Where does Tielemans' FA Cup final goal stand among the greatest ever?

Leicester’s Youri Tielemans wrote himself into FA Cup final folklore… but how does his Wembley wonder goal compare with Roberto Di Matteo’s 42- SECOND stunner, Ricky Villa’s mazy run or Keith Houchen and Steven Gerrard? Here’s our top 10

  • Youri Tielemans scored one of the greatest FA Cup final goals for Leicester City
  • The Belgian’s incredible 35-yard strike earned Foxes a famous win over Chelsea 
  • But how does Tielemans’ goal compare with other classic FA Cup final strikes?
  • From Ricky Villa to Steven Gerrard, Sportsmail looks at the 10 greatest goals 

Leicester City stunned Chelsea to win the FA Cup on Saturday, seeing off their Premier League top-four rivals, with a 1-0 victory at Wembley.

Brendan Rodgers’ side did it in style too, with Youri Tielemans’ incredible 35-yard drive sure to live long in the memory of Foxes supporters.

But where does the Belgian midfielder’s heroics at Wembley stand compared to other famous strikes in one of football’s most famous fixtures? Sportsmail looks at 10 of the greatest FA Cup final goals.

Youri Tielemans’ 35-yard strike helped Leicester City win the FA Cup for the first time

The 100th FA Cup final will forever live as one of the greatest finals – it was so good they played it twice. Well, maybe the 1-1 draw in the initial tie forcing a replay had something to do with that.

That game alone had a contender for one of the greatest goals when Tommy Hutchinson’s arcing diving header looked to have won the cup for City… only for him to then head into his own goal with 10 minutes to play.

Hutchinson was outdone though in the Wembley replay five days later, although he played a key assist for MacKenzie to equalise following Ricky Villa’s opening goal (not that one) for Spurs.

Spurs failed to properly clear a free-kick launched into their box and after Hutchinson headed the ball on to the City striker on the edge of the box, he let fly with a thumping and unstoppable volley into the top corner past Spurs keeper Milija Aleksic.

Sadly for MacKenzie it was not enough for City to win the Cup but we’ll have more on the reason why further on in this list… 

9. Ray Parlour (ARSENAL vs Chelsea – 2002)

Arsenal beating Chelsea in FA Cup finals has not just been a recent trend, following their London derby triumphs as underdogs last year and in 2017.

They were also sticking two goals past the Blues in the showpiece occasion back in 2002 at the Millennium Stadium. In those days though Arsenal were a different proposition and were strong favourites under Arsene Wenger to see off Chelsea and secure the League and Cup Double.

This was pre-Roman Abramovich Chelsea and while they were still a handy side near the top of the table they had no answer for Wenger’s mob in Wales.

For 70 minutes though it was goalless, then Sylvain Wiltord released Parlour through the centre and he charged at the Chelsea defence. As part of a celebrity commentary duo with Bradley Walsh, Chelsea fan Tim Lovejoy then uttered the famous words: ‘it’s only Ray Parlour…’.

On cue, the midfielder cut onto his right foot and bent a shot into the top corner to send Walsh and the rest of the Gunners fans into rapture. Freddie Ljungberg arguably scored an even better goal 10 minutes later but Lovejoy’s quotes have helped Parlour’s strike go down in FA Cup folklore.


Ray Parlour’s opening goal paved the way for Arsenal to beat Chelsea 2-0 in the 2002 final

8. Jesse Lingard (Crystal Palace vs MAN UTD – 2016)

This is one of the only FA Cup finals remembered for a dance rather than anything that happened on the field of play.

Crystal Palace had taken a shock lead through Jason Puncheon with just 12 minutes to go, provoking a touchline jig from Eagles boss Alan Pardew which aged like milk when Juan Mata equalised for Manchester United just three minutes later.

But the tie looked to have fallen back in Palace’s favour when Chris Smalling was sent off halfway through extra-time for the Red Devils.

