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

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

For a split second, it looked as if Coventry were about to write arguably the greatest FA Cup story ever told.

There were ecstatic scenes in the Coventry end at Wembley when Victor Torp poked home at the end of extra time to make it 4-3, after they had trailed 3-0 against Manchester United.

But the celebrations were cut short by an offside decision before United scraped through on penalties after an astonishing comeback by the Championship club.

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

“We’ve just said to them [the players] they’ve put themselves right up there in the history of the football club,” said Coventry boss Mark Robins.

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

‘Had he cut his toenail we wouldn’t be talking penalties’

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

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

First-half goals by Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire had put the Red Devils in control at half-time before Fernandes looked 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 with a deflected finish eight minutes later.

“That got everybody’s tails up,” said Robins, an FA Cup winner with Manchester United in 1990, after the match.

Then Haji Wright sparked scenes of utter jubilation among 36,000 Sky Blues fans, keeping his composure to score from the penalty spot five minutes into added time.

Yet there was even more drama to follow when Coventry thought they had snatched right at the end of extra-time through Torp only for Wright to be judged offside.

“We were 20 seconds from going to an FA Cup final then 30 seconds later we’re in a penalty shootout,” added Robins.

“Had he [Wright] cut his toenail, we wouldn’t be talking about penalties.”

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

Form England and Arsenal forward Ian Wright said Coventry “really came into it” as the tie “descended into chaos”.

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

‘This will hurt’

Losing at Wembley on penalties 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.

They then 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,” added Robins.

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

In a dramatic quarter-final, they were losing 2-1 at Wolves and on the verge of going out before scoring two goals in stoppage time to go through.

And they gave United an almighty scare before going out.

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

“This FA Cup run will be spoken about in Coventry City circles for a long, long time. We cannot be too down about it.”

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