On Saturday, April 22, Riyad Mahrez sent Manchester City into the FA Cup finals by scoring a hat trick against Sheffield United (3-0). The Algerian international became the first Manchester City player to score a hat-trick at Wembley and the first to score a hat-trick in the competition in the semi-final.
Manchester City qualified for the final of the FA Cup this Saturday, April 22, thanks to a hat trick of Riyad Mahrez (3-0). A great performance of the Algerian international who enters more and more in the history of the English club but also that of soccer across the Channel.
With this hat-trick, the captain of the Fennecs became the first player of Manchester City to score a hat-trick in the mythical stadium of Wembley. He is also the first to score a hat-trick in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. In addition, he is the oldest player (32) to score 3 goals in a match under Pep Guardiola. "The last three years we came here and lost. I think we played a good game, a really solid and serious game and we deserve to go to the final," reacted the Algerian after the game. The former Leicester player also scored his 15th goal of the season in all competitions. Relegated to the bench for several games and absent during the double confrontation against Bayern Munich (3-0, 1-1), Mahrez sends a strong signal to pep Guardiola with this performance. The Spanish coach has also been full of praise for his striker who, for him, is an excellent player.
"Mahrez is always grumpy with me when he does not play all the time. He pointed out to me how grumpy he was. Today (Saturday) he didn't. He's an exceptional player. Whether he's playing or not, he's exceptional, he's a player for the biggest games and he has the mentality to score goals. The composure he showed on the penalty was important (...) I am very satisfied with Ryad (Mahrez) because he loves to play soccer and he has given a lot in these years. I hope he will give even more in the future," said the Catalan coach on beIN Sports after the game against Sheffield. This does not prevent him from relegating the African Golden Ball 2016 to the background. The Spanish technician preferring the profile of Bernardo Silva who is more defensive than the Algerian international.
Another historic treble in sight
In addition to the FA Cup, Ryad Mahrez and Manchester City are involved in two other major competitions: the Champions League and the Premier League. Qualified for the semi-finals of the Cup with the big ears, the Citizens are two games away from playing a new final after the one they lost to Chelsea in 2021 (0-1). They will meet Real Madrid in the semi-final. The Sky Blues are also in the race for the title in the championship. Second in the standings at 5 points from the leader Arsenal, Mahrez and company now have their fate in their hands. They have two games less than their direct rival and they will host him this Wednesday, April 26. A victory would bring them closer to the title. Guardiola and his men could therefore sign a historic treble this season even if the former Bayern Munich man prefers to avoid the subject.
"We are far from it. For a fun moment it's okay, but the reality was just coming here and playing. What impresses me about this club is that everyone (the hierarchy, the backroom staff) wins titles and we're still here. That's what makes me most proud as a manager. One year you can do it. I don't want to win a Champions League and then you're down. I'm still here because we won or I wouldn't be here, I'm not stupid. After six years, we are still in the last seven weeks fighting for titles, the biggest ones, and this is the most important trophy we can get. Thanks to the guys," he said. They will play a first final against the Gunners this Wednesday, April 26 (19:00 GMT).
— Manchester City (@ManCityFra) April 23, 2023
In the FA Cup final, they will face their neighbor and biggest rival, Manchester United (June 3). The first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid is scheduled for May 9 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The second leg will be played on May 21 in Manchester. If Ryad Mahrez is a player for the big games, he should enjoy this end of season.