As happened in the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool was resolved in a penalty shootout in favor of the 'reds' after an open grave duel that only lacked goals. Tsimikas hit the final shot, became the unexpected hero and avoided Mané's lament, who had missed a decisive maximum penalty with everything in his favor. For the 'blues', who fall in their third consecutive final of the tournament after defeats against Arsenal and Leicester, Azpilicueta and Mount failed.
There was no such classic football in Spain at the Wembley temple, no protests, no wasting time, no swimming pools, no search for penalties, only the desire to win fairly from two contenders who know each other almost as much as their coaches . For the first time, two Germans on the bench at this historic event, two coaches, Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, students from the same school.
Klopp has already won every possible title with Liverpool, which had not been crowned in the English Cup since beating Aston Villa 16 years ago. He achieves his eighth award and precisely equals Chelsea and Tottenham in third place on the ladder, still far from the 14 gold medals of Arsenal and the 12 of Manchester United.
It was a very tough battle that thanks Real Madrid thinking about the final on May 28 in Paris. Nobody better than Carlo Ancelotti's team to know that this sport is unpredictable, mysterious and often unfair, but the situation of the 'reds' is very delicate. To the physical and mental exhaustion that a final like this entails and being still in the middle of the fight for the Premier with City, is added Salah's groin injury, which lasted just over half an hour against Chelsea, and Van's physical problems Dijk, who did not resist the extension. In addition, Fabinho was low at Wembley and is between cottons for Paris.
Chelsea endured that initial rush without losing their cool after a great exit from Mendy that aborted Luis Díaz's shot with a goal mark, and gradually grew in the first act. He knew how to wait for the 'reds' on his field so as not to leave spaces for the counterattack, he recovered more of the ball and balanced the final. The American Pulisic warned, who got past Alexander-Arnold's watch but shot slightly wide, and Lukaku created problems for Van Dijk. Paraphrasing the long-awaited musician Antonio Vega, it was a fight of giants.
Craig Pawson let play, who forgave Thiago a yellow card that in Spain would be a book and he would even claim a red card, and disturbing news arrived for Liverpool. Alisson was hurt after Marcos Alonso hit him with the cleats in the tibia. It was a dispute in which only the poor control of the Spaniard and the courage of the Brazilian goalkeeper prevented the goal. Becker recovered, but suddenly Mohamed Salah appeared lying down. They attended to his right thigh and he was substituted. He left by his own feet greeting his fans, but Klopp's face was a poem. He accused the Pool of that emotional blow and barely approached Mendy's domain again before the break.
After the restart, it was the 'blues', yesterday in yellow, who came out at full speed. Three excellent chances in just five minutes. And in two of them again prominence for Marcos Alonso, who came to throw a free kick to the crossbar. In addition, the figure of Alisson emerged to avoid Pulisic's goal. The duel broke out and in the other area two shots from Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota missed near the post. Another scare for the reds. Thiago received a sole from James and at times he feared for the Spanish-Brazilian's ankle. He was able to continue.
The 'reds grew greatly in the final stretch, but they were denied the goal that would have saved them the wear and tear of extra time. Luis Díaz, who still lacks punch to be a 'crack', launched against the outside of the wood and Robertson missed the chance of the game and one of the clearest of his career. With everything in his favor, he hit the ball in semi-miss and crashed it into the post. He gasped, but Chelsea resisted.
And Van Dijk lamented on the bench after being substituted. Caution or injury? That is the key. Little news in extra time, marked by exhaustion and the fear of losing for each other. And on penalties, glory for Tsimikas, in the script a very secondary actor, and misery for Azpi and Mount. Football in its purest form.