Chelsea Gains Its First English Soccer `Double' After Winning the F.A. Cup

Chelsea beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the F.A. Cup final to complete a double of English soccer trophies for the first time in its history.

Didier Drogba scored the goal and Petr Cech stopped a penalty kick as defending champion Chelsea added the F.A. Cup to the Premier League title. The Blues are the first club since Arsenal in 2002 to win the Cup and league in the same season.

“What a feeling,” Chelsea captain John Terry said in an interview with ITV. “It’s never been done in the club’s history and to do it with this group of players feels so special.”

Financially troubled Portsmouth was playing in the F.A. Cup final following its relegation from the league. Portsmouth, which will play in the second-division Championship next season, finished last in the Premiership after having nine points deducted for entering administration, a form of bankruptcy.

“It’s a day that I’m very proud and very sad,” Portsmouth manager Avram Grant told ITV. “Sad, because we had a chance to win the game and we didn’t do it. The players gave everything, unfortunately we didn’t win.”

Chelsea dominated the first half, hitting the post with shots five times, and could have fallen behind if Cech hadn’t stopped Kevin-Prince Boateng’s penalty in the second half. Drogba then won it in the 59th minute by curling in a free kick off the post for his 37th goal of the season.

“I hit the post again, but it went in this time,” Drogba, who struck the woodwork twice in the first half, told ITV.

Shots Blocked

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard had the game’s first scoring chance in the fourth minute but shot wide. He then hit the outside of the goalpost with a long shot 10 minutes later and Nicolas Anelka fired a low shot which Portsmouth goalkeeper David James dived to knock away.

Drogba then had two shots in succession blocked by Portsmouth defender Aaron Mokoena. Portsmouth got its first shot in the 22nd minute as a volley from Boateng deflected off Frederic Piquionne, forcing Cech to make a one-handed save.

Salomon Kalou then hit the crossbar from about five yards out as he faced a wide-open goal and Terry sent a header off the crossbar. Drogba followed with a long free kick which James got a hand to, sending it into the underside of the crossbar and down onto the goal line before being cleared away.

Drogba then slid a shot from an angle under James and off the outside of the post just before halftime.

Portsmouth missed the chance to take the lead early in the second half Juliano Belletti took down Aruna Dindane in the area. Boateng sent his penalty kick straight down the middle and a diving Cech was able to block it with his foot.

Sixth Goal

“We rode our luck in the first half,” Portsmouth’s Jamie O’Hara told ITV. “We had a chance to win the game. The penalty goes in, we try to defend for our lives and nick a one-nil.”

The miss was costly as Drogba then put his free kick past a diving James for his sixth goal at Wembley since the stadium re- opened in 2007. Lampard had a chance to increase the lead in the 87th minute but sent a penalty kick wide of the left post.

Chelsea becomes the seventh club to accomplish the English League and F.A. Cup double. Blues defender Ashley Cole and Anelka are the first players to win the double with two clubs, having previously both done it with Arsenal. Cole also won his sixth F.A. Cup winner’s medal to set a record.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net

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