Ivorian scores historic goal for Sky Blues before Paul Scholes foul reduces United to ten men and give Mancini’s men the chance to clinch their first trophy for 30 years.
Manchester City are through to the FA Cup final after a second half goal from Yaya Toure was enough to beat rivals Manchester United at Wembley in a game which saw Paul Scholes sent off.
Roberto Mancini's men ended the treble hopes of United and ensured they now have the best chance of winning silverware for a generation with Stoke City or Bolton Wanderers waiting in the final.
With a large portion of the Manchester population fighting the M1 closures to get to Wembley, the blue half will savour the return journey after an histroic result.
The headline news beforehand was the omission of both Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney but the other players on show had the skill to make up for those losses.
With such attacking talent on offer, a close, cautious game was not what was expected but the opening exchanges proved very little in entertainment. A pass behind the United defence from Yaya Toure to Mario Balotelli, which ran a little out of the Italian’s reach was the most both sides could muster in the first 10 minutes.
Dimitar Berbatov had the first true opening of the game after 14 minutes when Michael Carrick’s wonderfully threaded through ball was collected by the Bulgarian, who burst through the City offside trap to only be denied by the alert Joe Hart.
The England ‘keeper sensed the impending danger and tore off his line to close the angles enough to suffocate the chance and keep United at bay.
The pressure was still being applied when a jinking run from Nani along the left byline could not have provided Berbatov with an easier chance to score. Astonishingly, with the ball rolling no more than two yards from goal line, Berbatov flung himself at the ball but incredibly spooned the shot over Hart’s crossbar.
Blue is the colour | City players celebrate Toure's second-half winner
With United dictating the flow of the game, City were spending much the first period in their own half until an effort from Gareth Barry which flashed narrowly wide of Edwin Van der Sar’s right hand post, signalled it was City’s turn to move into control.
A long-range effort from Mario Balotelli and a Joleon Lescott volley with his weaker foot continued this trend but still the opening goal would not come as the first half moved to its conclusion and both managers had much food for thought and work to do to break the deadlock.
No changes were made at half time and City didn’t need to. A glaring error from Carrick early in the second half was the moment which proved vital as Yaya Toure made United pay dearly. The loose pass was pounced upon by Toure whose powerful run was too much for Nemanja Vidic and Edwin Van der Sar when the ball ran through the Dutchman’s legs.
City's mood was improved further when a high challenge on Pablo Zabaleta from Scholes earned a red from Mike Dean and City started to truly believe that it was their day.
The journey back north will be as difficult as the one taken in the morning, but City fans wil savour every mile after they held on for the closing stages and five nervous minutes of added time.