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Football | FA Cup

Manchester City © Action Images

Five classic FA Cup final goals

Ahead of Manchester City's meeting with Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, AFP Sports remembers five classic FA Cup final goals.

RICKY VILLA (Tottenham Hotspur 3 Manchester City 2, 1981)

The most famous FA Cup final goal of all, Ricky Villa's soft-shoed shuffle through the Manchester City defence remains one of the most iconic images associated with the old Wembley Stadium. After a 1-1 draw in the first game, the sides were locked at 2-2 in the replay when Villa, who had already scored earlier in the match, picked up the ball in the inside-left channel, 35 yards from goal. The Argentine, his straggly hair streaming behind him, tiptoed his way into the area, through a phalanx of defenders, before cutting inside and slotting a low shot past Joe Corrigan to send the cup to White Hart Lane.

NORMAN WHITESIDE (Manchester United 1 Everton 0, 1985)

On a baking May afternoon at Wembley, the FA Cup final was deep into extra time and looked to be heading to a replay when a pass from Mark Hughes found Whiteside in space on the right. His legs heavy, his socks beginning to slip, the Northern Irish midfielder quietly edged into the penalty area, using defender Pat Van Den Hauwe to shield the ball from the sightline of goalkeeper Neville Southall, before bending a devastating shot into the bottom-left corner. Whiteside later joined Everton in 1989.

KEITH HOUCHEN (Coventry City 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2, 1987)

Coventry took the cup thanks to an extra-time own goal by Tottenham defender Gary Mabbutt, but it is for Houchen's 62nd-minute goal that the game is best remembered. After laying the ball off to Dave Bennett on the right flank, the English striker surged through a pack of defenders in the box to meet his teammate's cross with a picture-book diving header. The goal took the game to extra time, and Mabbutt obligingly did the rest.

ROBERTO DI MATTEO (Chelsea 2 Middlesbrough 0, 1997)

Italian midfielder Di Matteo provided an explosive start to the 1997 cup final by scoring after just 42 seconds. After collecting the ball just inside his own half, he advanced unchallenged into Middlesbrough territory before dispatching a dipping right-foot shot from 25 yards that kissed the crossbar on its way into the net. He held the record for the fastest goal in a modern FA Cup final until 2009, when Louis Saha netted after 25 seconds in Everton's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea.

STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool 3 West Ham United 3; Liverpool win 3-1 on penalties, 2006)

The last FA Cup final goal to be scored at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, which was used as an alternative venue during the building of the new Wembley, was fittingly one of the best in the competition's history. Twelve months on from their astonishing comeback to defeat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool trailed West Ham 3-2 as injury time approached when a loose ball fell to Gerrard and he cracked a sublime 35-yard shot into the bottom-left corner. Liverpool won on penalties and their captain ended the day with another trophy in his arms.


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