In the highly anticipated all-Manchester FA Cup final affair, Ilkay Gundogan popped up with an innate moment of brilliance to give Pep Guardiola’s City a very, very early lead.
One can only assume that Guardiola’s pre-match team talk would have consisted of precise tactical instructions and motivation to one-up their neighbourhood rivals, but it’s the ever-present “start quickly!” command that Gundogan listened to most.
It eases the nerves, gives you a foothold in the game, but, most importantly, it sets up a mountainous task for your opponents to get back into proceedings.
Ilkay Gundogan vs Manchester United, 13 seconds
It was none other than Man City’s skipper, Gundogan, to provide the goods within the very early embers of the 2013 final.
Victor Lindelof’s fluffed headed clearance set the German international up perfectly as he latched onto the ball and hit it first time on the volley.
David de Gea was left with no chance as he was rooted to the spot, looking around wondering what had just happened.
Louis Saha vs Chelsea, 2009, 25 seconds
Everton began the 2009 final against Chelsea on the centre circle and managed to break the deadlock well inside half a minute.
Amazingly, Louis Saha was the seventh Everton player to be involved in the move. It bounced in the vicinity of the Frenchman just inside Chelsea’s 18-yard box and he unleashed a strike any footballer would be proud of.
Although the Toffees started on the front foot, their unforeseen dream failed to last. Goals courtesy of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard dampened the Merseyside mood and they were denied FA Cup glory.
Bob Chatt vs West Brom, 1895, 30 seconds
Bob Chatt’s goal for Aston Villa held the record for over a century, showing just how hard it is to start a game of such high magnitude at the races.
His goal proved decisive as West Brom were too dumfounded to respond even if they had the whole game – bar 30 seconds – to muster up a response.
Roberto Di Matteo vs Middlesbrough, 1997, 45 seconds
Ade Mafe, Chelsea’s fitness coach at the time, claimed that this goal was scored so early on that he was attending to final-day duties by fetching socks for the players. Yep, it was that quick.
It’s fair to say Roberto Di Matteo’s 40-yard howitzer caught some off guard, not least the Chelsea coaches, but everyone else at Wembley.
Chelsea’s Italian star picked up the ball and embarked on a mazy run into the open space. Without a second thought, Di Matteo’s shot left his right foot and clipped the upright on the way in. One of those. It was as special as they come and rightfully earns its place in FA Cup folklore.