By Niall Clarke
- Chelsea 1-0 Man United
- Eden Hazard’s penalty helps the Blues lift the FA Cup for the eigth time
LONDON, UK- Chelsea have won the FA Cup after Eden Hazard’s penalty gave the Blues a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Wembley.
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Chelsea have won the FA Cup after Eden Hazard‘s penalty gave the Blues a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Wembley. The Belgian converted from the spot after being brought down by Phil Jones on the 22nd minute as Chelsea went on to see out a narrow win that granted them their eighth FA Cup triumph.
It is a shaft of light on an otherwise poor season that saw Chelsea miss out on the last four and fail to make the last eight of the Champions League. However the Blues turned in a great defensive display in what could be Antonio Conte’s last game in charge of the club. The Italian guided Chelsea to the Premier League in his first season, and now he has won a domestic cup for the first time.
Chelsea started off the better side and when Hazard burst through on goal it looked like they would take the lead. The Belgian ended up being brought down by a chasing Jones and the Blues were awarded a penalty after 20 minutes. Hazard converted the spot kick with a low finish that send David De Gea the wrong way.
Manchester United would have most of the ball for the rest of the half, but they failed to cause the Chelsea defence any trouble. They were slow in the final third and they were failing to get their best attacking players to make an impact in dangerous areas. Their best chance of the half fell in the last minute but Marcus Rashford found his scuffed shot blocked by Antonio Rudiger.
The Red Devils came out for the second half with more intent and started to create more chances. Thibaut Courtois was called into action for the first time punching away a dangerous free kick and being forced into a save from Rashford’s effort. It looked like Manchester United equalised after an hour when Jones’ header was saved into the path of an oncoming Alexis Sanchez, but the Chilean had strayed into an offside position as Jones headed the ball.
With 20 minutes left Chelsea almost made it two when Marcos Alonso forced a save from De Gea after being played through by N’Golo Kante. There was controversy as Ashley Young appeared to have handled the ball out of play for a corner, but Michael Oliver failed to spot it. Just a minute later Rashford would find himself through on goal but once again he was thwarted by Courtois. It was his last involvement in the game as this point United turned to their top scorer Romelu Lukaku who came on for the Englishman alongside Anthony Martial who replaced Jesse Lingard.
Manchester United would keep on probing with Nemanja Matic forcing a save from Courtois and Paul Pogba heading wide from a corner, but they failed to break through a stubborn Chelsea defence, and the Blues would see out the match to win the FA Cup.
It was expected to be a tight game between two very tactical and defensive minded managers, so there is no shock that a single goal decided the game. The attempts to man mark Hazard out of the game did not work for Manchester United, and with the exception of a few moments Jose Mourinho’s side lacked the penetration they needed to break down the Chelsea defence.
There was good individual performances in that defence from the likes of Rudiger, who was voted man of the match and Cesar Azpilicueta. Courtois did well when he was needed and Kante was once again influential in midfield. It may end up being the last game for Conte and it will be a positive way to bow out after a lacklustre season. We will see who may come in to replace him should the Italian leave the club
As for Manchester United, they have progressed this season under Mourinho but the lack of a trophy will no doubt be a disappointment. They will no doubt be back next season, possibly with a stronger side and will be competing again.
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