- Ilkay Gündogan (1', 51')
- Bruno Fernandes (33' Pen)
City captain Gundogan entered the record books by scoring the fastest goal in FA Cup final history as he crashed home a stunning volley 12 seconds after kickoff.
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United, seeking to win both domestic cups in the same season for the first time and at the same time wreck City's hopes of emulating their own Treble in 1999, levelled against the run of play with a 33rd-minute Bruno Fernandes penalty.
But Gundogan restored City's lead with another volley seven minutes after the interval and Pep Guardiola's side resisted some late pressure to win the trophy for a seventh time.
For the first time in 190 meetings the clubs were clashing for silverware, and not just bragging rights, and Wembley was decked in red and sky blue.
Smoke from the prematch pyrotechnics had not even cleared when City took the lead in spectacular fashion.
Keeper Stefan Ortega launched a long punt towards Erling Haaland and as the ball bounced into the path of Gundogan he did not hesitate to send a dipping right-foot volley arcing over a transfixed David De Gea.
Rodri and Jack Grealish both failed to convert good chances in the opening five minutes in which United barely touched the ball while Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne also went close for City before United were handed an unexpected gift.
When United right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka headed a diagonal ball harmlessly across the area it appeared innocuous but, as play continued, referee Paul Tierney was instructed to check a pitch side monitor for a possible handball by Grealish.
To the unlucky Grealish's dismay, and the delight of the United fans, Tierney pointed to the spot and Fernandes calmly shuffled up to send Ortega the wrong way with his penalty.
It energised United and Raphael Varane volleyed over from a corner as half-time approached.
City needed slightly longer in the second half to re-establish their superiority and again it was Gundogan displaying his knack of scoring crucial goals.
This time he was picked out by De Bruyne's chipped pass and his left-foot volley, not struck anywhere near as perfectly as his earlier effort, bounced its way through a crowded area and crept inside De Gea's right-hand post.
Gundogan was denied a hat trick by an offside flag and as the minutes ticked down City began to look edgy with United substitute Alejandro Garnacho curling a shot agonisingly wide while a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time ended with the ball bouncing off City's crossbar.
- Paul Tierney