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Crowd returns to Wembley to see Leicester reach FA Cup final

The goal scored by Kelechi Iheanacho didn't just send Leicester into a first FA Cup final since 1969. It was the first to be cheered by spectators at Wembley in more than a year.

Not since March 2020 had fans been allowed into English football's national stadium through three national lockdowns.

Now as coronavirus restrictions are eased, Wembley was allowed a 4,000-strong, socially distant crowd on Sunday to witness Leicester's 1-0 victory over Southampton to test the return of spectators.

Fans support their team ahead of the English FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Leicester City and Southampton at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Richard HeathcotePool via AP)

While those permitted were only local residents in the north London district over the age of 18 who tested negative for COVID-19, some fans of both teams did manage to land tickets.

By the time Leicester faces Chelsea in the May 15 FA Cup final, the government hopes up to 21,000 spectators will be allowed, including a sizable contingent officially from both clubs.

The pilot scheme is aimed at trying to increasing the numbers up to half of the 90,000-capacity Wembley for the European Championship final on July 11.

A fan applauds in the stands ahead of the English FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Leicester City and Southampton at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Neil HallPool via AP)

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Fans wait in the stands ahead of the English FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Leicester City and Southampton at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Richard HeathcotePool via AP)