Chelsea capture FA Cup
Chelsea won a dramatic FA Cup final as they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley thanks to goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba.
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey
Last Updated: 05/05/12 8:02pm
Chelsea won a dramatic FA Cup final as they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley.
Ramires fired Chelsea into an early lead and Didier Drogba doubled their advantage just minutes into the second-half, in so doing became the first player ever to score in four different finals.
The game then changed on the hour when Andy Carroll came on and he scored soon after to cut the arrears in half as he turned John Terry before firing home.
With minutes left Carroll thought he had headed an equaliser for Liverpool but Petr Cech clawed the ball off the line to rescue Chelsea, who managed to hang on and claim their third FA Cup in four years.
There was no hint of the drama to follow when Ramires became the first Brazilian to score in this most prestigious of showpiece occasions.
Juan Mata slipped a pass beyond Jose Enrique, the Liverpool full-back failed to recover his ground, allowing Ramires to bear down on the Reds goal.
Jose Reina then chose incorrectly, diving to his right, allowing the ball to beat him rather embarrassingly at the near post.
Having fallen behind in both the semi-final against Everton and to Cardiff in the Carling Cup final earlier in the season, Liverpool had no need to fret.
What would probably have concerned manager Kenny Dalglish rather more was the way his team were outgunned in midfield.
It was not until the half-hour, when Steven Gerrard started to get in advanced areas, that the Merseyside outfit began to exert any influence on the game.
By that time Drogba, Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou had all wasted half-chances.
Branislav Ivanovic, like Ramires banned from the UEFA Champions League final in Munich on 19th May, had done well to block a snap-shot from Craig Bellamy early on.
That was Liverpool's only opportunity though, until Suarez rose on the edge of the six-yard box only to nod Jordan Henderson's knock-back wide.
Unfortunately for Dalglish's team, their momentum was halted by the half-time break and before they could get into their stride again, Chelsea had doubled their advantage through Drogba.
The Ivorian found space on the left side of Liverpool's area and rattled a shot through Martin Skrtel's legs and into the far corner, he was scoring for the eighth time in as many Wembley appearances.
It prompted Dalglish into making his move, introducing his £35million striker.
And Carroll responded immediately, twisting John Terry around superbly inside the area before lashing his shot into the roof of Cech's goal.
The former Newcastle man then used his power to set up the much-maligned Henderson, who drilled a half-volley narrowly wide as those ageing Chelsea legs began to creak.
And Liverpool were convinced Carroll had levelled nine minutes from time when he rose at the far post to power Suarez's cross goalwards.
But the celebrations were cut short as the officials ruled Cech had clawed the ball out before it had crossed the line.
Even after half a dozen replays, there was no clear verdict either way, meaning the linesman, with one look, was in an impossible situation.Carroll carved out one more chance, only for Terry to block, leaving Dalglish to reflect on the moment of controversy that denied him.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||8|
|43.7||1st Half Poss.||56.3|
|30||2nd Half Poss.||70|