FA Cup Watch: Top 5 Semi Final matches

Published 04/23/2016, 2:26 AM EDT


The FA Cup has been around for as long as we can remember and is the oldest competition in the history of English football. Over 700 teams participate in this competition including the lower division clubs giving them a fair and equal chance to join in on the big leagues. In the past, it was pretty much the only game of football shown on the television and hence, carries a prestigious name to itself and emits the tradition that football is in the British community. Over the years, the FA Cup semi-finals have seen their fair share of many enthralling moments and it is known for creating instant heroes of the game: those who teach us what the magic of football is all about. This Saturday Manchester United will play against Everton in hopes of winning the ticket to Wembley and in this honour, it was only apt we took a look at the top 5 FA Cup Semi Final games!

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It was the swingin’ sixties and Tottenham Hotspur looked forward to take on the re-emerging Manchester United at Hillsborough and had the perfect opportunity to show that it was still the Spurs who reigned the 60s era. Fittingly, the London side opened their side of the firing within 5 minutes of the game’s commencement and as luck would have it, they were 2-0 up by half time.

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The Manchester United side was slow, lacklustre and uninspired to say the very least. In the second half, Medwin sealed the deal with another goal making it 3-1 just 2 minutes after United scored their goal in an attempt to salvage something out of the match. Tottenham Hotspur went on to win the FA Cup, thanks to their brilliant performance throughout the tournament.
Final Score: Spurs 3-1 Manutd
Liverpool played Arsenal twice before losing this one which was now being hailed as one of the longest semi finals ever after Liverpool broke their own record from somewhere in the late 1890s when they played Sheffield United. Liverpool played well in the replay at Villa Park, and were the dominant side. David Fairclough gave the Reds the lead, but Alan Sunderland equalised. The teams were forced to return to the same stadium 12 days later (and after one league meeting at Anfield between the two sides, which naturally ended in a 1-1 draw). In the third Cup game, Arsenal took their turn to be the stronger team; after a pre-match which saw a fan rush on to the pitch and drop his kecks in the centre circle, the Gunners went one up after 13 seconds through Sunderland, only to let the game slip deep in injury time, Kenny Dalglish saving the day for Liverpool.
Arsenal won the match, at Highfield Road, which was the third replay and fourth match of the tie, by a single goal, capitalising on a mistake by Ray Kennedy.  Though it might seem that Arsenal had it all then, they went on to lose to Second Division West Ham at Wembley, and ended their 70-game season – they had also lost the Cup Winners’ Cup final – empty-handed.
Final Score: Liverpool 0-1 Arsenal
Chelsea wanted it all- a Double with the League Cup and the FA Cup but the hopes of that happening were shattered when they faced Liverpool in the Semi Finals. The Blues were badly off colour for an hour of this game with uncharacteristic mistakes that littered their game and Liverpool made them pay. John Arne Riise gave the Merseysiders a first-half lead with a free-kick which somehow burrowed through Chelsea’s defensive wall and soon after, Luis Garcia scored a screamer from 20 yards to make it two, early in the second half. The last 15 minutes were as frenzied as any FA Cup romantic could wish. Liverpool found themselves penned back, Chelsea tried everything they knew but could not break them down, with Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher holding down the mighty fort. The Special One, Jose Mourinho was not impressed with Chelsea’s performance and said ‘You have to take those sort of chances in a game like this and we missed one in each half, it means we miss out on a big match and that hurts.’
Final Score: Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea
 
It all seemed really easy for Liverpool to beat Crystal Palace in this fixture having thrashed them 9-0 a few months back in the league and after Ian Rush, the then Liverpool golden boy put them ahead 1-0, it seemed possible too. But the only problem here was that this wasn’t the league, this was the FA Cup and almost anything was possible here.
Mark Bright and Gary O’Reilly put the Eagles 2-1 up, before Steve Barnes and Steve McMahon appeared to have put Liverpool in the final. Then, Andy Gray equalised with just minutes remaining, and in extra-time Palace got a highly unlikely 4-3 victory through the one and only Alan Pardew. The result sent shockwaves around the football industry, the underdogs were the ones going to Wembley and the FA Cup had proved once again just how incredibly unpredictable it can get.
Final Score: Crystal Palace 4-3 Liverpool
In the second minute of injury-time in this semi final replay, and what felt like a million years for Manchester United and Arsenal fans, Phil Neville brought down Ray Parlour and the Dutchman was a spot-kick away from sending Arsenal to Wembley but the Great Dane Schmeichel clawed away the penalty. And in extra-time, Ryan Giggs intercepted Patrick Vieira’s stray pass, ripped through Arsenal’s rearguard and unleashed a coruscating shot past David Seaman.
It is by far one of the best goals from Ryan Giggs, waving his shirt out of celebration never went out of style and reminded Manchester United just how lucky they were to have the Welsh player in their team. Arsene Wenger finished the season empty-handed, Alex Ferguson was knighted and that’s just how the season finished for Manchester United and Arsenal.
Final Score: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
 
 

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Ananya Das

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