For the first time in their history Leicester City have won the FA Cup after Youri Tielemans' stunning strike earned them victory over Chelsea in dramatic fashion.
As has so often been the case this season VAR found itself at the heart of the biggest occasions, offering Leicester a well-earned helping hand in victory when it overturned what seemed to be a goal by former Fox Ben Chilwell in the 88th minute, a thrilling denounement to a match that had begun in tepid fashion.
A first half played out in driving rain at Wembley Stadium hardly served up a treat for 20,000 fans with neither side registering so much as a shot on target. Jamie Vardy was twice denied by Chelsea defenders blocking his shot whilst at the other end Cesar Azpilicueta could not quite direct Thiago Silva's delicate cross, deflected by Timo Werner, into the bottom corner.
The game's opener proved to be worth the lengthy wait, however. Just after the hour mark Ayoze Perez managed to get in the way of a Reece James clearance. Luke Thomas moved it on and Tielemans accelerated into space, unleashing a thunderous shot into the top right corner that may rank as one of the great goals in the recent history of the FA Cup Final.
Chelsea did not stint in their pressure late on but twice were denied by spectacular Kasper Schmeichel saves, the Dane first getting down low to block a Chilwell header before an explosive dive to his left denied Mason Mount what seemed a certain goal.
Chilwell thought he had propelled the final into extra time in the dying minutes but VAR's intervention seemed to end Chelsea's hopes as Leicester's fifth FA Cup Final ended with them winning the competition for the first time in their history.
Tielemans light up the Wembley stage
For Leicester supporters, most of whom had not seen their team in action for over a year and had been waiting over 50 years to see their team in an FA Cup Final, any game would surely have been worth the wait. Even one where the rain hammered down upon them and for the best part of an hour they struggled to force their way through the Chelsea defense.
Yet perhaps both those waits might have been worth it to see Tielemans strike home such a remarkable goal, a thunderous strike from 25 yards out that Kepa Arrizabalaga could not even get his hands on.
Against the likes of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, the Belgium international more than held his own. In every aspect of Leicester's game Tielemans was critical: mopping up Chelsea attacks before they got through to the defense, springing counter-attacks down the wing and hitting a thunderous goal to the jubilance of supporters in the Foxes' end of Wembley Stadium.
Tielemans has been the embodiment of Leicester's impressive building on the Premier League triumph of 2016; the sort of young prospect who was widely admired around Europe but who no one else was quite willing to take the gamble on. The Foxes did – as they have with Caglar Soyuncu, Ayoze Perez and James Maddison among others – and they have been rewarded with a side who look well-placed to build on their first ever FA Cup.
Werner's season of woe continues
There may have been no more intriguing player in England this season than Werner, so it seemed appropriate that the domestic season's showpiece fixture should pivot around the curious German striker. From the outset it was clear why Thomas Tuchel was prepared to trust a player who has made a habit of missing big chances this season.
Twice in the opening two minutes Werner exploited the gaps in behind Caglar Soyuncu, darting down the Chelsea right and crossing low to no-one in a Blues shirt in the penalty area. His pace seemed to have spooked Leicester defenders yet they did not fear his shooting at all, consistently dropping off him and challenging the German to hit the target from range. He could not.
Werner existed in a curious realm of the game where he clearly looked like Chelsea's best threat to score and yet it was hard to believe he was ever going to score. Nothing was more typical of his first half than when he rose to meet a Silva cross aimed towards Azpilicueta, flicking the ball away from his captain without directing it much closer to goal.
Leicester's young rearguard flourish without Evans
It said everything of the esteem Jonny Evans is held in at Leicester City that his mere presence in the starting XI seemed to have buoyed Brendan Rodgers' and his players before the game kicked off. Anchoring a young defense he was tasked with being a steadying presence next to two talented but green center backs in Soyuncu and Wesley Fofana, both of whom seemed to display early jitters on the Wembley stage. Though they certainly would not have wanted to lose him as they did after just 34 minutes as Leicester did you could argue that Evans was not needed.
After 84 minutes there had been 17 interceptions in the game. Chelsea had made five. Soyuncu and Fofana made 10.
They were simply outstanding. This pairing suit each other to a tee, the former an aggressive aerial threat whilst the latter had no troubles keeping close to the Chelsea forwards before getting in position to deflect a shot. Fofana's brace of blocks early in the first half seemed to quell what little ferocity Werner had in attack.
Even when it looked like Soyuncu had wavered at the last in playing Chilwell on VAR offered him a reprise. He had earned it.