Still though United attacked, and when Antonio Valencia’s cross was cleared, Lingard had only one thought where the ball was going next.

The midfielder leaped into the air at almost point blank range to the clearance to make contact with a perfectly struck volley which launched into top corner to seal the cup for United and boss Louis van Gaal… who was sacked a few days later.


Jesse Lingard (back) looks on as he fires home Manchester United’s winning goal in 2016

7. Keith Houchen (COVENTRY vs Tottenham – 1987)

This may seem hard to understand for the modern football fan but there was a time when Tottenham were not only favourites to win finals, but they would get the job done too.

Heading into this Wembley clash, they had never been defeated in their previous seven FA Cup finals and despite both teams being in the top flight were heavy favourites to seal a record eighth win in the competition against Coventry City. 

For an hour it went to script with Clive Allen and Gary Mabbutt scoring either side of a Dave Bennett effort to hand Spurs the advantage.

But then Houchen launched himself at a  Bennett cross to nod in a superb diving header across goal into the bottom corner to take the game into extra-time.

There Mabbutt scored an own goal to hand Coventry their only ever major trophy. While a club fanzine titled GMK (Gary Mabbut’s knee) was named in the goal’s honour, Houchen’s fantastic header will live longer in the memory. 


Keith Houchen celebrates after his header brought an equaliser for Coventry against Spurs

6. Norman Whiteside (Everton vs MAN UTD – 1985)

Something needed to liven up this final which, in a decade where it seemed one Wembley classic followed another, wasn’t producing the goods when Everton and United ended goalless in 90 minutes.

Still this was the 80s, and history was made with 12 minutes to go of extra-time when United’s  Kevin Moran cynically brought down Peter Reid to become the first player sent off in an FA Cup final.

Whiteside knew all about making Cup history having at 18 years and 18 days become the youngest player to score in a final.

Two years on he was making headlines again when he struck the game’s only goal with just 10 minutes of extra-time remaining. 

After collecting a magnificent pass out wide from Mark Hughes, the Northern Irishman cut inside from the right before curling a precise strike past a defender and a diving Neville Southall to win it for United. 

Norman Whiteside bends a shot past Pat Van Den Hauwe to score for Manchester United

5. Michael Owen (Arsenal vs LIVERPOOL – 2001)

It’s not often players get a final named after them these days but the 2001 showdown in Cardiff will be remembered as the ‘Michael Owen final’.

Partly because his Liverpool side were battered by Arsenal on the day and looked to be heading for defeat when Ljungberg deservedly put the Gunners in front with just 18 minutes left.

That had come after Stephane Henchoz was fortunate to stay on the pitch having blatantly handled the ball to prevent Thierry Henry from opening the scoring.

Yet with seven minutes to play Owen looked to have taken the game to extra-time with an equaliser from a set-piece.

But he saved the best for two minutes from time. Patrik Berger’s hopeful punt down field saw Owen make up three or four yards on Lee Dixon to make the Arsenal right-back look like he was running through treacle, before escaping the attention of Tony Adams and firing across David Seaman with his weaker left foot into the bottom corner to complete one of the FA Cup’s all-time great ‘smash and grabs’. 

Michael Owen took five minutes to turn the 2001 FA Cup final around in Liverpool’s favour

4. Roberto Di Matteo (CHELSEA vs Middlesbrough – 1997)

Hoping there was going to be some sort of third-time-lucky aspect to their season, Middlesbrough arrived at Wembley having lost the League Cup final a month earlier and having been relegated from the Premier League a week earlier on the last day of the season.

Unfortunately for them, Chelsea let them know where their afternoon was heading after just 42 seconds when Di Matteo broke Jackie Milburn’s 42-year record for Newcastle, by three seconds, by scoring the fastest ever FA Cup final goal.

It also proved to be one of the best with the midfielder racing in on goal from the halfway line, before launching a dipping 25-yard effort that crept in under the crossbar of Boro keeper Ben Roberts.

