Youri Tielemans was the hero for Leicester City as an incredible goal saw Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes win the FA Cup Final 1-0 at the expense of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
With 21,000 fans in attandance at Wembley in the biggest UK event since the beginning of lockdown, Leicester supporters were treated to one of the greatest goals in the club’s history as Tielemans’ long-range strike downed Chelsea to earn FA Cup glory.
Chelsea looked to have levelled late on, but VAR gave Ben Chilwell offside by centimetres as their joy turned to misery.
Chelsea can still end the season on a high with a Champions League Final against Manchester City to look forward to, but the Blues remain in a fight for a top-four Premier League finish – and Tuchel’s men have lost their form at precisely the wrong moment.
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The first half was a cagey affair in which Chelsea dominated possession, but Leicester arguably had the better chances as Jamie Vardy was twice blocked out.
Thomas Tuchel made his frustrations with Timo Werner clear as the forward fired a shot over when well placed. In fairness to Werner, he was lively – but Chelsea’s attack once again lacked a focal point.
Leicester grew into the game after the break and drew confidence from attacking the end housing their own fans, with each corner won drawing encouragement as their belief grew.
In a game short of chances, Tielemans – the best player on the pitch – took his when it mattered most. Leicester closed down Chelsea at the back and the ball fell to the Belgian. He had time and space to set himself before driving an unstoppable effort into the top right-hand corner of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s net.
Chelsea went in search of an equaliser as Kasper Schmeichel made a big save to deny Ben Chilwell, but Leicester held on as club legend Wes Morgan came off the bench to organise the rearguard action.
Chelsea thought they were level as they bundled the ball home in the 88th minute, but Chilwell was given offside by the tightest of margins as Leicester fans celebrated like it was a late winner for their side – which, technically, it was.
As the full-time whistle went, Leicester players fell to their knees while their fans went delerious in the Wembley stands – and for one afternoon at least, it felt as though the pandemic was merely a bad memory. (ES)