Ander Herrera sends United to FA Cup final

Manchester United booked their place in the FA Cup final with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham in a thrilling encounter at Wembley.

Ander Herrera was the unlikely United hero, firing a 62nd-minute winner after Alexis Sanchez cancelled out Dele Alli’s opener in a pulsating first half.

Spurs scored inside the first minute of January’s Premier League meeting with United and Harry Kane tried to repeat the feat in a blistering start, only to see a 20-yard shot deflect behind for a corner.

United steadied after the early Spurs onslaught only to fall victim to a clinical 11th-minute attack as Christian Eriksen was played in behind the advanced Ashley Young and crossed to set up Alli for the simplest of tap-ins.

United settled again and hit back midway through the half as Paul Pogba outmuscled Mousa Dembele on the left wing, picked out Sanchez with an inch-perfect cross which evaded the Spurs centre-backs, and the Chilean headed home across the stationary Michel Vorm.

With the stakes so high, both sides approached the second half with trepidation. It wasn’t until the 58th minute that the first clear opening arrived, Chris Smalling throwing his body in the way of Kane’s drive.

United continued to ask the greater questions, though, and took the lead for the first time where Herrera arrived from nowhere to apply the finishing touch to a flowing counter involving Sanchez and Lukaku.

Spurs pushed for a route back into the game but it was heartbreak for Mauricio Pochettino’s men as the club’s miserable FA Cup semi-final record extended to eight consecutive defeats.

For Jose Mourinho, who will return to Wembley for the final on May 19, former club Chelsea or Southampton stand between him and the fourth trophy of his tenure at Old Trafford.