Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United aet
The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
3pm, Saturday 19 May 2007
Winning club receives £1,000,000
Didier Drogba's late goal ensured Chelsea were the first team to win The FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium.
After a 116 minute long war of attrition, the Ivorian conjured up a goal worthy of winning any Final.
Receiving Jon Obi Mikel's pass, Drogba clipped the ball to Frank Lampard before spinning into the box. The England midfielder delivered the perfect volleyed return to Drogba who nipped ahead of Edwin Van Der Sar before poking home.
Chelsea's fans celebrated, knowing Manchester United would not have enough time to force a response. Their roar when Steve Bennett blew the whistle moments later reverberated around the fabulous new arena.
Following a grand parade of FA Cup legends, fly-by from the Red Arrows and the royal presentation, it was down to business.
Wembley, a sea of red and blue shirts, looked magnificent although on the pitch, the early sparring revealed little.
It was Chelsea who fashioned the first opening after three minutes when Wayne Bridge, deputising for the injured Ashley Cole, delivered a perfect cross towards the lurking Drogba. The Ivorian's towering leap left Gabriel Heinze floundering but his header went over the ball.
Manchester United responded a minute later when Ryan Giggs, aiming for his fifth Cup success, got the better of Bridge.
Sir Alex's Ferguson's men continued to pressurise but a clear opening still eluded them.
Paul Scholes, central to most of the Reds' best work, dragged a volley wide after Mikel's weak header looped up invitingly.
The lively Wayne Rooney went close after 15 minutes only to be frustrated by the linesman's flag.
At the other end, Drogba, who was involved in an intriguing battle with the no-nonsense Nemanja Vidic, showed a glimpse of why he's one of Europe's most feared strikers.
Picking the ball up just inside the United half, the Chelsea forward burst forward before unleashing a dipping strike which worried the sprawling Van Der Sar.
The Dutch keeper had to be alert on the half-hour, diving low to his right to save from Frank Lampard after good work from Paulo Ferreira.
Shaun Wright-Phillips then blasted over seconds later as Chelsea enjoyed a period in the ascendancy.
Like their fans who traded chants with the Chelsea supporters, back came United which a chance of their own. Again Scholes was the provider, delightfully chipping the ball over the Chelsea defence to Cristiano Ronaldo who deftly brought the ball under control before slicing wide.
In the last piece of action before half-time, Lampard sent a swerving exocet over the diving Van Der Sar, but the ball was never in danger of dipping enough.
Jose Mourinho brought Arjen Robben on for Joe Cole and the Dutch winger certainly added some verve on the left flank. One darting run and cross had Van Der Sar nervously flapping at the near post.
But it was United's left winger, Giggs, who looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
He sent a wicked volley fizzing inches over the bar, Scholes again the architect, and moments early the Welshman brought an excellent stop from Petr Cech. However, the linesman adjudged Giggs to be offside from the initial shot where Rooney had tested Cech.
Neither side created much as the game worn on. With most of the 89,826 gearing up for extra-time, Carrick sent a searching diagonal ball to Rooney. Skipping past Ferreira, the England striker's run towards goal was halted by the matchless Michael Essien who timed another tackle to perfection.
Both managers made changes, with Alan Smith and Salomon Kalou injecting some fresh legs into proceedings.
The United fans roared 'attack' and their prayers should have been answered before the end of the first period of extra-time. After Robben had carelessly given away possession, United found Rooney on the right flank who had Smith and Giggs to aim for.
Rooney's low cross was perfect but Giggs' connection from five yards was far from ideal and his scuffed shot was comfortably saved. However, Giggs' momentum pushed both Cech and the ball over the line. Referee Steve Bennett was not interested though.
Rooney had a good chance himself after 110 minutes. But having been picked out by Scholes - the flame haired midfielder rarely missed his target during a fine show - Rooney failed to get the ball under control allowing the brave Cech to dive at his feet and smoother.
With seven minutes left until the dreaded penalty shootout, Ferguson played his last roll of the dice, bringing on John O'Shea and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But the United boss could only stand and watch as Chelsea stole a late victory.
1 Petr Cech, 4 Claude Makelele, 5 Michael Essien, 8 Frank Lampard, 10 Joe Cole (16 Arjen Robben, 46 (3 Ashley Cole, 108)), 11 Didier Drogba, 12 John Obi Mikel, 18 Wayne Bridge, 20 Paulo Ferreira, 24 Shaun Wright-Phillips (21 Salomon Kalou, 94), 26 John Terry (c)
Subs: 23 Carlo Cudicini, 19 Lassana Diarra.
Manager Jose Mourinho
Goals: Drogba 116
1 Edwin van der Sar, 4 Gabriel Heinze, 5 Rio Ferdinand, 6 Wes Brown, 7 Cristiano Ronaldo, 8 Wayne Rooney, 11 Ryan Giggs (c) (20 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, 112), 15 Nemanja Vidic, 16 Michael Carrick (22 John O'Shea, 112), 18 Paul Scholes, 24 Darren Fletcher (14 Alan Smith, 92)
Subs: 3 Patrice Evra, 29 Thomas Kuszczak
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Attendance 89, 826
Referee Steve Bennett
Assistant Referees Peter Kirkup and David Bryan
Fourth Official Howard Webb
Chief Guest Prince William
Chelsea Blue shirts, blue shorts, white socks
Manchester United Red shirts, white shorts, black socks