A tense, exciting affair at Wembley Stadium saw Manchester United lift the FA Cup by a 2-1 scoreline in extra time as Jesse Lingard saved the Red Devils after Chris Smalling‘s second yellow saw them reduced to 10 men.
Manchester United owned the vast majority of chances, but it never felt like Palace was second-best. There was a controversial moment on 18 minutes as Chris Smalling dragged down Connor Wickham on the break. Wickham got back up, got back on the ball, and moved in on the open goal, but referee Mark Clattenburg had stopped play to give the free-kick rather than playing advantage, which would have given Wickham a one-on-one opportunity.
Juan Mata forced a save of Wayne Hennessey on 22 minutes with a low shot from a tight angle, and a Martial shot minutes later was blocked. Palace then had shouts for a penalty minutes later when Wilfried Zaha snatched the ball from Daley Blind and raced into the box, where he went side-by-side with Wayne Rooney. The two bundled over and the referee whistled for a foul on Zaha.
With the scoreline untouched at halftime, Manchester United continued to pile up the chances after the break. Rashford sprung Fellaini in the box seven minutes into the second half, and the Belgian pumped a shot on goal that cannoned off the corner of the post.
Past the hour mark, the game exploded open. United found themselves unlucky again, as Martial headed off the post at the end of a cross by Antonio Valencia. Marcus Rojo was forced off after a yellow-card tackle by Damien Delaney which probably could have earned him harsher punishment.
On 78 minutes, the deadlock broke as substitute Jason Puncheon remained onside and collected a long ball from Ward over the back line to the far post, and the 29-year-old ripped it past David De Gea from point blank range, causing Pardew to do a little dance.
Manchester United responded immediately. Wayne Rooney carved up the Palace organization into the box and all the way to the end line, and lofted the ball across the box. Fellaini and Mata were waiting, and as Fellaini settled the ball with his chest, it fell to the feet of Mata who rifled it through the legs of Ward, wrong-footing Hennessey as it traveled into the back of the net.
Into extra time the game went, and with seven yellow cards handed out, we finally saw a red. Already on a yellow, Chris Smalling rugby-tackled Yannick Bolasie near the halfway line to prevent a counter, leaving Clattenburg no choice but to send him off.
The trophy was still yet to be won, and a 23-year-old would bring it to Manchester. With extra-time half over and his side a man down, Jesse Lingard punched home the winner. A cross from Valencia was bungled by Martial, but the rebound fell to Lingard who roofed a volley before it hit the ground, a sweet strike that sent the Red Devils through.
A defeated Crystal Palace had nothing left to offer, and Louis Van Gaal lifted the FA Cup, a savory finish to an otherwise bitter season. It’s the club’s first FA Cup since 2004, their 12th FA Cup all-time, tying Arsenal for the most ever in the competition.