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5
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Ander Herrera 9/10, Alex Sanchez 8/10 as Man United advance to FA Cup final

Ander Herrera's second half effort completed the comeback against Tottenham to send Man United into the FA Cup final.

This FA Cup semi-final wasn't so much a game of football as a boxing match, with Manchester United allowing Tottenham Hotspur to punch themselves out before mounting a rousing comeback to win 2-1. United looked overwhelmed in the early stages but then they asserted themselves in midfield, and it was fitting that their star man and inspiration, Ander Herrera, should step forward to score the winner. United stride into the final, with a chance to end a season both promising and disappointing on the most positive of notes.

Positives

 Herrera was excellent throughout, and Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba and Phil Jones came into their own after a difficult start

Negatives

Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young looked unsure of themselves for long periods, with the former perhaps lucky to have avoided dismissal and the latter far too often playing back towards his goal, and thus aiding the fearsome pressing from Spurs.

Manager (out of 10)

9 -- Jose Mourinho deserves full credit here -- playing three in the middle so that United were not as exposed as they were when they came to Wembley in the Premier League, making changes only where necessary, and allowing his team to play with creativity and tempo. And, of course, they showed terrific resilience.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 7 -- Helpless for Spurs' goal and when Eric Dier's deflected strike hit the base of his post. Positioning, passing and handling were typically solid throughout.

DF Antonio Valencia, 5 -- An off-day for the full-back, who too often turned predictably into areas of trouble and could have been given a red card for one challenge. Worked very hard as always but positioning and use of the ball were some way below his best.

DF Chris Smalling, 7 -- After a poor start he recovered well, handling a subdued Harry Kane whenever he flared into life and playing the ball forward with far greater confidence than in recent weeks.

DF Phil Jones, 8 -- Another strong outing, where he stepped forward to deal with any emerging threats, and by the end, he was bringing the ball out of defence to start counterattacks. Composed when it mattered most.

DF Ashley Young, 6 -- Very badly exposed for the opening goal, and struggled in the first half as he too often played the ball back into danger. Eliminated most of those errors in the second half though, when he was vastly better.

MF Nemanja Matic, 7 -- Helped his team slowly to win the arm-wrestle in midfield, asserting himself with calm, clever and unhurried passing.

Ander Herrera's second-half strike put Man United into the FA Cup final.
Alexis Sanchez's goal was an encouraging sign for the Chilean, who has gotten off to a slow start at Man United.

MF Ander Herrera, 9 -- The man of the match. Pugnacious in the tackle, precise in the pass, ruthless in the finish. The perfect blend of passion, technique and intensity, and a showing to rival his superb performance against Manchester City in the Premier League earlier this month.

MF Paul Pogba, 8 -- Began sluggishly, caught jogging back as Spurs scored -- but then he dispossessed Moussa Dembele with startling strength before flighting a magnificent cross for Alexis Sanchez to equalize. He was a different player after that, his passing, dribbling and general presence moving up several gears.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 8 -- Not far behind Herrera as a candidate for the game's star man. Scored a fine header to equalise, moved elusively and with great purpose, and showed fine chemistry with his teammates throughout. Has found his feet after a hard start at United.

FW Jesse Lingard, 7 -- His best work came with the pressure he put on the ball, his smart running an asset until the moment he was withdrawn. A performance of great diligence and intelligence.

FW Romelu Lukaku, 7 -- A fine focal point for United's attack, roaming across the pitch from the centre to the left wing, and creating positional problems for half of Spurs' defence at once. Passing in the final third could have been a touch better, but he was an excellent outlet on the break.

Substitutes

DF Matteo Darmian, N/R (for Valencia, 80 mins) -- Came on to close the game out after Valencia took a knock, and dealt calmly with late pressure from Spurs.

FW Marcus Rashford, N/R (for Lingard, 83 mins) -- Showed remarkable acceleration on the break, penning Spurs back at a vital moment of the match, and could have broken free to score.

MF Marouane Fellaini, N/R (for Sanchez, 90+6 mins) -- On at the very death to run down the clock, and so had little time to get involved.

Musa Okwonga is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow on Twitter: @Okwonga.

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