By James Agberebi:
Chelsea pipped Manchester United 1-0 to emerge champions of the 2017/2018 Emirates FA Cup final on Saturday.
Eden Hazard’s first half penalty was enough to land Chelsea their eight FA Cup title equaling Tottenham Hotspur also on eight titles.
Super Eagles forward Victor Moses was in impressive action for Chelsea and has joined the likes of Alex Iwobi, Daniel Amokachi, Nwankwo Kanu, Celestine Babayaro and John Utaka as Nigerians who have won the FA Cup.
The last time both teams met in the FA Cup final was in 2007 with Chelsea winning 1-0 thanks to Didier Drogba’s extra-time winner.
It was not a classic FA Cup final as both teams never really lit up the encounter as chances came at a premium.
United played more on the front foot but could not really break down a well organized Chelsea rear guard.
After a cagey exchange in the early part of the game it was Chelsea who had the first big chance through Hazard whose left-foot strike was stopped by David De Gea’s chin at the near post.
Chelsea had a shout for a penalty on 14 minutes after Nemanja Matic seemed to have clipped Tiemoue Bakayoko inside the box but referee Mike Oliver waved play on.
After a tight early contest Chelsea took the lead thanks to Hazard who converted a 22nd minute penalty after he was fouled by Phil Jones.
United went close in the 30th minute but Paul Pogba’s shot from outside the box went just wide off target.
United almost equalised one minute to end of the first half but Jones could not direct his header off Ashley Young’s cross towards goal.
In first half added time, United should have drawn level from a break but Antonio Rudiger cleared the danger off a goalmouth scramble.
Seven minutes into the second half United were awarded a free-kick in a decent position after Moses fouled Young but Thibaut Courtois punched away Marcus Rashford’s well struck cross.
Courtois was called to action on 57 minutes as he stopped Rashford’s goalbound shot after Cesc Fabregas was robbed off the ball close to Chelsea’s box.
United thought they had equalised on 63 minutes after Alexis Sanchez slammed in Courtois’s initial save from Pogba’s effort but the Chilean was ruled out for offside.
Alonso should have doubled Chelsea lead on 70 minutes after he was played in by N’Golo Kante only for the Spaniard to hit his effort straight at De Gea.
United had a good chance at the other end two minutes later only for Courtois to stop his attempted chip.
Matic went close for United on 80 minutes but saw his long range strike punched away by Courtois for a corner.
United continued to probe for the equaliser and should have leveled up on 83 minutes only for Pogba to head wide after he was left unmarked of a corner.
And in added time Matic went close for United but failed to direct his header to goal.