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Manchester United's players celebrate after the shoot-out in the English FA Cup semi-final football match against Coventry City. Image Credit: AFP

London: Manchester United survived one of the most astonishing FA Cup semi-final comebacks ever to beat second-tier Coventry City 4-2 on penalties after a spellbinding clash ended 3-3 after extra time at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

United were cruising to a record 22nd FA Cup final thanks to goals by Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes with Coventry barely managing to lay a glove on their illustrious opponents for 70 minutes.

But Coventry, playing in their first FA Cup semi-final since they won the Cup in 1987, fought back with goals by Ellis Simms and Callum O’Hare and with United rocking Haji Wright stroked home a stoppage-time penalty after an Aaron Wan-Bissaka handball.

Both sides hit the woodwork in a rollercoaster extra 30 minutes — Fernandes for United and Simms for Coventry, his effort bouncing down off the underside of the crossbar.

Coventry’s 36,000 fans were sent into delirium when substitute Victor Torp poked home with almost the last kick of the game but what would have been a deserved winner was disallowed for a slender offside after a VAR check.

Casemiro missed a spot kick Ben Sheaf for United in the shootout but Andre Onana saved O’Hare’s kick and fired his effort over the crossbar to leave Rasmus Hojlund with the job of sending United through and he coolly scored past Bradley Collins.

United’s fans celebrated but they know they came within a whisker of calamity. They will now face Manchester City in the showpiece final on May 25 — the first time the same two clubs have contested the FA Cup final in consecutive years since 1885.

Desperately tough

It was desperately tough on Coventry who looked down and out when Fernandes made it 3-0 before throwing caution to the wind to stun Erik ten Hag’s side.

Coventry, managed by former United Cup winner Mark Robins, were the better side in extra time and the superb Simms struck the underside of the crossbar deep into extra time.

And when Torp tapped in it seemed the unthinkable had happened but Wright was adjudged to have been fractionally offside in the build-up to the goal.