FA Cup glory for Chelsea

PA Sport
Didier Drogba (second right)
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Didier Drogba (second right)

Didier Drogba became the first man to score in four FA Cup finals as Chelsea overcame Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley thanks to another massive goal-line controversy.

The Blues appeared to be cruising when Drogba scored at the start of the second half following Ramires's early opener, but the arrival of Andy Carroll turned the game on its head.

He smashed home a superb goal not long after his arrival, then, with nine minutes left, rose to meet Luis Suarez's cross at the far post. Carroll was convinced he had scored before Petr Cech clawed it on to the crossbar, but linesman Andrew Garratt was not so sure - and those with the advantage of TV replays were mostly of the same opinion.

Once another goal-bound Carroll effort had been blocked in stoppage time, the Blues were able to complete their fourth FA Cup triumph in six seasons, and give Roberto Di Matteo his first piece of silverware as a manager in what could turn out to be a glorious double against Bayern Munich later this month.

There was no hint of the drama to follow when Juan Mata slipped a pass beyond Jose Enrique and the Liverpool full-back failed to recover his ground, allowing Ramires to bear down on the Reds' goal and then leave Jose Reina stranded as the ball was slotted past him and into the net at the near post.

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, but by that time Drogba, Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou had all wasted half-chances.

Branislav Ivanovic, like Ramires banned from the Champions League final in Munich on May 19, 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 Kenny Dalglish's team, their momentum was halted by the half-time break and before they could get into their stride again for the second 45, Chelsea had doubled their advantage. Drogba found space on the left side of Liverpool's area and rattled a shot through Martin Skrtel's legs and into the far corner.

It prompted Dalglish into making his move, introducing Carroll - and the £35million striker responded immediately, twisting John Terry around superbly inside the area before lashing his shot into the roof of Cech's goal.

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, leaving Dalglish to reflect on the moment of controversy that denied him.

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