ManU fail to scale the Drogbar
Drogba scored in injury time to give Chelsea a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the first FA Cup final to be played at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium.sports Updated: May 20, 2007 02:29 IST
Didier Drogba scored in injury time on Saturday to give Chelsea a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the first FA Cup final to be played at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium.
The teams had drawn 0-0 in normal time and were four minutes away from a penalty shootout before Drogba exchanged passes with Frank Lampard on the edge of the area and shot past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
The goal made Chelsea the first team since Liverpool in 2001 to win both FA Cup and League Cup in the same season and denied Premier League champion Manchester United a record fourth league and Cup double.
Chelsea were the last team to win the FA Cup at Wembley before it was demolished — beating Aston Villa in the 2000 final — and are now the first to win at the new ground.
Each team had brought on an extra striker in extra time in an effort to get a goal to avoid the anxiety of a penalty shootout. Ryan Giggs thought he had scored in the 103rd minute when he slid in to connect with a cross by Wayne Rooney. Goalkeeper Petr Cech got behind the ball but Giggs' momentum carried both the ball and Cech over the line. Referee Steve Bennett awarded neither a goal nor a foul.
United had enjoyed the greater possession throughout and looked the most likely side to win. However, in the 116th minute Kalou passed to Drogba about 25 meters from goal. Drogba passed to Lampard on the right corner of the area, got a pass back immediately, and just got to the ball before Van der Sar to score.
“It took a long time to come,” Lampard said. “It was a tight game — two teams that probably cancelled each other out at the end of a long season, but both attempting to win the game.”
The crowd of 89,826 — the largest at an FA Cup final for 19 years — watched the teams continue to compete fiercely without producing their best soccer.
Each team had chances to win before the match became the third straight final to go to extra time, but players — including Drogba and Rooney — either missed the target or were thwarted by the opposition goalkeeper.
United had the greater possession in an aggressive first half but it was Drogba who managed to head wide and then shoot over. Running from the edge of the centre circle and shooting wide with the toe of his boot, Drogba went close with a technique similar to that used by Roberto Di Matteo in scoring for the Blues in the 1997 Cup final win against Middlesbrough.
Frank Lampard had a shot saved by Van der Sar, while United’s veteran midfielder Paul Scholes volleyed wide and Rooney missed the target with only Cech to beat.