Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick helped rampant Manchester City cement their place in the history books as Pep Guardiola’s men swatted aside Watford to lift the FA Cup and complete an extraordinary domestic treble.
Fresh from wrapping up the Premier League at the end of a rip-roaring title duel with Liverpool, City became the first men’s team in English football history to win all three domestic major honours.
Guardiola’s side emphatically brought the curtain down on an exceptional season at Wembley, where Sterling’s treble complemented David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus goals in a 6-0 win against Watford.
It was a record-equalling FA Cup final victory and saw City add this trophy to their league and Carabao Cup crowns.
Some would even count their Community Shield towards their tally, but by whatever measure this has been a wonderful season for the blue half of Manchester.
Yes, the Champions League still eludes them and the spectre of a potential ban in that competition looms large, but the feeling was unbridled joy as City lifted the FA Cup and celebrated one of the greatest days in the club’s history.
Watford hoped this would be their day as they looked for their first major trophy on their second FA Cup final appearance, but Javi Gracia’s men faded after some promising early moments.
David Silva opened the scoring and settled the nerves when ending a 27-game run without a goal, before Bernardo Silva’s beautiful pass found Jesus and Sterling finished on the goal line.
Watford overcame a two-goal deficit in stunning fashion in the semi-finals, but City are a different beast. And a relentless one at that.
City kept their foot on the Hornets’ throat. Substitute De Bruyne and Jesus netted before Sterling completed his hat-trick as Guardiola overcame compatriot Gracia in the 138th FA Cup final.
- Press Association