KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Erik ten Hag can breathe again. The Manchester United manager’s job hung in the  balance after his team dropped a three-goal lead before defeating second-tier Coventry 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 extra-time draw in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

United were cruising at 3-0 up with 20 minutes to play. They then almost threw the match away and were even 2-1 down in the shootout before Rasmus Hojlund nervelessly secured a second successive FA Cup Final derby against neighbours City. This will be the first meeting of the same teams in successive finals since Blackburn Rovers beat Queens Park in 1884 and 1885.

Luckless Coventry had also been beaten on penalties at Wembley in last season’s promotion playoff.

Injury-hit United, after an erratic season with an early European exit and modest Premier League campaign, had desperately needed cup progress for the sake of both their own pride and the job security of manager Ten Hag. They have not won a game since beating Liverpool in a thrilling Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.

They pressed forward immediately to claim the early advantage. Marcus Rashford shot narrowly wide after cutting in from the left then Alejandro Garnacho sliced wide before Scott McTominay struck from close range, converting a low right-wing cross from Diogo Dalot.

Coventry were heading for a fourth defeat in five matches when the unmarked Harry Maguire headed home a right-wing corner from Bruno Fernandes in the first minute of stoppage time and then the Portugal playmaker struck a third just before the hour.

That was the prelude, however, to a remarkable turnaround.

First striker Ellis Simms hooked home in the 71st minute then substitute Victor Torp saw a shot drift over Pierre Onana after taking a massive deflection off Aaron Wan-Bissaka. In stoppage time United States forward Haji Wright equalised from the penalty spot after hands by the luckless Wan-Bissaka to send the duel into the extra halfhour.

Ratcliffe had been a late arrival at Wembley after completing the London Marathon in an admirable time for a man of 71 in four hours 30 minutes. He was in time to see Fernandes and Simms each denied by the posts in extra time and Coventry having a ‘winner’ by Torp ruled out by VAR before eventually succumbing in the shootout.

City back again

On Satureday Manchester City had bounced back from the disappointment of the Champions League quarter-final exit to Real Madrid as Bernardo Silva’s late goal sunk Chelsea at Wembley to seal their place in the final.

The Portuguese midfielder turned in the winner at the far post from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross six minutes from time. This was redemption for Silva after his poor spot-kick played a key role in City’s loss on penalties in Spain.

Chelsea will regret missing a host of chances, nearly all falling to striker Nicolas Jackson, as they suffered another agonising Wembley experience after the extra-time defeat on penalties against Liverpool in the League Cup final.

They were also upset at not having been awarded a second-half penalty when Cole Palmer’s free-kick struck Jack Grealish’s hand in the wall, only for the video assistant referee to rule no offence had taken place.

This was Chelsea’s 11th elimination from the FA Cup at the semi-final stage, the third most in the competition’s history after Everton (13) and Tottenham (12).

The final will see the first time meeting of the same teams in successive finals since Blackburn Rovers met Queens Park of Glasgow in 1884 and 1885. Blackburn won both finals. Scottish teams played in the FA Cup in the 1870s and 1880s but only Queens Park ever reached the final.