A sensational Youri Tielemans’s 25-yard strike paved way for Leicester City’s first ever FA Cup , beating Chelsea 1-0 in front of 22,000 fans at Wembley, the largest crowd for a sports event in England since the coronavirus pandemic hit. The Foxes had lost their previous four FA Cup fixtures finals going into their fifth where head coach Brendan Rogers described as “historical day for the football club”.
“Winning the FA Cup for the first time. I’m so happy for the players and suppporters. They’ve lost four finals and now a fifth time we’ve managed to do it for them,” Rogers added after lifting the FA Cup result trophy for the first time in Leicester’s 137-year history. Rodgers has become the first manager to win both the English and Scottish FA Cup since Sir Alex Ferguson.
Leicester under Rogers has enjoyed an impressive season as they remain in the third spot of the Premier League table and on course to qualify for the Champions League next season. In the intense last minutes of the final, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea was denied of a late equalizer from former Leicester player Ben Chilwell’s cross after a VAR review that revealed Chilwell had been offside by the narrowest of margins.
During the awarding, the players brought their chairman – whose father Vichai tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2018 –in their celebrations. According to reports, the inside of the players jerseys were photos of their deceased chairman, while a large mural hung above the majority of Leicester’s supporters, with his quote, “Our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Fans at the final whistle relive the experience of having won a final match inside the stadium with their supporting team for the first time in 14 months since the first coronavirus lockdown began in March 2020. The match is one of the UK government’s pilot matches for their science-led Events Research Programme, which aim to get fans and audiences back into stadiums safely in the wake of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Man of the Match Tielemans became the third Belgian player to score in an FA Cup final. “Wow, what a finish,” Leicester captain Kasper Schmeichel, who produced two outstanding saves late on to deny Chelsea, commenting on Tielman’s superb finish. “I didn’t dare to celebrate because there’s always VAR.” Schmeichel is the first goalkeeper since 2003 to captain the winning side in an FA Cup final.
FA Cup is the oldest national football competition in the world, having first been held on March 16, 1872. Leicester and Chelsea will meet again in three days at Stamford Bridge in a crucial clash to decide who secures a top-four finish in the Premier League. The Blues will also have a Champions League final to look forward to against Manchester City in two weeks.
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