Manchester City misfire as Haaland flops on big stage once again | Barney Ronay

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Guardiola picked an odd-looking team and the striker personified a hungover performance from the champions

Before kick-off at a lovely soft sunlit Wembley Stadium, Manchester City’s fans turned their backs and engaged in a mass Cup final Poznan. At the final whistle there was a strange, optical echo of that moment. Here we had an anti-Poznan, the Poznan of departures, as the backs of the blue shirts were once again turned, this time heading towards the stairs and out along the gloomy grey Wembley concourses.

Fans never stick around at the end of a losing final. Many did so here just long enough to applaud the City players after what is still a champion season. And this always was a weird, through-the-looking-glass FA Cup final. It ended with the leaky-roof billion-dollar underdogs beating the remarkably efficient government outreach project, which is some way short of culture clubs and crazy gangs but we work with what we have.

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Written by Barney Ronay at Wembley
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