Riyad Mahrez’s stunning hat-trick led Manchester City to a decisive 3-0 victory over Sheffield United, securing their place in the FA Cup final for the first time since 2019. The Algerian forward’s performance in the semi-final was the first hat-trick in this stage of the competition since Alex Dawson achieved the feat for Manchester United in 1958.

Sheffield United fought hard, but Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of a historic Treble—winning the Champions League, the Premier League, and the FA Cup—proved too much for the Championship promotion hopefuls. Despite an early opportunity for Sheffield United’s Iliman Ndiaye, the Blades were ultimately outclassed by Pep Guardiola’s side.

Mahrez opened the scoring by converting a penalty just two minutes before half-time after Daniel Jebbison fouled Bernardo Silva. The Algerian international then showcased his skill and agility with a solo effort that left the Sheffield United defense floundering in the 61st minute. Just five minutes later, Mahrez completed his hat-trick by converting Jack Grealish’s cross, further solidifying City’s dominance on the pitch.

The victory allowed Guardiola to rest key players such as Erling Haaland, Grealish, Silva, and Ilkay Gundogan ahead of their crucial Premier League match against current leaders Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. This win capped off a successful week for Manchester City, who also reached the Champions League semi-finals and saw Arsenal drop points in the league.

Guardiola’s team is on a roll, with their sights set on a historic season. Their relentless performances in all three major competitions have put them in a prime position to match Manchester United’s Treble-winning feat in 1999. Although Haaland, the Norwegian goal-scoring machine, didn’t find the net in the FA Cup semi-final, Mahrez more than compensated with his inspired performance.

Manchester City has now reached the FA Cup final for the 12th time without conceding a goal, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since Everton in the 1965-66 season. Their final opponents will be either Manchester United or Brighton & Hove Albion, who face off on Sunday.

As the Cityzens continue their journey in the Champions League, they will face reigning champions Real Madrid in the semi-finals. For Sheffield United, the FA Cup journey ends, but their primary goal remains securing promotion back to the Premier League after being relegated in 2021.

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