The Louis van Gaal era has ended with a trophy as Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 after extra time on Saturday to bring down the curtain on a disappointing two year at Old Trafford. United are set to announce early next week that Jose Mourinho will be taking from LVG next week.
United looked on course to end the season empty-handed as well as missing out on Champions League football when substitute Jason Puncheon’s powerful far-post finish put Palace ahead with 12 minutes left.
It was harsh on United, who had hit the woodwork through Marouane Fellaini and Antony Martial, but they responded within four minutes with a brilliant run from Wayne Rooney that ended with Juan Mata scoring from close range.
United then has Chris Smalling to a second yellow card for hauling back Yannick Bolasie in extra time, but local boy Jessie Lingard took the trophy to Old Trafford when he lashed home a brilliant first-time strike from Damien Delaney’s half-clearance after 110 minutes.
“It is fantastic to win this title for the club, for the fans, and also for me because I now have won the cup in four countries, and not many managers have done that,” van Gaal was quoted as saying after the match by BBC Sport.
“With 10 players, and we have played Tuesday evening also, but we have deserved it I think. [Lingard’s] was a super goal.”
United’s triumph sees them end a 12-year wait for the FA Cup having not won the trophy since 2004 before today’s victory.
Also, with the win, West Ham United qualify for the Europa League next season.