Manchester City clinched an unprecedented domestic treble by winning the FA Cup thanks to a Raheem Sterling-inspired 6-0 hammering of Watford at Wembley, equalling the record for the biggest win in the competition's final.
Pep Guardiola's men needed penalties to beat Chelsea in the EFL Cup final and were run extremely close by Liverpool in the Premier League, but Saturday's triumph was a procession as City rounded off an historic campaign in incredible fashion.
Although the first big chance of the game was created by Watford, a dominant City made them pay just before the half-hour with David Silva's first goal since December and Gabriel Jesus doubled their advantage with 38 minutes on the clock.
Watford's positive start to the second period was futile and ruthless City swept them away in style, as Jesus set up substitute Kevin De Bruyne and then added his second of the afternoon.
Sterling rounded off a glorious day for Guardiola's men by scoring twice in the last nine minutes.
For all of City's early domination, the first opportunity fell to Watford on the break in the 10th minute. Gerard Deulofeu led the counter down the right and his cross was perfect for Roberto Pereyra but the Argentinian's shot was blocked by the outrushing Ederson.
City capitalised on that let-off 16 minutes later, as Sterling headed the loose ball into the left side of the box and David Silva fired across Heurelho Gomes into the bottom-right corner.
Watford's task became even greater late in the half when Jesus nudged Bernardo Silva's cross past Gomes, the goal belatedly given to the Brazil striker despite Sterling appearing to nudge it over the line.
Gomes was well beaten when City finally extended their lead just past the hour, as Watford were caught on the break by Jesus and he squared to the exceptional De Bruyne, who cleverly sidestepped the goalkeeper and converted six minutes after coming on.
Jesus got a second goal in the 68th minute, racing on to De Bruyne's pass and confidently slotting past Gomes.
Sterling completed the rout and his double in the latter stages, first meeting Bernardo Silva's cross and firing in from close range, before then latching on to De Bruyne's right-wing delivery and finding the net despite Gomes' best efforts, capping a momentous day for City.
3 – Raheem Sterling has now scored a hat-trick in three different competitions in 2018-19, doing so in the Premier League and FA Cup (v Watford), while also doing so for England (v Czech Republic) in a Euro 2020 qualifier. Exemplar. #MCIWAT #facupfinal pic.twitter.com/wzduB257EO— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 18, 2019
What does it mean? City make history yet again
Guardiola's spell in charge of City has been remarkable. Even though supporters will have been disappointed by another failure in the Champions League, winning English football's first ever domestic treble is a fine consolation, particularly given Saturday's astounding victory.
After Pereyra's early chance, there rarely appeared to be much hope for Watford as they became the latest victims of Guardiola's exceptional City, who showed – if anyone had any doubt – they are the leading power in English football.
De Bruyne injects brilliance in stunning cameo
Although Sterling and Jesus deserve plaudits for their respective performances, De Bruyne was truly immense after his 55th-minute introduction for Riyad Mahrez. The Belgian injected drive, creativity and power in midfield, while he got a goal and had a hand in Sterling's second.
Gomes departs on a low
Watford's Gomes looks set to retire and he bowed out after a difficult day. Boss Javi Gracia might regret an arguably sentimental selection as he offered little assurance at the back with his inability to cope with crosses.
While the season may be over, City will not be resting on their laurels over the close season, with Guardiola certain to bolster his team to ensure they remain at the front of the pack next term. They are said to be after an attacking midfielder and a left-back. As for Watford, they will be hoping to keep hold of key players such as Deulofeu and Abdoulaye Doucoure, while Gracia has been linked with a return to Spain.
19. Juni 2019
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