Boro’s day only got worse with key striker Fabrizio Ravanelli departing injured in the first half, Gianluca Festa having a goal ruled out, and then Eddie Newton sealing Chelsea’s first FA Cup win in 27 years with a goal seven minutes from the end.

Di Matteo’s record stood for 12 years, until it was beaten by Louis Saha who scored after just 25 seconds for Everton against Chelsea who again triumphed on the day. 

Roberto Di Matteo scored after just 42 seconds in the 1997 FA Cup final for Chelsea

3.  Youri Tielemans (Chelsea vs LEICESTER – 2021)

Too soon? No chance. On its own it’s one of the best and most memorable FA Cup finals let alone the context behind it.

Chelsea were favourites on Sunday, with a Champions League final to come later in May, even if only two points separate the teams in the Premier League table.

Meanwhile Leicester had a notorious millstone around their necks having lost their previous four finals in the competition – the record for a team to have never previously won the Cup.

Yet this was their first final since 1969, so not only were Foxes fans returning in vast numbers following the coronavirus outbreak to see their side play for the first time in over a year, they got to see one of the most memorable moments in one of the best days in their history.

And it was all down to Tielemans picking up the ball 35 yards before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner to create not just one of the most iconic images in final history but one of the most iconic sounds too, as the drone of dreadful fake crowd noise was replaced by real passionate supporters going nuts. It was a real ‘welcome back football’ moment that will be fondly remembered even by neutrals.

Tielemans’ goal saw Leicester end their horrific run of four FA Cup final defeats

2. Ricky Villa (TOTTENHAM vs Man City – 1981)

We pick up from where we left off at the start of the list where MacKenzie’s volley had equalised for City in the 1981 replay.

Villa, as mentioned, opened the scoring but the narrative heading into the replay was that he was fortunate to even be selected following an awful showing in the original tie that saw him subbed with 22 minutes left.

Despite his early goal, Spurs soon found themselves in trouble again at Wembley when they fell 2-1 down to a Kevin Reeves penalty at the start of the second half.

Garth Crooks equalised for Spurs, but then came Villa’s moment. From 30 yards out he picked up a pass square from Tony Galvin, dribbled past two City defenders on the edge of the box, cut inside, beat the same defenders again before poking the ball under keeper Joe Corrigan.

Within six minutes Spurs had gone from being 2-1 down to leading the final and this time there was to be no City response to prevent the north London side winning the Cup for the first time in 14 years. Villa’s goal was lauded as arguably the greatest Cup Final strike until…

Ricky Villa (5) slots past Joe Corrigan to fire Spurs 3-2 ahead in the 100th FA Cup final

1. Steven Gerrard (LIVERPOOL vs West Ham – 2006)

You can count the FA Cup classics on one hand since the turn of the century, but never mind that, the 2006 final is one of the greatest of all time.

It had everything, and the shock on the cards was on when West Ham were 2-0 up inside half an hour through a Jamie Carragher own goal and a Dean Ashton strike, only for Djibril Cisse to net before Gerrard equalised.

Paul Konchesky’s cross/shot put West Ham back in front and it looked from then on like the Hammers would see the game out to win the Cup for the first time in 26 years. 

Liverpool were a year on from their Champions League heroics in Istanbul inspired by Gerrard, and the Liverpool skipper was on hand again to equalise as the game ticked into stoppage time, with a 35-yard first-time drive that flew into the bottom corner to force another 30 minutes. Never mind the timing of the goal – Gerrard could not have wished to have hit the ball any sweeter.

No goals followed before the Reds triumphed on penalties, but no one talks about the shootout – just how Gerrard saved Liverpool’s skin with a truly world-class moment when the chips were down for the Reds.

Steven Gerrard’s stunning last-minute strike broke West Ham’s hearts in the 2006 FA Cup final

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