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Everton 1-2 Chelsea


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Everton 1 - 2 Chelsea F.C.

Saturday 30th May 2009, the FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London

Ray Wilkins and Guus Hiddink lift the FA Cup at Wembley, to the delight of the Chelsea faithful.

Chelsea came from behind to seal a memorable victory in the FA Cup Final against Everton.

Following Louis Saha's opener, Chelsea responded through Didier Drogba; the Ivorian heading home an inch-perfect cross from Florent Malouda. Frank Lampard's splendid winning goal in the second half sent the Chelsea supporters into uproar, as the Blues played out the final minutes to seal their fifth FA Cup triumph, and their second in three seasons.

In 2007, former Chelsea manager José Mourinho lifted the FA Cup in what was the last of his six titles with the club, and it was fitting that outgoing interim manager Guus Hiddink followed suit, lifting the trophy in his final game as coach. The emotional Dutchman hailed the spirit and creativity of his team, and said that along with his European Cup final victory with PSV Eindhoven, Saturday's showpiece final ranked amongst his greatest managerial achievements. The Dutchman will be sorely missed by all at Chelsea.

The final itself was a wonderful affair, full of desire, commitment and entertainment from both teams, and both sets of supporters were in fine voice as a chorus of 'Carefree' was met by the Everton calls of 'We Shall Not Be Moved.' The sun was shining gloriously across the hallowed Wembley turf, as both team contributed to one of the best finals in recent memory. Chelsea's victory is the first time in 22 years that a team has come from behind to win the FA Cup inside normal time, and their victory means they have won three of the last four Wembley FA Cup finals - and also sets up a Community Shield fixture with Manchester United in August.

In his final game in charge of the club, Hiddink made one significant decision in his starting eleven; the Dutchman electing to field John Mikel Obi over the experienced Michael Ballack. Juliano Belletti had recovered from a knee injury sustained against Sunderland the previous weekend, and both Alex da Costa and Frank Lampard passed fitness tests prior to the clash at Wembley.

In 1997, Roberto di Matteo's drive on 43 seconds became the fastest ever goal in the FA Cup Final. In 2009, Louis Saha smashed that record. The ball fell to Steven Pienaar, whose ball into the box was only half-cleared by the head of Mikel. The loose ball fell to Marouane Fellaini, who headed into the path of Saha, who sumptuously volleyed beyond Petr Cech with just 25 seconds on the clock. Chelsea had suffered the earliest of wake up calls. To rub salt into the wounds of the Blues supporters, Pienaar had been a yard offside before he crossed the ball.

Chelsea responded almost immediately, winning an ultimately-fruitless corner just three minutes later, before Frank Lampard fired a 40 yard freekick wide of Tim Howard's goal. There had been suggestions that the Toffees would be defensive and cautious, and with a precious lead to hold on to, the Everton players would be encouraged to sit back and preserve their lead against an in-form, free-scoring Chelsea side.

On 13 minutes, Essien volleyed over from the edge of the area, although the Ghanaian was under pressure from the excellent Joleon Lescott, who was winning his early challenges against Didier Drogba. Chelsea had secured a foothold in the game after a tentative start to the proceedings, and on 21 minutes, the Blues - looking far more comfortable in possession - were back on terms.

Anelka and Lampard combined, passing the ball to the effective Malouda who was enjoying a productive afternoon against Tony Hibbert on the Chelsea left flank. The Frenchman took a moment to consider his options before supplying a killer final ball; a final ball that Didier Drogba finished with aplomb. The Ivorian netted an extra-time winner against Liverpool in the 2005, hit a brace against Arsenal two years later and opened the scoring against Tottenham in Carling Cup finals of previous seasons, netted twice against the Gunners in the Community Shield and the winner against Manchester United in 2007 - and again, in 2009, the Ivorian had done the business for his side in a competitive final; his bullet header beating Tim Howard and nestling in the bottom corner.

Frank Lampard then launched a blockbuster of a shot over the bar from 30 yards; the England midfielder's effort dipping at the last possible moment and almost embarrassing Howard. Ashley Cole then slice an effort horribly wide from 8 yards after Fellaini's clearance had fallen invitingly for the Chelsea Player's Player of the Year, as Chelsea ended the half clearly the better of the two sides. Everton had invited pressure from the yellow-kitted Chelsea players, and through the brilliance of Cole, Malouda and Mikel, the Blues were quickly seizing the initiative.

The ailing Hibbert was replaced by David Moyes during the interval, with Lars Jacobsen replacing the veteran defender, but Malouda continued to show promise down the Chelsea left throughout the first half as the Blues began the second half in the same way they had ended the first. The Frenchman volleyed over after a Chelsea corner had broken to him, before Saha did the same with a similar effort at the other end.

With 60 minutes on the clock, Everton had begun to show the same promise their early endeavours had shown, but Chelsea were well-marshalled by the imperious Alex and Terry. Anelka steamed forward and lifted the ball over the crossbar from 15 yards with a deft flick that was inches wide of the target. Michael Essien was soon replaced by Michael Ballack, and the German wasted no time in introducing himself to the Wembley crowd; conceding two freekicks inside a minute.

Tim Cahill then volleyed straight at Cech before Louis Saha wasted an absolutely glorious chance to put Everton back ahead when he headed over the bar in a scenario not too dissimilar to Drogba's equaliser for the SW6 side. Drogba could then only direct a driven Malouda cross from the left wide with a touch off of his chest, but the Ivorian was under pressure from Fellaini, who was enjoying a solid performance at the heart of the Everton midfield.

Then came Frank Lampard, and only he could have scored such an unbelievable winner. In search of his 20th goal of the season, the Chelsea number 8 turned Phil Neville before launching an unstoppable drive from the edge of the area that flew into the top corner with Howard clawing at nothing but fresh air. The Chelsea man had scored on the biggest stage of all, and another trophy was awaiting the Blues vice-captain.

Florent Malouda then curled over, before a lack of goalline technology denied him the strike his performance warranted. Taking the ball up 35 yards from goal, the Frenchman launched a brilliant drive from range that hit the crossbar and bounced over the line, yet no line was awarded. The Chelsea bench were furious, and at the other end of the pitch, the Everton fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Anelka could have sealed the win but his shot was over, but Chelsea played out the final period of the match in comfort, with Tim Cahill's rasping drive that flew wide of Cech's post the only effort offered by the tired Everton players. Chelsea had won the FA Cup - and it was a fairytale ending to a magical adventure with Guus Hiddink - Chelsea's latest "Special One."


The TalkChelsea.net Star Man award goes to...


Ashley Cole, Chelsea F.C.

’Immense’ just about sums up Cole's wonderful all-round performance.

Match Fact - this was the first Wembley final since 1993 where both sides have found the scoresheet.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Terry ©, A Cole; Essien (Ballack), Mikel, Lampard; Anelka, Malouda, Drogba

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Hibbert (Jacobsen), Yobo, Lescott, Baines; Osman (Gosling), Neville ©, Cahill, Pienaar; Fellaini; Saha (Vaughan)
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Good report BL and what a present for your old man !

Fantastic day, fantastic weather -well for watching anyway, not sure about playing.

Hope you're all having a drink tonight toasting Gus n the boys, and lets look forward to bashing fergies freaks in the Charity Shield......

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