Leicester City have done it again.
A 63rd minute screamer courtesy of Youri Tielemans secured a 1-0 victory over Chelsea and FA Cup triumph for the Foxes on Saturday evening – for the first time in club history.
The Belgian midfielder delivered a sensational strike into the top corner from 25 yards to put Leicester ahead, after a first half of scrappy football with very few clear chances for either side.
Losing a key defender in Jonny Evans to ongoing heel injury within the first half hour of play was but a small setback to Brendon Rodgers’ side, with club veteran Marc Albrighton being called on earlier than anticipated for substitution. Both sides held on, but after 45 minutes of relatively uninspiring football, Chelsea and Leicester fans looked to the second half with apprehension, while neutral parties were probably just keen to see some action.
And action there was as Tielemans wasn’t technically the game’s only goalscorer. An 89th minute attempt from ex-Leicester defender Ben Chilwell saw the back of the net via a Wes Morgan deflection, but the video assistant referee (VAR) powers that be were proudly maroon tonight, denying a last-minute equaliser on the grounds that Chilwell had found himself offside.
Honourable mention must go to Leicester goalkeeper and captain, Kasper Schmeichel, for pulling off some incredible saves against Chilwell and Mason Mount; his clean sheet preventing extra time and securing triumph for his side. Speaking to the BBC after the match, he said “I am so happy, I can’t begin to describe it. I just want to say hello to my wife & kids at home … This is what dreams are made of, I dreamed of this as a child.”
Although Leicester City are fast establishing themselves as a regular inhabitant of the top six and a core top-flight side, the magic of the 15/16 Premier League win isn’t far from memory. After defying 5000/1 odds, Leicester have risen to another challenge five years later, defying the odds yet again to pick up another piece of silverware.
This marks the first time in LCFC’s 137-year-history that the FA Cup has been won, after four previous unsuccessful finals, the last of which was 52 years ago. With Leicester City notably left out of the lineup of ‘top European sides’ attempting to establish the short-lived Super League last month, this victory is a reminder of everything that the greed league threatened to destroy – the unpredictability of the game and the beauty of seeing the underdog win.