It may as well have been 1990 revisited. All it lacked was the replay. But the central themes, the broad narrative, were just as they were 26 years ago.
There was the South London hero coming off the bench to breathe life into Crystal Palace, so much so that they dared to hope a major trophy finally beckoned.
There was the Manchester United comeback, with eight minutes left, and the ache for Alan Pardew of a glorious opportunity missed. And then there was the beleaguered United boss parading the FA Cup as vindication of his regime.
Jesse Lingard strips off his shirt after scoring an extra-time winner to claim the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat of Crystal Palace
Substitute Lingard netted the winner despite Manchester United being reduced to 10-men after Chris Smalling saw red in extra-time
The lid of the FA Cup lid goes flying as Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick lift the famous trophy at Wembley
Rooney (centre) leads the celebrations as the champagne sprays after Manchester United's FA Cup final victory
Manager Louis van Gaal is applauded as he hoists the trophy after what may yet be his final game in charge of United
Manchester United players celebrate on the pitch after winning their first silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson retired
Manchester United responded to Palace's opening goal within minutes with Juan Mata netting the equaliser
The Spain playmaker leaps at the corner flag to celebrate drawing Manchester United level in the FA Cup final
Substitute Jason Puncheon celebrates with team-mates after coming on to smash home the opening goal for Crystal Palace
Manchester United keeper David de Gea is beaten by the sheer force of Puncheon's volley on 78 minutes
The United squad celebrate in their dressing room with the FA Cup, with experienced winger Antonio Valencia holding the famous trophy
PLAYER RATINGS by Sami Mokbel
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Valencia 7, Smalling 5, Blind 6, Rojo 6.5 (Darmian 6.5), Carrick 7.5, Mata 7.5 (Lingard 7.5), Fellaini 7, Rooney 8.5, Martial 7, Rashford 8 (Young 6.5)
Subs: Jones, Romero, Ander Herrera, Schneiderlin
Booked: Smalling, Rojo, Mata, Rooney, Fellaini
Scorer: Mata 81'
Crystal Palace: Hennessey 6.5, Ward 7.5, Dann 8 (Mariappa 6.5), Delaney 7.5, Souare 7, Jedinak 7, Cabaye 6 (Puncheon 7.5), Zaha 6.5, McArthur 6, Bolasie 6.5, Wickham 6.5 (Gayle 6.5)
Subs: Speroni, Adebayor, Sako, Kelly
Booked: Dann, Delaney
Scorer: Puncheon 78'
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Louis van Gaal will not get another 23 years after this final, like Sir Alex Ferguson did, but at least when the Dutchman finally delivered a trophy it was in the manner we have come to expect.
Not gloriously, not with smooth, delightful football. It was ponderous at times and United teetered on the brink of a calamitous defeat more than once.
But they got there in the end. And one of Van Gaal’s fledglings, Jesse Lingard, delivered a stunning winning goal, 20 minutes into extra time, just as United seemed to be imploding with defender Chris Smalling having been sent off.
Lingard’s strike from Damien Delaney’s clearance was something quite glorious with which to cap Van Gaal’s reign.
As such it was hardly in keeping with the previous two years, but for sheer belligerence alone, he perhaps deserved this victory.
He certainly thought so, plonking the FA Cup in front of the press before launching into a justification of his time at United.
‘In spite of being down to 10 players, we showed the spirit that we have shown on the way to the final,’ he said.
‘We do fight to the end. When we proved that again in the final, you can be very proud as Manchester United manager and as a fan.’
That United made it was no thanks to Smalling. Extra time had been a scrappy, nervy affair and the chief drama in the first period came when Yannick Bolasie spun past Smalling, who fell, grappling, grabbing and finally pulling Bolasie back by a boot as he tried to dash away. A second yellow card was inevitable and Smalling was sent off.
Palace had 15 minutes to make the advantage count. They sensed their moment. Dwight Gayle was played in, had a second to shoot but found David de Gea equal to his strike.