Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty decided the FA Cup final in Chelsea’s favour at Wembley to leave Jose Mourinho and Manchester United empty-handed this season.
By SportBrief Reporter
Antonoi Conte’s side grabbed the initiative to take advantage of United’s tentative first 45 minutes, securing a precious lead that they defended with great resilience and organisation for the rest of an attritional final.
Hazard – in a moment which did not bode well for the World Cup meeting between England and Belgium in Russia in June – twisted and tore past Phil Jones before drawing a clumsy foul from the United defender after 22 minutes.
He calmly dispatched the penalty which was to prove to the decisive moment in a final that was hard fought rather than distinguished. United, with striker Romelu Lukaku only fit enough for a place on the bench, raised their game after the break.
Alexis Sanchez had a goal ruled out for straying just offside, with referee Michael Oliver using VAR to confirm the call, and Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois excelled with a succession of fine saves, while Paul Pogba wasted their best chance late on when he headed wide of an open goal.
This may well be Antonio Conte’s last game as Chelsea manager and if he leaves, he does so after delivering the FA Cup to follow on from last season’s Premier League title triumph.
If it is to be goodbye for Conte, his team delivered the famous old trophy in a manner that has become his trademark.