Hazard penalty seals FA Cup final win for Chelsea over Manchester United
21 May, 2018
FA CUP FINAL at Wembley Stadium
CHELSEA 1 (Hazard 22 pen)
MANCHESTER UNITED 0
FORMER Gunners Olivier Giroud and Cesc Fabregas both had a hand in denying Manchester United the chance to draw level with Arsenal for the record number of FA Cup Final wins.
Thanks to a penalty from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Arsenal ( who were famously bundled out at the Third Round stage by Nottingham Forest) still hold on to their lucky 13th title status.
In a largely disappointing showpiece final, Hazard burst into the United penalty area on 22 minutes, before being clumsily bundled over by England World Cup squad member, Phil Jones.
Referee Michael Oliver had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and the brilliant Belgian duly converted from 12 yards for the only goal of game.
United struggled to break down a resilient blue line, with Antonio Rudiger, outstanding for Chelsea at the heart of their defence.
Jose Mourinho’s side improved considerably after the break, and the game as a whole improved as a spectacle.
The second half saw United attack relentlessly, forcing Chelsea to defend deeper and deeper. But the Red Devils were denied an equaliser when another former Arsenal player, Alexis Sanchez was ruled offside, despite his tight-angled shot beating Thibault Courtois in the Chelsea goal.
With United players frantically appealing, referee Olivier, still declined to use the VAR system, which was being used at an FA Cup Final for the very first time.
Chelsea continued to hold firm, meaning Giroud and Fabregas – and not Sanchez – walked up to the Royal Box to collect winning medals.
CHELSEA: Courtois; Azplicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard (Willian 90), Giroud (Morata 89)
Subs not used: Caballero, Barkley, Pedro, Zappacosta
MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones (Mata 87), Young; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard (Martial 73), Rashford (Lukaku 73), Sanchez
Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Darmian, McTominay