London: Majestic Manchester City crushed Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final Saturday to become the first team to win the English treble of league championship and both domestic cups in the most emphatic way imaginable.
The victory matched the competition’s record final win — set when Bury beat Derby County 116 years ago — and was the perfect end to an amazing season for unarguably one of the finest teams to grace the long history of the English game.
Coming after they retained the Premier League title last week and won the League Cup in a penalty shootout over Chelsea, City’s sixth FA Cup triumph made them the eighth team to win the prized League and FA Cup double and first since Chelsea in 2010.
Raheem Sterling was initially credited with a hat-trick, only for his first goal to later be awarded to Gabriel Jesus, who also got two as City ended their 61-game season with 169 goals, beating their own previous best of 156.
“It was an incredible final for us and we have finished an incredible year,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “The players deserve all the recognition. To have gone 10 months in all competitions and be the first team to do that is incredible.”
Man City, 2-0 up at half time through David Silva and Jesus, effectively sealed the deal when Kevin de Bruyne came off the bench to smash in the third after 61 minutes.
Jesus slotted the fourth before Sterling, who was brought up in the shadow of the stadium, took centre stage with two in the last 10 minutes.
“I grew up here and saw this stadium being built. It’s a massive dream come true to win trophies here,” said the England winger. “It shows what the manager is building here. He said we needed to get the mentality right and we did that and did it exceptionally well,” added Sterling.
Watford never looked remotely capable of ending their 30-year winless run against City in their second appearance in the final having lost to Everton in 1984. They had only one scoring chance which Roberto Pereyra couldn’t convert.
The underdogs did have the first clear chance after 11 minutes when Pereyra shot from the edge of the box but Ederson flew off his line to save with his foot and that proved their high-water mark.
There was an air of inevitability when City struck after 26 minutes as diminutive duo Silva and Sterling won headers against big Watford defenders, allowing Silva to seize on the loose ball and fire past Heurelho Gomes. They doubled the lead when Bernardo Silva supplied Jesus, starting ahead of the unused Sergio Aguero, to steer the ball goalwards and over the line.
The second half was a one-sided affair.