Even though Manchester United dominated for long periods and virtually the entirety of the second half, they were unable to cancel out Hazard’s 22nd-minute spot-kick, failing to make the most of their possession by wasting several promising opportunities with profligate finishing or a poor final ball.
Chelsea won its second trophy under “serial winner” Antonio Conte as an Eden Hazard penalty was enough to secure the FA Cup against Manchester United at Wembley Saturday.
This is the kind of day by which Antonio Conte will like to remember his time at Chelsea, if indeed it is to end after two seasons and two major trophies, with a cup in his hand, champagne in his hair and his old enemy Jose Mourinho wondering how easily he let a final slip away.
Chelsea were dogged in a manner reminiscent of their best under Conte, remaining compact and disciplined in the face of a sustained pressure, and supplemented by the mercurial Hazard in attack.
This was a dreadful final but you were left with the impression that Hazard remains a great player in an era when what it means to be the best has been taken to new levels by the two stars of the Spanish game. He stroked in the 22nd-minute penalty that decided the game as if he were posting his neighbour’s mail, and although United got to grips with him better in the second half the damage was already done.
Jones was perhaps lucky to escape with just a yellow card, but Hazard got up to slot the penalty kick past David de Gea in the 22nd minute for the only goal of the game.
United, which left injured top scorer Romelu Lukaku on the bench, pushed hard for an equalizer by dominating the second half, but could not find a way through.
It was the eighth FA Cup trophy for Chelsea, United had been bidding for a record-equaling 13th, and its first since 2012.