Zack Steffen received a tame back pass from John Stones. With Liverpool ahead, Manchester City’s backup goalkeeper only needed to make a routine cleaning.
The pass was managed with a single touch. The second touch was… what was it? The sluggish American simply took too long.
Sadio Mane rushed into the penalty area and slid in to nudge the ball over the line before it could be hoofed clear.
Liverpool took a 2-0 lead after Ibrahima Konate’s header, and Mane scored twice before halftime to seal a 3-2 win over City on Saturday and go to their first FA Cup final in a decade.
Liverpool’s quadruple hopes are still alive, with the FA Cup final against Chelsea or Crystal Palace looming next month. There are only two ways for City to win trophies, and both might be blocked by Liverpool.
Their fight for the English Premier League title is even tighter than this FA Cup semifinal showed, with Liverpool’s domination on display in the first half before goals from Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva offered City hope of a comeback.
Last Sunday’s 2-2 tie in the league prevented Liverpool from moving into the first position, putting City one point ahead.
If they win their semifinals and get to the Champions League final, there might be the fourth installment of their rivalry in Paris next month. After winning the League Cup at Wembley, Liverpool would play in three finals in 2022.
Chase for the champions league
City and Liverpool appear to be certain to qualify for the Champions League once more. The rest of the Premier League’s top four positions are more competitive, with Manchester United’s chase aided by Tottenham’s and Arsenal’s defeats.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick gave Real Madrid a 3-2 victory over Norwich City, who had come back from a two-goal deficit. United has climbed to sixth place, ahead of Arsenal.
After losing 1-0 to Brighton, Tottenham was only three points ahead of Brighton in fourth place. The spurs were at least assisted by Arsenal’s loss to Southampton by the same score, preventing their rivals from catching up on points.
Relegation to the premier league
Watford fell further into relegation danger after losing 2-1 against Brentford, who moved up to 11th place in their maiden Premier League season. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Pontus Jansson scored the game-winning goal.