This weekend sees the third round of the FA Cup - the world’s oldest ever association football tournament - get underway. And it is this stage which attracts the eyes of football fans worldwide as the Premier League and Championship teams make their entry into the competition. The knockout nature of this tournament and the tendency of Premier League managers to field second-string sides is what gives lower-league teams the opportunity to register a shock result which is relished in that club’s history for years and years to come. Such an occurence – as many pundits like to term it – is down to the ‘magic of the Cup', which makes it such an exciting competition to follow.We look at five recent instances where the script was torn apart by the underdogs to claim an unlikely result!
#1 Cambridge United 0-0 Manchester United - 4th Round (2015)
For a city renowned around the globe for its University, it was high time the football club associated with it found themselves a place in Cambridge folklore. They had the opportunity to do just that when they were drawn against Premier League giants and 11-time FA Cup winners Manchester United in the fourth round of last year’s edition of the FA Cup.
An enthralling encounter saw Cambridge United terrify the United defence with their set-piece play – players crowding David De Gea’s six-yard box, hoping to win that decisive header. Defensively, they were resolute as well, throwing bodies in the way of shots and preventing the likes of Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria from breaking them down.
The goalkeeper, Chris Dunn, was in terrific form too, saving brilliantly from Di Maria and Falcao. He also made crucial clearances to keep his clean sheet intact. United’s failure to find the back of the net made it as embarrassing a result for them as it was memorable for Cambridge United – a 0-0 draw earning the League Two side a lucrative replay at Old Trafford.
Despite the inevitable thrashing handed out to the minnows – 76 places below Louis van Gaal’s side in the Football League ladder – in the replay, a starting XI which cost exactly nothing holding a starting XI worth nearly £180m is a headline result in itself. And manager Richard Money even admitted it being the ‘best moment of his life’.