Vodacom FA Cup semi-final Review

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Goal, in association with Vodacom, look back over the FA Cup semi-finals

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    Four becomes two

    Four has become two, as Manchester City and Watford downed Brighton & Hove Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively in this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals.

    The two will now contest the 138th edition of the final when they meet at Wembley on May 18th.

    Victory over Brighton keeps alive City’s dream of an unprecedented quadruple, but can they overcome one final hurdle in the world’s oldest football tournament?

    Here’s how things unravelled for the four semi-finalists over the weekend.

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    Manchester City 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

    Gabriel Jesus, standing in for Sergio Aguero, settled this one in the fourth minute, when he met a delicious cross from Kevin de Bruyne—finally growing into the season—with a diving header.

    It was exactly how Brighton, who will have been desperate to have maintained parity for as long as possible, will not have wanted to start the match.

    Predictably, Pep Guardiola’s side dominated proceedings thereafter, although Kyle Walker was perhaps fortune not to have seen red after a tangle with Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

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    Challenges to come

    For all their possession, City didn’t turn on the class as the game wore on—not even coming close to first gear as they looked to put the contest beyond their rather limited opponents.

    Brighton improved in the second half, but could muster little more than a few forays forward and may rue an opportunity missed, with City far from their imperious best.

    Guardiola may well be content with bypassing a potential banana skin, and will be confident that his team can turn on the class for the tougher challenges that lie in wait.

  4. Catherine Ivill

    Watford 3-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

    In terms of drama, the second semi-final far outclassed the first, and indeed, was one of the games of the competition so far. Wolves are unlikely to forget it, and will still be asking how they were unable to book a rare cup-final berth.

    The Old Gold are the surprise package in the Premier League this season, and tore into a two-goal lead after Matt Doherty’s opener and Raul Jimenez’s 62nd-minute effort.

  5. Catherine Ivill

    Comeback kings

    However, Watford, who had offered little in the first hour, weren’t ready to be counted out, and summoned up a sublime comeback to take the tie to extra time—and keep alive their dream of a second FA Cup final showing in their history.

    Gerard Deulofeu halved the deficit in the 79th minute, and Troy Deeney netted a 93rd-minute penalty to take the tie beyond the 90 after he had been brought down by Leander Dendoncker.

    By this point, the momentum was with the Hornets, and the excellent Deulofeu secured their progress with a 104th-minute winner. Wolves, who last won the cup in 1960, had no answer.