Manchester United have won the 2016 FA Cup over Crystal Palace in a 2-1 win in extra time, thanks to a goal from Jesse Lingard. This is the 12th time that the club has won the cup, and the first trophy at Manchester United for manager Louis van Gaal.
United went down late in the second half of the match, but thanks to a wonderful run and play by Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata was able to get the equalizer late on to force extra time. It was a wonderful match to watch for neutrals, and a nail-biter for Crystal Palace fans looking to win the cup for the first time, as well as United fans looking to put a shining spot on what has surely been a very disappointing campaign.
Some of the best contributors for Manchester United today would surely be Wayne Rooney, who sat back into a central midfielder role and looked as though he had played there his whole career. He controlled much of the tempo of play for United, and also filled in defensively at times, winning the ball back with multiple impressive tackles. Coming off the heels of his 100th goal for United at Old Trafford in the Premier League, he brought that momentum into the Final and helped United hoist the trophy for the 12th time.
The same could be said for Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini, and the young superstars in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who all had very respectable matches. Mata was able to equalize, Fellaini was a constant worry for the Crystal Palace defense on set pieces and corners (and could’ve had two goals of his own), and the two youngsters both had themselves solid matches, as they created many periods of good play and solid opportunities.
Despite the fact that Manchester United is set to miss out on the top four finish they were hoping for in the Premier League, this will surely keep some of the supporters content going into the summer. And, even though it doesn’t give them the hope of Champions League football, it is a wonderful accomplishment. United winning this for the 12th time draws them even with Arsenal as the two clubs who have won the competition the most times, something that should be cheered for. This is also the first time that Manchester United has made an appearance in the Final since 2007, and the first time they’ve won it since 2004.