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View from the Wembley press box

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ManUtd.com reporter Josh Kerr watched as the fans in the stands at Wembley reacted to the unfolding drama in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final…

After a scorching day in London, conditions inside the stadium were very muggy until a spot of rain fell during the warm-up. That downpour helped take some of the heat out of the air, but by no means the atmosphere as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur prepared to face each other. With a greasy pitch and slightly cooler temperatures, we had the perfect conditions for a great game of football.

As the teams emerged from the tunnel, the crowd erupted. The much-anticipated match was now just moments away and loud cheers followed each name as the teams were announced for the final time.

Although Wembley has hosted Tottenham’s Premier League matches this season, United have as good a case as any to claim the national stadium as a second home, this being our 51st appearance here in all competitions.

As the match kicked off, 35,000 United fans joined a chorus of ‘20 Times Man United’, loudly out-singing their Tottenham counterparts as a sea of red faced off with a blanket of white.

The Tottenham supporters certainly hadn’t forgotten that Alexis Sanchez was quite recently a star in the ranks of their north London rivals, booing and jeering whenever the former Arsenal man was on the ball.

Having seen a number of decisions not go the Reds' way in the opening exchanges, the United faithful cheered ironically when a free-kick was finally given for a foul on Paul Pogba.
Dele Ali’s opener had the Reds on the back foot and the nerves on the pitch were beginning to radiate to the stands, but the Red Army soon found their voice again, defiantly supporting the side despite the goal deficit.

And who else would draw United level but Alexis? Spurs fans’ hearts must have sunk when they saw the Chilean rise to net a beautiful header. The Reds in Wembley went mad; it was game on.

It was a fast and ferocious first half and even Mauricio Pochettino was struggling to keep his cool as he erupted on the touchline, having seen a throw-in decision not go his team’s way. 

Slow-motion reaction to Alexis equalisingVideo

Just before the break, the Tottenham supporters were off their seats thinking they had regained the lead, but Eric Dier's shot rattled the post and the half ended with the score still level at 1-1.

The feeling in the press box at half-time was that the match could go either way. In the concourse it was much the same: there was an atmosphere of nerves, but belief Jose Mourinho’s men could go on and win it.

When Ander Herrera netted what would ultimately prove to be the winner, the red flags were flying high inside Wembley, while Pochettino could only put his head in his hands.

'We showed amazing courage'Video

You could hear a pin drop in the Spurs end, while, right in front, the Reds were celebrating on the pitch as the supporters sang ‘Glory, Glory, Man United’ with all their hearts.

As time ticked away, the game became more tense – nobody was leaving this one early. As five minutes of added time were announced, United fans cried out in anguish:
“Just hold on!”


The tension evaporated when the final whistle went and the roars of the United fans echoed around the stadium. The Reds had earned a place in the 2018 FA Cup final.

Fan Cam: 'It was stressful to watch!'Video

Spurs’ fans made a hasty getaway, while the United supporters were all on their feet applauding the team’s efforts, and no doubt many of them were already making mental plans for a return here next month.

It was a wonderful end to a wonderful game of football at Wembley. Here's to another one there in a few weeks' time.

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