The first FA Cup final, in 1872, pitted two teams of private school aristocrats (Wanderers and Royal Engineers) relegated to the depths of memory and archives. This Saturday's, 150 years later, was carried out by two international conglomerates led by German coaches and a lot of money. And Liverpool won, which has a very difficult league but maintains the aspirations of raising four major titles this season.
The first quarter of an hour was a rush of red, and it was miraculous that Chelsea did not concede a goal. A killer pass from Luis Diaz was left too far behind for Salah to score at will, and soon after the Colombian himself was left alone against Mendy, who saved his shot with his foot. The high pressure of the London team was used by the Reds to make long passes and quick counterattacks that, with only three touches on the ball, created enormous danger.
After fifteen minutes of all Liverpool, Tuchel tweaked the tactic to wait further back and reinforce the midfield, and it paid off. The blues – in yellow – began to play more and had good chances, such as a great combination from the right between Reece James and Mason Mount that Pulisic culminated with a low shot from the penalty spot that grazed the post. It was minute 22, and five later Marcos Alonso crashed the ball against Alisson in a one on one.
It was Liverpool's 60th game so far this season (for Chelsea's 61st) and the players' legs are suffering. In minute 32 Salah had to leave the field (perhaps Klopp would have forced the situation if the Paris final had not been played in two weeks) and was replaced by Diogo Jota, who just before the break, in an excellent position, deflected a high Robertson Center.
If Liverpool had come out like an avalanche in the first half, Chelsea did it like a tsunami in the second, and after five minutes Alisson had saved a shot from Pulisic, and Marcos Alonso hit the crossbar with a free kick from the side . But from then on it was the Reds who once again took the initiative and had the best opportunities, especially at the feet of Luis Díaz.
Between Díaz, Diogo Jota and Pulisic, the Wembley posts received so many caresses of all kinds (low shots, lobbed shots, in a parabola, to the side of the net...) that sometimes it seemed more like an erotic film than a football game, so much so that in other times censorship would have intervened.
But the eroticism turned straight into pornography in the 84th minute, when Robertson smashed Milner's great cross into the far post, when the easiest thing would have been to push him gently into the net. Díaz was still about to surprise Mendy in the 90th minute, but extra time and penalties were written in the script. Azpilicueta and Mount failed for Chelsea, and the Greek Tsimikas scored the decisive one in his most glorious moment as a net.
As in this season's League Cup final, the eleven meters were once again decisive against the same opponent.