Riyad Mahrez hit a Wembley hat-trick to send Manchester City into the FA Cup final with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United.
After his 42nd-minute penalty broke Sheffield United’s resistance at the end of the first half, the Algeria international ran through a parting defence just after the hour mark to add his second before sweeping in a fine third in the 66th minute from Jack Grealish’s cross, to leave City supporters dreaming of a historic treble.
It could have been different had Sheffield United top scorer Iliman Ndiaye not shot straight at Stefan Ortega when the ball fell to him inside the six-yard box with just two minutes on the clock.
The Championship side also felt hard done by when 19-year-old Daniel Jebbison was punished for the penalty, his lash at the ball was rash but he appeared to make contact with it before bringing down Bernardo Silva.
But, in the end, City had too much for the promotion-chasing Blades, and Pep Guardiola’s side will now face either Manchester United or Brighton for the trophy on June 3.
City had lost at the semi-final stage of this competition three years running but their FA Cup final appearance will form part of their hunt for three trophies at the end of this season.
They host wobbling Premier League leaders Arsenal in a crucial game at the Etihad on Wednesday night, while a Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid is to come in May, as City aim to replicate the 1998/99 treble heroics of their neighbours Man Utd.
Wednesday is a big night for Sheffield United too – they can secure a return to the Premier League with victory over West Brom and cap a memorable season. But Saturday’s test was too tough.