A sensational Youri Tielemans strike and an agonising VAR call saw Leicester City lift the FA Cup for the first time after Saturday’s 1-0 final win over Chelsea.
The Foxes had failed four times previously at this stage, most recently in 1969, but belatedly added to a burgeoning trophy haul that includes the 2015-16 Premier League title.
Tielemans’ long-range, second-half strike proved enough, albeit only after late drama as a marginal offside decision ruled out Wes Morgan’s own goal and sent Thomas Tuchel away empty-handed from the first of two Chelsea finals this month.
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Before the Blues can turn their focus to the Champions League, though, they must qualify for next season’s competition, which likely means on Tuesday defeating a buoyant Leicester side, who themselves need a result at Stamford Bridge.
Yet Leicester surely would not trade victory in that vital match for this precious triumph, which played out in teeming Wembley rain to the soundtrack of 21,000 returning fans.
The after-effects of this tense affair will be felt during the week, with Jonny Evans’ comeback lasting only 34 minutes after he felt discomfort in the warm-up against Newcastle United eight days earlier.
Clear-cut opportunities were scarce, meanwhile, and Kepa Arrizabalaga still had not been worked 18 minutes into the second period when Tielemans took aim from at least 25 yards and picked out the top-left corner with a sweet drive.
That was the extent of Leicester’s attacking intent as the remaining theatre took place at the opposite end of the pitch.
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First, Kasper Schmeichel scrambled to turn away Ben Chilwell’s downward header and then instinctively repelled Mason Mount’s blast with a strong left hand.
Schmeichel was beaten with a minute to play as Chilwell stretched to toe past his former team-mate and Caglar Soyuncu hacked a goal-line clearance against club captain Morgan, introduced as a substitute seven minutes earlier.
But the VAR identified the tightest of offside offences against Chilwell to deny Chelsea and crown Leicester at the last.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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