2020/21 - Tielemans' glory under the arch at Wembley
Few players get the opportunity to etch their name into Club folkore but that’s exactly what Youri Tielemans did when his rocket of a strike cannoned into the top corner of the Wembley Stadium net on Saturday 15 May, 2021.
Sending the 6,000-strong Blue Army contingent into delirium behind the goal, not only was it a strike worthy of winning any contest, it was, of course, during the FA Cup Final, a game which has brought several days of hurt for Foxes fans throughout the Club’s history.
No less than four times between 1949 and 1969 had the Leicester City faithful seen their side fall at the final hurdle while bidding to win the oldest and most prestigious cup competition in the land.
In more recent years, however, they have been starved of even the hope of lifting the silverware, having not appeared in the last four since 1982 or indeed in the final for 52 years. So, for this current crop of players to achieve the feat after such a long wait, made it even more triumphant.
After overcoming Stoke City, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester United and Southampton, the showpiece itself was a cagey affair against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, losing finalists last season, but with eight FA Cup trophies to their name.
It was settled by one moment of magic from City’s mercurial No.8, Tielemans. Striding forward through midfield, he unleashed an unstoppable effort that sailed gracefully into the roof of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal.
City heroes were present at both ends of the pitch as Chelsea fought to take the game to extra-time.
Kasper Schmeichel, captain on the day, rose to the occasion by producing two fines saves late on, firstly denying former Fox Ben Chilwell, who had been introduced from the bench to give the Blues fresh impetus in the second half.
The stop to deny Mason Mount, however, was even more spectacular, with the Denmark international diving across to his side, getting a strong left glove on the ball to push it out of danger.
Chilwell was involved again when he thought he had grabbed the equaliser in the dying moments of normal time, sliding towards the corner flag in celebration after the ball had rebounded off him and into the net.
But VAR ruled that he was offside in the build-up and it was soon Leicester City fans behind the opposing goal who were cheering almost as loudly as they had done for the goal, more in relief than anything else.
Another outpouring of emotion was to come at the full whistle when City’s players sunk to their knees, overcome by the achievement and soon celebrated one of the most memorable days in the Club’s 137-year history.
Once medals were handed out and the players gathered on the pitch, it was time for the trophy lift to commence, with Club captain Wes Morgan, a late substitute in the triumph, and Schmeichel, able to hold the cup aloft, surrounded by their team-mates.
Completing the domestic set of trophies which also includes the Premier League and League Cup, Leicester have become just one of six English clubs to achieve that feat in their history.