The Foxes outfox Chelsea to win their maiden FA Cup title
When you have the will to succeed, failing is never an option!
Ask Youri Tielemans and Kasper Schmeichel, the two pillars key to Leicester City’s maiden FA Cup triumph and they will say a resounding yes.
After a wait of 52 years amid the last of the four finals of misfortune and a history going back to 137 years, Brendan Rodgers’ team nailed the unconquerable and more importantly made ‘impossible’ just a word by finally bringing home the oldest trophy in English football.
Yes, Chelsea were conquered 1 nil.
Leicester’s long-awaited hurrah amid wallowing in the desolation of four previous attempts was much akin to Batman a.k.a Bruce Wayne finally climbing out of Bane’s pit of slow-death despite repeated efforts resulting in a lonely walk into the setting sun.
But make no mistake when the sun sets, it has to rise again and so did the fortunes of the Bat and The Foxes.
All one needs is their mind and heart to be in the right place!
Well, The Foxes certainly had that in front of 22,000 fans filling the mecca of English football, Wembley. The highest turnout since the inception of the pandemic.
So, without further ado lets dissect this match as polar opposite emotions engulfed the two camps of blue:
A first half of chances aplenty amid no goals
Chelsea entered the final hoping to win their ninth FA cup after being part of four out of the last five finals, coming up second best to Arsenal last year.
Well, they surely started with much intent creating their first opportunity in less than a minute after Timo Werner got a rather simple save out of The Foxes keeper, Kasper Schmeichel.
Fifteen minutes later, Leicester had an attempt of their own when Jamie Vardy fired a shot on target and his attempt was blocked by Blues’ defender Reece James.
In the 23rd minute, Chelsea’s rising sensation Mason Mount was in the thick of things hitting a shot that took a deflection off a Leicester play to earn the Blues a corner that was comfortably grabbed by Schmeichel in his first attempt.
Timo Werner minutes before the end of the first 45, came really close to opening the scoring yet again albeit his attempt being deflected wide for a corner which unfortunately resulted in nothing.
Surely chances were being created albeit the all-important goal was nowhere in sight.
Tielemans and Schmeichel, the heroes in the second 45
Fifty-Three minutes in and Chelsea had yet another chance on goal, with Marcus Alonso’s header being comfortably grabbed by Schmeichel.
Truly whatever Chelsea threw at the Leicester captain, he was more than up to the task though the mountain of difficulty was yet to come.
Well before that would happen, Youri Tielemans showed why he is one of the most prized possessions for The Foxes as the Belgian fired a stunning long-range effort that ripped into the top-left corner of the Chelsea net giving keeper Kepa absolutely no chance.
Sixty-Three minutes in, Leicester led Chelsea 1-0.
Leicester and Schmeichel’s mountain of difficulty would start in the 78th minute when the Danish would make his first extraordinary save of the match as he dived to keep Ben Chilwell’s header out with just his fingertips.
Minutes later his second effort of mammoth proportions would again save the day for The Foxes as captain courageous this time dived the other way to keep a bolt from Mason Mount at bay.
Minutes before the close, after repeated attempts of not being able to beat the Danish wall in the Leicester goal, Chelsea finally equalised or they thought they did as Chilwell’s effort found the back of The Foxes net albeit VAR ruling the Englishman and ex Leicester defender off-side by the tightest of margins.
The result was a no goal and this was just the luck Leicester needed as the full-time whistle blew and the FA trophy was theirs to hoist amid a sea of emotions galore.
Truly a momentous occasion for a brave English club.
A proud Leicester might have more to celebrate in the coming week
The Premier League winners in 2015-16 under the brilliant Claudio Ranieri
The all elusive FA Cup conquered in 2021 with the gritty Brendan Rodgers at the helm.
In the coming week, European celebrations might take shape with more than a chance to seal a Champions League berth after a wait of 5 long years.
If these accolades won’t make a team proud, one truly wonders what would?
I salute this team that believes in never giving up, never surrendering, always fighting till the end, possibly that’s why their fans say ‘Foxes Never Quit’!
Well done Leicester, you truly are a beacon of light in English football!