Hazard penalty sinks Manchester United

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The 137th edition of the Football Association Cup (FA Cup) final saw an early Eden hazard penalty secure Chelsea a 1-0 win against Manchester United at the Wembley Stadium.

Manchester United earned their place in this year’s final with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur while Chelsea defeated Southampton 2-0.

United coach Jose Mourinho has failed to seize any silverware in only 2 of his 13 seasons as a manager while his counterpart Antonio Conte of Chelsea has won a trophy in each of his last 4 seasons as a manager at club level.

The game under the guidance of Michael Oliver began with Manchester United in control of possession. The sunny afternoon at the Wembley Stadium made the initial stages difficult for Chelsea Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was lucky enough as United showcased a string of potential attacks which failed to develop into any shots at goal.

United may have held more of the possession in these initial stages but they failed to create anything special. Chelsea on the other hand were fuelled by the central midfielder Eden Hazard who time and time again kept the United defence on their toes.

Eventually Phil Jones did fumble in midfield which allowed Hazard to make a sceptical run towards goal and generate a powerful shot which was stopped by David De Gea. This was the first real chance of the game.

Chelsea’s Bakayoko who fell inside the United penalty area was denied a penalty despite his frantic appeals while minutes later, Alexis Sanchez went down on the other side but just like the former, Michael Oliver denied any chance of a penalty kick.

The 19th minute saw Fabregas beautifully split open the United defence with a through pass moments before Hazard could have a go at goal, United defender Phil Jones recklessly slid and brought Hazard down to give away a penalty. Hazard slipped the ball into the right corner of the net giving Chelsea take the lead.

The rest of the half saw a determined Manchester United trying to get back into the game. Unfortunately, the freekicks and corner kicks they were awarded went to waste as the half ended with Chelsea in the driving seat.

Half Time – Manchester United 0 – 1 Chelsea

Chelsea got the second half underway but from the very onset it was United who showed dominance in both possession and style of play. These stages saw Chelsea living dangerously as time and time again United engaged their wingbacks to make crosses into the box.

Courtois was kept busy as Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera governed by the brilliance of Paul Pogba all tried in penetrating the Chelsea goal. United were showing much improvement since the first half.

Chelsea now only dependant on the counter attack found a way to release Hazard into the United half who was eventually brought down by Valencia outside the box at the expense of a yellow card.

The 63rd minute saw Alexis Sanchez finding the back of the net only to realize that he was offside. United continued their dominance as Chelsea kept on fumbling in possession under the immense pressure that they had to endure to keep the one goal gap.

In the 71st minute a penalty appeal was called against United as a result of Moses’ shot on goal but was disregarded by Michael Oliver. Rashford and Lingard were taken off for Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial respectively in the 73rd minute to spice up the United attack.

Eventually Chelsea did manage to repel United’s ultra-attacking. They kept the pressure on the Reds territory and made a couple of substitutions to slow the pace of the game towards the end of this second half.

Courtois was given a yellow card on speculation of time wasting, but Chelsea had the last laugh as the final whistle blew signalling the end of the game and the crowning of Chelsea as FA Cup Champions of 2018!

Full Time – Manchester United 0 – 1 Chelsea

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