Eden Hazard’s penalty secured Chelsea the FA Cup for the eighth time as they beat Manchester United in what could be Antonio Conte’s final match in charge.
Hazard sent goalkeeper David de Gea the wrong way at Wembley, having won the kick when brought down by Phil Jones.
United, having offered minimal attacking threat in the first half, were much better in the second.
Alexis Sanchez had a goal ruled out for straying just offside – referee Michael Oliver using VAR to confirm the call.
Thibaut Courtois later denied Marcus Rashford, before Paul Pogba headed wide with a clear chance from a corner.
Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial, who had both been doubts for the final because of injury, appeared as substitutes for the final 17 minutes, but United were unable to find an equaliser.
FULL-TIME: CHELSEA 1-0 MAN UTD!!!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 19, 2018
Conte’s glorious farewell?
If it is to be goodbye for Conte, his team delivered the famous old trophy in a manner that has become his trademark.
His side grabbed the initiative to take advantage of United’s tentative first 45 minutes, securing a precious lead that they defended with great resilience and organisation for the rest of an attritional final.
And it was a tribute to Conte that he inspired this performance following a flat end to their Premier League campaign, when a home draw with Huddersfield and a lame defeat at Newcastle left them fifth, and out of the Champions League qualification spots.
This has been a season in sharp contrast to Conte’s title-winning campaign. The Italian has appeared at odds with the club’s hierarchy, often detached and not quite the driven figure that arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016.
And yet he has delivered silverware, which has escaped Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham this season – although the failure to finish in the top four is painful and likely to be the point at which Conte and Chelsea part company.
One fact is beyond dispute. Conte remains a hugely popular figure with Chelsea’s supporters as they chanted his name – and if he is leaving, he has given them with another happy memory.
Bitter defeat for Mourinho
The sight of thousands of empty seats as Manchester United’s players went up to receive their losers’ medals summed up a bitterly disappointing day for Mourinho and his side.
United’s Premier League points tally of 81 was very respectable but it was still 19 behind champions Manchester City and this loss leaves a taste of anti-climax to their season.
They deserve credit for finishing second and reaching the FA Cup final but too often the style of play has been stodgy and even the resilience United have demonstrated this season could not spark a recover at Wembley.
As United stumbled through the first half, they will have been desperately hoping they could dig deep in the fashion that saw them beat Spurs here in the semi-final. It was not to be, despite an improved second-half performance.
United were thwarted by Courtois when they did break through, but this was a day when Mourinho and many of his players came up short.
Mourinho will feel the failure to win a trophy as acutely as anyone – especially as it came against the club where he enjoyed so much success.
Now he must act to add an extra touch of stardust to this United team as they are functional rather than exciting, as proved in this final.