Watford routed as Manchester City complete domestic clean sweep with FA Cup
Manchester City 6
Pep Guardiola hailed an incredible season for Manchester City as they destroyed Watford to complete the domestic clean sweep.
They claimed the FA Cup after the most one-sided final for more than a century.
Raheem Sterling scored twice - denied a hat-trick after City’s second goal was later awarded to Gabriel Jesus.
Jesus finished with two, while David Silva and the outstanding Kevin de Bruyne also scored as Watford were hit for six at Wembley.
City were utterly ruthless, never looking back after taking the lead through David Silva’s 26th minute strike.
But they really hammered home their supremacy in the second half, scoring four times in the final half hour.
And they did it all without their talisman, Sergio Aguero, who was left on the bench.
They finish the season with the league title and the Carabao Cup - plus the Community Shield won back in August.
Afterwards Guardiola said: “It was an incredible final for us and we have finished an incredible year.
“To all the people at the club a big congratulations, especially the players because they are the reason why we have won these titles.”
After lifting the cup, captain Vincent Kompany hailed City as the world’s best.
He said: ”It's the best team in the world for me.
“To set such a high standard for so long - not just for one year but two years running now.”
This was a day to send people searching for the record books - with City claiming the biggest cup final win since Bury beat Derby by the same scoreline back in 1903.
The game was a contest for the 20 or so minutes before their first goal.
Watford created the game’s first big chance in the 11th minute, as Gerard Deulofeu surged down the right and played it across to Roberto Pereya, but Ederson raced out to make a crucial block at close range.
Watford also had handball claims when Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot was blocked by the arm of Vincent Kompany at close range.
But the game changed decisively as as City took a 26th minute lead.
Silva beat the offside trap to collect Raheem Sterling’s header and aimed for the far corner, with his shot taking a nick off Kiko Femenia.
Their second came in the 38th minute.
Bernardo Silva clipped a superb ball to Jesus, who came running in on the left side and looping it over the goalkeeper. Sterling, though, was on the line to finish it off.
He claimed the goal, but it was later awarded to Jesus, denying him the first cup final hat-trick since Stan Mortensen in 1953.
City were quickly passing through the gears. Riyad Mahrez twisted one way, then the other, with goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes pushing the ball behind.
But City really made their dominance count after the break.
Jesus drew another save from Gomes, before seeing a header disallowed for offside.
City brought on de Bruyne, who did enough in a 35 minute cameo to land the sponsors’ man of the match award.
He had scored within five minutes of scoring on, finishing off a wonderfully worked move.
Jesus swapped passes with Sterling and, looking to his right, spotted de Bruyne advancing into acres of space.
Jesus unselfishly squared to the Belgian, who sidestepped the diving goalkeeper to slot home number three.
The same two combined for City’s fourth in the 68th minute.
This time de Bruyne supplied the pass with Jesus running on to his perfectly timed ball, waiting for the goalkeeper to commit before finishing coolly.
As the minutes ticked down, City rammed home their dominance, turning an empathic win into a rout.
Sterling made it 5-0 with nine minutes remaining, arriving at the back post to sweep home a sublime cross from Bernardo Silva.
He applied the finishing touch to an emphatic City win in the 88th minute as Watford’s shellshocked defence was broached again.
After Sterling’s initial shot was tipped on to the post by Gomes, he reacted fastest to score at the second attempt.
MAN CITY: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko, B Silva, Gundogan (Sane, 73), D Silva (Stones, 79), Mahrez (K De Bruyne, 55), Gabriel Jesus, Sterling
Subs not used: Danilo, Aguero, Otamendi, Muric
WATFORD: Gomes, Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes (Cleverley 73), Pereyra Success, 66), Deulofeu (Gray, 66), Deeney
Subs not used: Janmaat, Masina, Foster, Kabasele
Referee: Kevin Friend
Belfast Telegraph Digital