Leicester City

City Into FA Cup Final After Saints Triumph

Leicester City booked their spot in the final of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time since 1969 after beating Southampton 1-0 at Wembley Stadium thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho's solitary strike.
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Manager Brendan Rodgers made two changes to the side that faced West Ham United last weekend, with Çağlar Söyüncü and Ayoze Pérez coming in in place of Daniel Amartey and Dennis Praet, while Youri Tielemans made his 100th appearance for the Club across all formats.

While the Blue Army were unable to watch on in person, 4,000 spectators were in attendance at Wembley Stadium, with the majority from the London Borough of Brent, while there was also a small number of key workers from across London.

After a one-minute silence to mark the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, those spectators watched on as Pérez lifted over after just five minutes, before Kasper Schmeichel had to sprint off his line to clear a long ball aimed at Danny Ings.

It was Fraser Forster's turn to be called into action next, as he gathered Jamie Vardy's deflected effort on 24 minutes, before the No.9's delicate chip from a brilliantly-weighted Tielemans pass beat Forster, but flew wide of the mark 10 minutes later - Leicester's best chance of the game up until that point.

Then followed two opportunities from corner-kicks for the Foxes. First, Wilfred Ndidi flicked Tielemans' delivery onto the roof of the net, and then Jonny Evans headed back across goal for Vardy, only for Ings to head away before the striker could connect.

After a goalless 45 minutes in which Leicester conjured up all five first-half attempts, City started the second half with real intent and they were rewarded 10 minutes after the interval. Vardy sprinted down the left and cut it back to Iheanacho, who at the second attempt side-footed in for his 10th goal in his last seven appearances in all competitions.

That prompted Rodgers into making his first change of the evening, with Marc Albrighton coming on in place of Ricardo Pereira in a left wing-back position.

A string of chances for Southampton followed. Substitute Che Adams had a strike blocked in the box and then Ibrahima Diallo twice fired off target as the Saints looked to reply to Iheanacho's opener. 

A second substitution for Leicester followed, with James Maddison coming on for Pérez for the final 21 minutes, and he was immediately fouled by Kyle Walker-Peters. However, his delivery from the resulting free-kick was wayward and Forster watched it fly out for a goal-kick.

Maddison continued to threaten and on 77 minutes had an opportunity to double Leicester's advantage, however after being slipped in by Iheanacho, his left-footed, first-time shot was always rising, while a drive from 25 yards just minutes later fizzed past Forster's right-hand post.

Iheanacho had an opportunity to put the result beyond doubt when he wriggled through, however his effort was blocked and Southampton would have one final chance to force the tie to extra-time.

However, two composed catches from Schmeichel, who first denied Jannik Vestergaard before claiming a free-kick in stoppage time, blunted the Saints attack and it was City who advanced to the final of the competition.

Major moment

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho wheels away after firing in the winner in the capital.

It was a frustrating first half for City, who despite having five attempts were unable to hit the target, with Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi each going close for the Foxes.

Leicester, however, were able to limit the Saints to few goalscoring opportunities, and knew the first goal of the game would be crucial in that respect. 

And who better for it to fall to than the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho, who from Vardy's pass first had an effort blocked by Jannik Vestergaard, but tucked home the rebound.

His fourth FA Cup goal in his previous three appearances proved enough for City to advance to their first final since 1969.

Who impressed?

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

The Nigeria striker's 55th-minute effort saw City book their spot in the final.

Speaking on LCFC Radio, Matt Elliott, who lifted the 2000 League Cup at Wembley with the Foxes, said: “Kelechi Iheanacho has been the stand out man. No one is going to argue with that. Youri Tielemans has ran the show too, but Iheanacho’s got that all-important goal. Such was the manner of the goal, it’s really going for him at the moment, but take nothing away from him. He deserved it."

Where do we stand?

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

The Northern Irishman guided the Foxes to their first FA Cup Final in over five decades.

For the first time in over five decades, the Foxes advance to the FA Cup Final, where they will face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 15 May (5:30pm kick-off).

The Blues beat Manchester City in the first semi-final of the weekend thanks to a strike from Hakim Ziyech.

Coming up…

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Jamie Vardy & Kelechi Iheanacho
Jamie Vardy & Kelechi Iheanacho

The two strikers combined as Kelechi Iheanacho scored the decisive goal at Wembley Stadium.

The Foxes are set to contest two Premier League fixtures at King Power Stadium in the space of only five days, with West Bromwich Albion visiting Filbert Way on Thursday (8pm kick-off), before City host Crystal Palace on Monday (8pm kick-off).

All times BST.

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