The highly anticipated FA Cup final had every promise to be a mindblowing fixture, and truth be told, the players from the two sides did not disappoint.
Let us start with a quick look at the lineups and crucial moments from the FA Cup final:
Chelsea (3-5-1-1): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Marcos Alonso; Eden Hazard (Willian, 90’+1′); Olivier Giroud (Alvaro Morata, 89′).
Manchester United (4-3-3): David De Gea; Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones (Juan Mata, 87′), Ashley Young; Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba; Jesse Lingard (Anthony Martial, 73′), Marcus Rashford (Romelu Lukaku, 73′), Alexis Sanchez.
Goal: Hazard (Pen – 22′).
Yellow card: Jones (21′), Valencia (58′), Courtois (90’+3′).
Chelsea started the day well, and within first ten minutes, Hazard was the first one to get a shot on target. But, De Gea managed to parry it away. However, the Blues got their first breakthrough soon after. It was Hazard once again. The midfielder got a nice through-ball inside the United half and made a quick run forward, before Jones fouled him inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot right away and Hazard made no mistake to get the ball past De Gea. The Englishman also got booked for the unfair challenge.
For the rest of the first half, both sides tried to find the nets, but no one came close. Nearer to the halftime whistle, United attacked with all their might, but repeatedly, Rashford, Pogba and Sanchez were denied by a resilient Chelsea defense. Scoreline remained 1-0 at the break and the FA Cup final was ready to experience a fabulous battle for another forty five minutes.
After the break, United had to take charge of the game to turn the tides to their favour. However, the intent was missing from the attackers. They got one huge chance around the hour mark and Sanchez successfully netted it from a close range. But, the linesman ruled it offside and Chelsea were lucky enough to maintain the lead.
Minutes later, Kante snatched the ball in the midfield and made an amazing run, before feeding the ball to Alonso. The left-back had only De Gea to beat, but the United custodian held his fort successfully. It was a delicious chance for Chelsea to double their lead and seal the victory, but the Spanish defender came second best against his compatriot. It was a very interesting run of play around that time, for Rashford got a delicate chance on the other end, but this time, Courtois came on top and saved the effort.
Mourinho had to bring in his substitutes in the last quarter of the game, but those changes were not enough for the side. In the end, Antonio Conte was the better manager of the FA Cup final, and he secured a silverware in what can be his final match in charge of Chelsea.
FA Cup final stats:
|Shots (on target)||6 (3)||18 (5)|
FA Cup final highlights:
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