Liverpool, again in shots from the penalty spot, beat Chelsea and was crowned FA Cup champion, at Wembleyafter a goalless draw in the 90 minutes that lasted into extra time.
The team coached by Jürgen Klopp had defeated Thomas Tuchel’s team in the League Cup final, this time in a lengthy tiebreaker that ended 11-10, and also with a scoreless draw in regulation time.
Colombian Luis Díaz won his second title with Liverpool, in just four months with the team. He had a good performance, he was the most active in Liverpool’s attack and had several options to break the zero. He was replaced in the 8th minute of extra time by Roberto Firmino.
A mistake by César Azpilicueta and a save by Alisson Becker to Mason Mount gave a boost to a Liverpool that could solve the title before, but Sadio Mané missed the fifth payment.
The League Cup final a couple of months ago, on this same stage and with the same protagonists, showed that a goalless game can be a great match, it can be absorbing and it can be fast-paced. And they exhibited it again with a meeting at the height, if not better.
For 120 minutes, there was no goal at Wembley, but it didn’t matter in the least. The lack of aim was only suffered by the players, while the public enjoyed one of the most beautiful matches of the season. A duel to which Liverpool came out with the intention of sinking the fang in the early stages, with a Luis Díaz unleashed that Chelsea could not decipher.
The Colombian entered several times freely down his left lane, driving Reece James to despair, but missing out on a one-on-one with Mendy.
Chalobah had to take a ball over the line that spelled the end of ‘Red’ danger and opened the way for hostilities from Chelsea. A shot by Pulisic to a low center from Mount that went wide and an error by Marcos Alonso in the one-on-one with Alisson, who hit it perfectly and took a good blow to the knee, were the clearest of those by Thomas Tuchel, They received the final boost when Mohamed Salah, half an hour later, fell to the ground and asked for the change.
Muscle problem in the groin fourteen days before the Champions League final. A drama for the Egyptian and for Klopp. The German had to resort to Diogo Jota and the Portuguese almost scored in his first appearance, a shot in the nose of Mendy too high. The general feeling is that he should have scored.
Chelsea continued to find escape routes and their exit in the second half was a torrent of chances with three to have gone ahead. Alonso’s low and deflected volley, Alisson’s save on Pulisic and Alonso’s foul on the crossbar.
But the clock was running without the goal. Neither Lukaku, nor Díaz on the half turn, nor a brutal shot from Thiago. Nor the stick that spat out the Colombian’s shot and the one that repelled a shot by Robertson at an empty goal before extra time.
The arrival of extra time ended with the forces of Virgil Van Dijk, replaced with physical discomfort, and practically with those of both teams, who ended up exhausted and lowering the level of play.
The two signed the penalties. And like three months ago, the eleven meters decided. As in the League Cup, but with different protagonists under the sticks. That day Caoimhin Kelleher and Kepa Arrizabalaga were present; this time Alisson and Mendy.
The shootout was far from the perfection of the 21 penalties in February and there was a shot at the post by Azpilicueta, a save by Mendy to Mané, to leave Chelsea alive, and a final save by Alisson who, together with the last shot by the Greek Kostas Tsimikas delivered the eighth FA Cup in its history to Liverpool, which equals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the record.
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