Leicester City defeats Chelsea to win first FA Cup after late VAR drama

Leicester City won the FA Cup for the first time thanks to a sensational strike from Youri Tielemans as a dramatic, late video assistant referee decision denied Chelsea an equalizer at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

It looked like Chelsea had leveled the scores with minutes left to play when Ben Chilwell’s cross bounced off defender Wes Morgan and into the Leicester City net. But Chilwell, a former Leicester player, was judged to have been offside by a narrow margin in the buildup.

That meant the contest ended 1-0, handing Leicester an historic victory with the Foxes having lost their previous four appearances in FA Cup finals.

“Amazing, indescribable,” Leicester captain Kasper Schmeichel, who produced two outstanding saves late on to deny Chelsea, told the BBC.

“It’s what dreams are made of. I’ve dreamt of this since I was a child. We’ve talked about wanting to win trophies and the performance today -— the grit and determination — I’m so proud of everybody.”

After a largely uneventful first half, in which neither side registered a shot on target, Tielemans’ strike lit up the match.

The Belgian’s driven, right-footed shot from 25 yards ultimately settled the contest and handed Leicester its first major trophy since being crowned Premier League champion in 2016.

“Youri, wow, what a finish,” Schmeichel added. “I didn’t even dare to celebrate because you know there’s always going to a VAR (review) or something.”

Chelsea had two huge chances to equalize in the second half, but on both occasions was denied by superb saves from Schmeichel.

The goalkeeper first dived to his right to deny Chilwell’s header, and shortly afterward dived in the opposite direction to save a powerful shot from Mason Mount.

And Chelsea looked to have finally broken through when the ball was bundled into the Leicester goal, only for VAR to intervene and the Foxes to hold on.

The victory comes during an excellent season for Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, which is currently third in the Premier League and on course to qualify for the Champions League next season.

It was a disappointing afternoon for Chelsea, which lost last year’s FA Cup final against Arsenal and will now look towards facing Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29.

Despite enjoying more possession, Thomas Tuchel’s side failed to create chances against a stubborn Leicester defense as the likes of Timo Werner and Mount were left frustrated in front of goal.

Saturday’s match was a significant day for English football with 21,000 fans in attendance at Wembley — the most at a sporting event in the UK for 14 months.

The event was part of the UK government’s science-led Events Research Programme, working closely with local authorities and organizers to undertake studies to get fans and audiences back into stadiums safely as coronavirus restrictions are gradually eased across the country.

This was the 140th FA Cup, which is the oldest national football competition in the world, having first been held on March 16, 1872.

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