Skip to Content

National Loyalties Tested as Grealish Pushes Rashford While Bernardo and Bruno Share Tense Moment

National Loyalties Tested as Grealish Pushes Rashford While Bernardo and Bruno Share Tense Moment

The first-ever Manchester Derby took place in the 2022/23 FA Cup final when the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City took on their arch-rivals Manchester United. The Red Devils headed into this game focused on ending their noisy neighbours’ European Treble dream – but ultimately saw their attempts fail.

The Cityzens didn’t exactly put on a clinic, but just about did what was necessary to get the win and lift the FA Cup title – securing their second title of the campaign. The game itself was full of memorable moments that will probably be talked about for a long time.

It started in a truly unbelievable fashion as Ilkay Gundogan scored within the first 15 seconds of the game – producing an amazing volley from outside the box to send half of Wembley into rupture and the other half into shock.

The Sky Blues kept the pressure on, but couldn’t exactly take their chances as ruthlessly as one would expect them to. This allowed the Red Devils to claw their way back and they got some help from Lady Luck in the form of a penalty after Jack Grealish had handled the ball inside the box.

Bruno Fernandes made no mistake in dispatching it into the back of the net, getting his side right back into the game with around 15 minutes remaining in the first half. However, soon after that, the game melted down into a bit of a slugfest between the players.

Due to the sheer intensity of the game and the tensions brimming at Wembley Stadium, even the players who represent the same national team at the international level could not contain their frustrations. Towards the end of the first half, things got quite ugly.

Grealish, who was already frustrated at the way he was penalized for the penalty and because of the nasty tackles he suffered, lashed out on the left flank and almost gave his national teammate Marcus Rashford a smacking. After being fouled in City’s half, Grealish got up to his feet in frustration and struck the ball straight towards Rashford.

He even gave the United no.10 a little bit of a shove, before Marcus himself cooled him down and got the winger under control. Ultimately, however, the two made up – mostly because Rashford himself showed no real intention of scrapping with his national teammate.

Minutes after that, another scuffle happened as the two sets of players were making their way into the dressing room after half-time. As the players made their way into the dugout, City midfielder Bernardo Silva tried to talk with an assistant referee when Fernandes popped into the scene.

Bruno tried to get his Portugal national team colleague to understand that the penalty was deserved, but Bernardo was not having it. As the United captain tried to put his arms around him and have a little chat with him, Silva quickly shoved him away and did not want to talk to his ‘good buddy’ in the heat of the moment.

The City midfielder was annoyed about the way that penalty was awarded and looked legitimately angry at Fernandes then. The game retained some of its feistiness in the second half, with Erling Haaland clattering into Raphael Varane in an off-the-ball challenge once and the Citizens often making tactical fouls to hold back United’s counter-attacks.

Ultimately, however, Gundogan proved to be the hero of the day as he scored another one with a relatively weak volley that scrambled past David de Gea and that ended up being the decisive strike to their opponents.

Soon after the game, Fernandes seemingly showed a desire to solve any issues with Bernardo as the two players were waiting on receiving the medals.

At one point, Bruno made his way to have a talk with Bernardo – where the two midfielders hashed things out and even embraced each other. The United captain appeared to be giving him some advice during the chat too but was probably just congratulating him for the massive achievement.

While the likes of Gareth Southgate or new Portugal manager Roberto Martinez would be concerned about seeing the two sets of national teammates having tense exchanges, at least these bits proved how hungry both teams were to win the game and why exactly winning the game like that must’ve tasted even sweeter for City.