London. Leicester won their first English Cup in their 137-year history after beating Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday in the final match held at Wembley in front of 22,000 spectators.
The title was won in favor of the “Foxes” thanks to a powerful shot from outside the penalty area from Belgian midfielder Yuri Tilmans after 63 minutes of play.
Chelsea could have forced overtime when defender Wes Morgan sent the ball into the net in his own team’s own goal a minute before the match, but the referee ended up canceling play after the video assistant referee was reviewed for offside by Ben Chilwell.
The defeat is a dangerous warning for the team coached by Thomas Tuchel, who in two weeks will play the Champions League final against Manchester City (on May 29 in Porto).
“Bleus” has three matches left to finish, two in the Premier League to ensure their participation in the next UEFA Champions League (currently their fourth, last place to reach the European Championship) and the European Final.
Failure to achieve either of these two goals and finish the season blank will be a great disappointment for the London fans, although the team has improved a lot after Tuchel arrived on the bench who replaced Frank Lampard in the middle of the season, a legend at Stamford Bridge, for poor results.
The second biggest hit in 137 years
On the other hand, Leicester is the second major success in its history after their surprising victory in the Premier League five years ago.
It’s also a small revenge for his coach Brendan Rodgers, whose career so far marked the 2014 season, when he led the Northern Irishman Liverpool who, with Uruguayan Luis Suarez as the top scorer, ended up losing the championship despite having five points. An advantage with three days remaining.
The Foxes, who are still struggling to reach the next Champions League (and are currently in third place in the tournament), have so far lost their other four Cup finals, the last of which was 52 years ago.
The meeting took place in front of 22,000 spectators in what is, by far, the largest gathering of the public at a sporting event in the UK since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The presence of the public in the Temple of English Football was made possible by the improvement of the health situation in the United Kingdom and the gradual lifting of anti-virus measures.
Blues, without success
The meeting confirmed the defensive strength shown by the two teams this season, and more comfortable in the task of destruction than in creating play.
Although there weren’t many chances to score, Leicester took the opportunity to steal a ball in the marrow to score the title goal, thanks to a shoe from outside the Tillmans squad that slid across the team, causing the Spanish goalkeeper to extend. Kepa Arrizabalaga (63 years old), who started this time.
In the final stage, Chelsea turned on the opponent’s goal, but like his striker Timo Werner, so ineffective this season, “Blue” was unable to extend, largely due to Kasper Schmeichel’s performance.
And the Danish international goalkeeper hit a header from Chilwell (78) to the post and made an outstanding response to a direct shot from Mason Mount (87), just two minutes before the VAR referee saved her.