Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City
Leicester City are the 2021 FA Cup champions after winning a dramatic clash with Chelsea at Wembley, with the long awaited added spice of fans in the stadium.
Youri Tielemans scored a screamer in the 140th FA Cup final and that was enough to win it, but Leicester needed a brilliant save from Kasper Schmeichel and a last minute VAR decision to see them over the line. The fact that 20,000 fans were in the Wembley Stadium made this a special occasion for neutrals as well as the Chelsea and Leicester City supporters.
The pre-match FA Cup 2021 betting odds here at SBOTOP had Leicester City at 3.54 to win, but even my Chelsea supporting mate said it was a fully deserved victory for Brendan Rodgers’ men.
Highlights of the game
With the live crowd noise ringing in their ears both sides tried to reward their fans in the opening exchanges. Leicester fashioned a good chance when Youri Tielemans floated a ball over for Timothy Castagne to chase and he crossed for Jamie Vardy, but Reece James made a good block to deny the Foxes’ striker.
Chelsea were inches away from taking the lead, on 23 minutes, when Mason Mount let fly but the ball took a touch off Wesley Fofana and flew just wide. And on 29 minutes Chelsea were agonisingly close again. Thiago Silva crossed and Cesar Azpilicueta headed for goal but Timo Werner took a touch which diverted the ball just wide.
Leicester centre back Jonny Evans was playing through the pain with a foot injury, but he was unable to continue more than half an hour and was replaced by Marc Albrighton. But Leicester’s young defender Fofana was ready to step up and he made an amazing double block to deny Werner as half time approached. In a tight first half there were no shots on target, but Chelsea will feel they could have been ahead, were it not for Fofana’s heroics.
And the young Frenchman’s efforts became doubly important when the Foxes took the lead with a brilliant goal. With an hour on the clock Youri Tielemans grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck when he burst through from midfield to unleash a bullet of a shot beyond Kepa and into the top corner, to send the Leicester fans behind the goal wild.
It’s worth watching the FA Cup 2021 highlights for that moment alone.
Chelsea came close again when former Fox Ben Chilwell headed down towards the corner but Kasper Schmeichel scrambled across to keep the ball out. And then the Foxes’ keeper made a sensational save to get his fingertips to a volley from Mount.
And then, the game ended with a level of drama not seen for many a year at Wembley. Thiago Silva sent Chilwell away and he fired the ball in which seemed to cannon off Wes Morgan and into the net. Chelsea celebrated, the Foxes held their heads in their hands and then…
VAR ruled that Chilwell was offside!
What a day for the city of Leicester!
Head coach Brendan Rodgers has now won all seven of his finals as a manager.
Leicester were the only team to have been losing finalists on four occasions and they have been waiting 130 years to break that duck.
Youri Tielemans is the first Leicester player to score in an FA Cup final since Ken Keyworth did so in 1963 against Manchester United.
In a career which has taken him from Stocksbridge Park Steels to 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City, Jamie Vardy is the first player in English football history to play in every round of the FA Cup from the preliminary rounds to the Final.
This was Leicester’s day; but spare a thought for Chelsea who have lost two finals on the bounce, going down 2-1 to Arsenal last season.
Chelsea and Leicester meet again on Tuesday in the Premier League, in a match both will hope to confirm their place in the Champions League next term. Then Thomas Tuchel’s Blues finish with a trip to Aston Villa.
Leicester are sitting quite pretty in the top four. Over the last ten days a home game against Newcastle and then a trip away to Manchester United yielded three points (against the Red Devils) which are probably enough to see Rodgers’ team into Europe’s flagship competition. After their second meeting with Chelsea in four days the Foxes finish their season with a home game against Tottenham.
Should the unthinkable happen and Chelsea drop out of the top four, they have another bite of the cherry when they meet Manchester City in the 2020 Champions League final in Porto. They’ve already met the Sky Blues twice over the past few weeks, once in the FA Cup semi-final and once in the league, both ending in triumphs for Tuchel’s men.
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