Soccer

FA Cup: Leicester City edge Southampton in semifinals, set up date with Chelsea

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Leicester City are into the FA Cup final and will face Chelsea after a 1-0 win over Southampton at Wembley on Sunday. Kelechi Iheanacho scored the only goal of the game after 55 minutes as Brendan Rodgers’ men edged past the Saints in a game of few chances.

The Foxes are in a battle to secure UEFA Champions League qualification through the Premier League but now have a chance to win some major silverware for the first time since their incredible 2016 title triumph under Claudio Ranieri. Standing between Leicester and their first FA Cup title is Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea who are chasing their ninth title after a solitary Hakim Ziyech strike saw them beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Saturday.

Here are some takeaways from Leicester’s victory:

Victorious Vardy

He might not have scored, but Jamie Vardy played a key role in Leicester’s breakthrough with the run and ball in that eventually led to Iheanacho finding the back of the net. The Foxes might have a new form man these days, but the 34-year-old still made a big contribution when it mattered to give his club the chance to make further history.

Helpless Hasenhuttl

It was far from a classic match overall, but Southampton will still be disappointed with the way that they got all the way to the semifinal only to lose out in such disappointing circumstances. To go down battling would have been respectable, but the Saints went with a whimper without even a shot on goal in a display that mirrors their underwhelming Premier League season.

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Final focus

With Leicester drifting further away from the top two in the Premier League, the FA Cup final gives them something to work toward between now and the end of the season. With the likes of West Ham United, Chelsea and Liverpool not far behind, Rodgers’ men need that focus if they are to ensure that they do not fall out of all Champions League contention. Leicester will face Chelsea on May 15.

Since Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have become one of Europe’s most difficult teams to beat and Leicester must now find a way through if they want to finally win an FA Cup title. With the German and his players in the Champions League semifinals, there is a chance that the Blues get distracted as they try to push on all fronts in the final few weeks.

Final of fine margins?

Judging by the close nature of both semifinals, we are in for another narrow encounter come mid-May with chances likely to be at a premium. For Tuchel, it will be a chance to win some early silverware with the Blues and for the Rodgers and Leicester it would be club history as their first-ever.


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