Leicester City

The Story Of Leicester City’s FA Cup Triumph

LCFC.com charts the journey through the rounds as Leicester City became the newest winners of the Emirates FA Cup, getting their hands on the trophy for the very first time.
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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, makes it even more triumphant.

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James Justin
James Justin

James Justin's exquisite opener got Leicester on their way in Staffordshire.

The journey all started on Saturday 9 January, 2021, with Sky Bet Championship outfit Stoke City providing the opposition in the third round.

A notoriously difficult ground to visit, Brendan Rodgers’ side made light work of their first trip to bet365 Stadium since November 2017, scoring four times without reply to book their place in the next round.

A James Justin stunner, which bent into the top corner from the edge of the area, was the pick of the goals that afternoon, followed by strikes from Marc Albrighton, Ayoze Pérez and Harvey Barnes.

The Foxes faced another second tier side in round four later that month and it proved to be a tricky tie to negotiate against high-flying Brentford. 

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Cengiz Ünder
Cengiz Ünder

Cengiz Ünder added a composed finish to a slick Leicester move within 60 seconds of the restart.

The Foxes fell behind to Mads Bech Sørensen's early goal for the Bees and it took Cengiz Ünder's strike to level the scores shortly after the break, before Tielemans, from the penalty spot, and James Maddison completed the comeback at Brentford Community Stadium.

A single goal was enough to reach the quarter-finals, though it took 90 minutes for City to find it when they welcomed Brighton & Hove Albion to King Power Stadium.

With the game destined for extra-time, Kelechi Iheanacho climbed highest to meet Tielemans' late cross and head his side into the last-eight in the most dramatic of fashion. 

One of the highlights of the run came against 12-time winners Manchester United, who had started to build momentum in several competitions under Ole Gunnar Solskjær when the pair met on 21 March.

Iheanacho scored his second FA Cup goal of the campaign to break the deadlock, before Mason Greenwood equalised ahead of the interval.  

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice as the Foxes saw off Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

It took City just seven second-half minutes to restore their advantage via Tielemans’ fine finish and Iheanacho’s second of the evening - and seventh in four games - sent City into the semi-finals.

Wembley Stadium was the venue for the Foxes’ first FA Cup last four appearance in 39 years, played in front of a small contingent of spectators, an experience City’s players had longed for over the preceding 12 months.

And they would have something to shout about when Iheanacho was the man in the right place to convert Vardy’s cross and seal a long-awaited place in the prestigious cup’s final.

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.

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Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

The Belgium international wheels away in celebration following his cup final heroics.

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.

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers applauds the Blue Army during the post-match celebrations on the Wembley turf.

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.

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Leicester City
Leicester City

Great scenes to saviour as the players celebrate with the FA Cup trophy.

Champagne was sprayed, ticker tape and pyrotechnics were set off and it was made all the more sweet by having supporters inside the stadium - for the first time since March 2020 - to witness the occasion, with countless more watching on from home and on television screens around Leicester and beyond.

Emotional scenes followed as Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha was welcomed onto the pitch to join in with the celebrations, lifting the trophy up high and taking in the occasion with the players and staff.

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.

Leicester City Crest

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