A first-half penalty from Eden Hazard has earned Chelsea a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the 2018 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
The Belgian forward successfully converted from the spot a quarter of the way into the 137th final for what proved to be the game’s only goal, punishing Phil Jones for his last-ditch challenge inside the box.
United improved in an attacking sense in the second half, coming particularly close through a late headed chance for Paul Pogba, but they could not find a way through.
The defeat was Jose Mourinho’s first in six domestic cup finals in English football, but whether it proves enough to save the job of opposite number Antonio Conte remains to be seen.
Chelsea looked the more threatening side on the rare occasions that they committed players forward, creating the first opening of the match 10 minutes in for Eden Hazard.
The Belgian forward had space to run into on the counter and attempted to catch out David de Gea, who read the danger and stuck out a big leg at his front post.
In what was a tight first half, things threatened to open up slightly midway through when Bakayoko was sent to the floor by Nemanja Matic at one end and Alexis Sanchez under contact from Victor Moses at the other.
Neither incident warranted a penalty, however, with referee Michael Oliver – who had VAR there to use it should he wish – getting both decisions correct.
Oliver was also justified when pointing to the spot 20 minutes in after Hazard used his first touch from Cesc Fabregas’s ball over the top to charge towards the opposition box, seeing his run halted by Phil Jones once caught out of position and then unable to redeem himself with a last-ditch challenge.
Hazard sent De Gea the wrong way from the spot – just the second time United had shipped a goal in this season’s competition.
Not for the first time this season, United’s lack of risk taking was proving to be a problem, failing to test opposition keeper Thibaut Courtois – in for his first FA Cup appearance of the campaign – at any point in the opening 45 minutes.
Rashford was then played through by Jesse Lingard as the match opened up, unable to lift the ball over Courtois who produced another good stop.
Mourinho turned to Lukaku and Anthony Martial with 17 minutes to play at a point in the game when his side were looking their most threatening.
A Matic drive from 25 yards was parried by Courtois and, two minutes later, Pogba met a corner completely unmarked from a central position, glancing it wide of the far post.