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Coventry 3-3 Man Utd (2-4 pens): Mark Robins says FA Cup semi-final will be discussed forever

Vaseline 2 months ago

For a split second it looked like Coventry were about to write perhaps the greatest FA Cup story ever.

There were ecstatic scenes at Coventry’s end at Wembley when Victor Torp made it 4-3 at the end of extra time after they were 3-0 down against Manchester United.

But the celebrations were cut short by an offside decision before United went to penalties following an astonishing comeback from the Championship club.

At the end there were tears from players in sky blue on the field and supporters in sky blue in the stands.

“We have just said to them (the players) that they have put themselves at the top of the football club’s history,” Coventry boss Mark Robins said.

“People will be talking about this game for a long time.”

“If he had cut his toenail, we wouldn’t be talking about punishment.”

Coventry City may be out of the FA Cup, but they played their part in a semi-final classic that will be remembered for years to come.

The Sky Blues looked down and out as Bruno Fernandes put Manchester United 3-0 ahead in the 59th minute.

First-half goals from Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire had put the Red Devils in control at half-time before Fernandes appeared to have put the tie out of reach.

Yet the Sky Blues came roaring back.

Ellis Simms’ sixth goal in this season’s FA Cup looked nothing more than a consolation in the 71st minute before Callum O’Hare struck eight minutes later with a deviant finish.

“That really killed everyone,” Robins, who won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1990, said after the match.

Then Haji Wright caused scenes of huge cheers among 36,000 Sky Blues fans, keeping his composure to score from the penalty spot five minutes into extra time.

Yet more drama ensued when Coventry thought they had taken the lead through Torp at the end of extra time, only for Wright to be ruled offside.

“We were 20 seconds away from the FA Cup final and 30 seconds later we are in a penalty shootout,” Robins added.

“If he (Wright) had cut his toenail, we wouldn’t have been talking about penalties.”

Guy Mowbray, commentating at Wembley for Match of the Day, said: “They will talk about this FA Cup semi-final forever.”

England and Arsenal’s Ian Wright said Coventry “were really involved” as the tie “descended into chaos”.

“They almost did it,” Wright added on ITV1.

‘This will hurt’

Losing on penalties at Wembley is not a new experience for Coventry.

Last May they came from behind to force extra time against Luton in the Championship play-off final.

Then she lost 6-5 on penalties and missed out on a place in the Premier League.

“It happened in the summer. We were so close to being a Premier League team,” Robins added.

Coventry have entertained a nation during their best FA Cup run since winning the competition in 1987.

In a dramatic quarter-final they lost 2-1 at Wolves and were previously on the verge of going out scored two goals in injury time go through.

And they gave United a huge scare before going out.

“Today will hurt because we were so close,” Robins said. “We hit the crossbar and a goal was disallowed. I am really proud of my players.

“This FA Cup round will be talked about for a long time in Coventry City circles. We can’t be too down about it.”