Mahrez shoots City to FA Cup final; Liverpool wins spectacle
Manchester City is in the final of the FA Cup. Riyad Mahrez played the leading role in the semi-final against Sheffield United by accounting for all the goals at Wembley: 3-0.
City coach Pep Guardiola kept Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, among others, on the bench against the Championship team, but did field goal scoring machine Erling Haaland. The Norwegian has already scored 48 times this season, including six hat tricks.
At Sheffield, two key players were precisely missing: James McAtee and Tommy Doyle. They are hired from City and the English Football Association does not allow hired players to come out to play against the club that hired them.
Hat-trick Mahrez, supporting role Haaland
As expected, City dominated and Sheffield – apart from a huge chance in the second minute for Iliman Ndiaye – limited itself mainly to defending.
Sheffield held out for a long time, but just before halftime things went wrong. Bernardo Silva was brought down in the penalty area and City was awarded a penalty kick.
The Algerian also made it 2-0 after an hour of play when he was given free passage from the Sheffield defense with Haaland as a lightning rod. Five minutes later, the last glimmer of hope for a cup stunt faded when Mahrez scored for the third time.
Sunday at the same stadium is the other semifinal between Brighton and Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United. The final is on Saturday, June 3, again at Wembley.
Liverpool wins spectacle
Liverpool’s difficult season may yet end up qualifying for European soccer. The team of Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo won 3-2 over Nottingham Forest and climbed to seventh place.
Things did not go easy for Liverpool in the home game against the relegation candidate. Diogo Jota twice put Liverpool ahead, but both times Nottingham equalized again.
Twenty minutes before time, Mohamed Salah fired in third goal for the home side and almost went wrong again for Liverpool, but Brennan Johnson headed onto the crossbar.
The unremarkable Gakpo was substituted early after halftime, Van Dijk completed the entire match
At the bottom of the Premier League, Leicester City ended a run of four defeats in a row. Thanks to a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, the 2016 national champions left the relegation zone.
Belgian Timothy Castagne became the matchwinner 15 minutes before time.
Everton picked up a point with a 0-0 draw at visiting Crystal Palace, but are now below the relegation line.
Leeds United lost 2-1 to Fulham and, with six games to play, must also go full steam ahead to avoid relegation.