was a cruel way to lose for Everton who had fought back superbly after going behind to Marouane Fellaini's first half opener.

After Romelu Lukaku saw his penalty saved superbly by David de Gea just before the hour mark, Everton continued to press and were deservedly level 15 minutes from time when Chris Smalling unluckily deflected Gerard Deulofeu's cross into his own net.

The tie appeared destined for extra time until Martial won it in the third minute of stoppage time with a shot that might just signal the end of Roberto Martinez's tenure at Goodison Park.

With plenty at stake for both sides, the game began at a frantic pace with chances at both ends within the opening five minutes.

First, John Stones was forced to make a last-ditch block as Martial prepared to shoot following a probing run from the left which left him just five yards from goal.

At the other end, Wayne Rooney, playing in midfield, was in the right place at the right time to head Lukaku's shot off the line after the Belgian international had taken the ball around De Gea.

Marcus Rojo was inches off target shortly afterwards with a flick header from Rooney's superbly flighted free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles then saved well from Jesse Lingard after the forward was picked out by Rooney's deft pass as United's bright opening continued.

Lukaku looked threatening for Roberto Martinez's side and forced a near post block from De Gea after racing onto a ball over the top from Ross Barkley, but his first touch took him wide and the United goalkeeper was able to save easily.

Martial then blazed over from 15 yards with just Robles to beat before Marcus Rashford volleyed straight at the goalkeeper from a good position after the busy Fellani had headed the ball back into his path.

But United were deservedly ahead on 34 minutes when Fellaini lost Stones in the penalty area to rather untidily side-foot Martial's cut-back beyond Robles from six yards.

United continued to press but couldn't find a second goal before the break.

But Everton looked a completely different side after the restart. They began pressing their opponents much further up the field and, as a result, began to get a grip on midfield.

It looked like they would have their reward on 57 minutes when defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah was adjudged to have fouled Barkley in the penalty area. The decision looked harsh, but De Gea got down superbly to save Lukaku's spot kick.

Tom Cleverly then blazed inches over the crossbar after stealing into the box to meet Aaron Lennon's teasing cross at the far post, while Lukaku spurned another good chance just after the hour mark as he was unable to keep his header on target after meeting Cleverley's cross six yards out.

United might have had a penalty themselves shortly afterwards as Phil Jagielka clearly handled Fellaini's goal-bound effort on the ground after the Belgian had combined well with Martial.

But Everton finally got the goal their second-half performance deserved 15 minutes from time, albeit in somewhat fortuitous fashion, as Smalling unluckily diverted substitute Deulofeu's low cross beyond the outstretched hand of De Gea to bring the sides level.

The game seemed to be heading for extra time until Martial broke Everton hearts deep in stoppage time with a strike worthy of winning one of the best FA Cup semi-finals of recent years to send United to the final for the first time since 2007.


By: Kieran O'Daly

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