The 1990 Football Association (FA) Cup Final was played at Wembley Stadium between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, on the 12th May 1990.
Alex Ferguson was still to win a trophy as the Manchester United manager, since his appointment in 1986, while Crystal Palace had never won a major trophy. The Final turned out to be a great game and ultimately a turning point in the history of both football clubs.
Both teams were in the First division at the time, while Manchester United had finished the season in 13th position and Crystal Palace had finished 15th In the preceding league fixtures that season the games had finished in a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park and a 2-1 victory to Crystal Palace at United’s Old Trafford stadium.
According to the form of both teams they were very evenly matched, but Manchester United were the favourites to win the Cup, probably due to their more impressive history.
It wasn’t long before the game came to life when Gary O’Reilly scored for Crystal Palace after 17 minutes, when he scored with a header that just beat the United goalkeeper Jim Leighton.
Manchester United equalised after 35 minutes, when captain Bryan Robson’s header was deflected into the Crystal Palace goal, the first half finished at 1-1.
United looked more likely to score during the second half of the game as they pressed forward, and the goal duly came when Mark Hughes scored a great goal to give United a 2-1 lead.
Palace weren’t out of the game, as Ian Wright, who had missed much of the season through injury, came on as a substitute and scored a great equalising goal after 73 minutes.
With the 90 minutes finished the score was 2-2, which signalled an extra 30 minutes of play to decide the winner. Within two minutes of extra time Ian Wright had scored his second goal and Crystal Palace were leading 3-2. Lee Martin had already been substituted for United and then Gary Pallister was injured for United as well.
With time ticking away and a Crystal Palace victory edging ever closer, Mark Hughes scored his second goal of the match to level the score at 3-3, the game had ended in a draw and the teams would be forced to meet again five days later in a replay.
The following day the Manchester United team paraded through Manchester in an open top bus, in a pre-arranged parade, which many would think was very presumptuous, however they had no trophy to display to their fans.
On Thursday 17th May both teams were at Wembley stadium again for the FA Cup Final replay. This game was an entirely different encounter, gone was the open, attacking and exciting play of the first the match, this game was very scrappy, with numerous fouls, player bookings and limited goal scoring opportunities.
In the second half of the game United began to dominate and Lee Martin scored his first and only goal for the club as went onto Manchester United to win the FA Cup 1-0.
The game was a pivotal point in the history of both clubs as Manchester United went onto qualify for the European Cup Winners Cup and it was the first of now many trophies they have won under manager Alex Ferguson. If Crystal Palace had won the cup, it would have been their first major trophy in their history and would have given them the opportunity to compete in European football, until this day however, they have not won a major trophy.