Leicester City reached their first FA Cup semi-final for 39 years with a fully deserved win over Manchester United at the King Power Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will face Southampton at Wembley with Chelsea and Manchester City meeting in the other semi-final.
Leicester, who lost to eventual winners Tottenham in the 1982 semi-final, were the more vibrant and positive team against off-colour United as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once again tasted defeat in the latter stages of a cup competition, his ploy of resting the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw failing to produce the desired result.
The Foxes’ hero was in-form striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who struck twice and now has nine goals in nine games.
He took advantage of Fred’s awful backpass to round Dean Henderson to score in the 24th minute after the hapless Brazilian was played into trouble by captain Harry Maguire.
Mason Greenwood crowned a crisp United move to equalise before half-time but Youri Tielemans restored Leicester City’s lead with a fine low shot seven minutes after the break before Iheanacho took advantage of shocking marking at a free-kick to head in Leicester’s third after 78 minutes.
Superb Leicester show their class
Injuries have robbed Leicester of the creative edge provided by James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, as well as the defensive excellence of James Justin, but they still had too much for miserable Manchester United here.
And it was fitting that the two players who got the goals to secure that precious semi-final place, and only their second win over United in 23 years, were Iheanacho and Tielemans – the Foxes’ two most influential performers.
Iheanacho has had mixed fortunes since his £25m move from Manchester City in August 2017 but it is testimony to the player’s own attitude and persistence, alongside the patience and coaching of manager Rodgers, that he has re-emerged as such an influential figure.
He has always had the natural scorer’s instinct but here he provided goals and link-up play while the cultured Belgian Tielemans was the architect of most good things.
Leicester City will now face Southampton – the team they beat 9-0 at St Mary’s last season – but the prize at stake is now so enticing it is unlikely there will be a hint of complacency from Rodgers and his players.
There could have been nerves when Jamie Vardy missed the sort of opportunity he normally gobbles up at 2-1 but there was no wavering in self-belief and Iheanacho’s second sealed the deal.
Leicester are in a very favourable position in the Premier League’s top four and now have an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to in what is shaping up to be a potentially memorable season.
More to follow.
- 6EvansBooked at 76mins
- 11AlbrightonBooked at 69mins
- 17PérezSubstituted forPraetat 73′minutes
- 9VardySubstituted forChoudhuryat 83′minutes
- 5MaguireBooked at 30mins
- 27TellesSubstituted forShawat 64′minutes
- 17FredSubstituted forDialloat 84′minutes
- 31MaticSubstituted forBruno Fernandesat 64′minutes
- 34van de BeekSubstituted forCavaniat 64′minutes
- 6PogbaSubstituted forMcTominayat 64′minutesBooked at 72mins
- 1de Gea
- 18Bruno Fernandes
Match ends, Leicester City 3, Manchester United 1.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 3, Manchester United 1.
Harry Maguire (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City).
Attempt saved. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mason Greenwood with a cross.
Scott McTominay (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Youri Tielemans (Leicester City).
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Kasper Schmeichel.
Attempt saved. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Harry Maguire (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Hamza Choudhury (Leicester City).
Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Dennis Praet (Leicester City).
Offside, Leicester City. Marc Albrighton tries a through ball, but Kelechi Iheanacho is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester United. Amad replaces Fred.
Substitution, Leicester City. Hamza Choudhury replaces Jamie Vardy.
Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hand ball by Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City).
Goal! Leicester City 3, Manchester United 1. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) header from the right side of the six yard box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross following a set piece situation.