Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty decided the FA Cup final in Chelsea’s favour at Wembley to leave Jose Mourinho and Manchester United without a silverware this season.
Hazard – in a moment which did not bode well for the World Cup meeting between England and Belgium in Russia in June – twisted and tore past Phil Jones before drawing a clumsy foul from the United defender after 22 minutes.
He calmly dispatched the penalty which was to prove to be the decisive moment in a final that was hard fought rather than distinguished.
United, with striker Romelu Lukaku only fit enough for a place on the bench, raised their game after the break and launched serious attack to at least get a draw but it yielded no result.
Alexis Sanchez had a goal ruled out for straying just offside, with referee Michael Oliver using VAR to confirm the call, and Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois excelled with a succession of fine saves, while Paul Pogba wasted their best chance late on when he headed wide of an open goal.
This may well be Antonio Conte’s last game as Chelsea manager and if he leaves, he does so after delivering the FA Cup to follow on from last season’s Premier League title triumph.
For the first time, Mourinho has lost his first cup final in charge of an English club, after winning each of the previous six (four League/EFL Cups, one FA Cup, one Europa League)