Chelsea defeated Liverpool 2-1 to win English soccer’s F.A. Cup for the fourth time in six seasons.
Ramires and Didier Drogba scored at Wembley Stadium in London as Chelsea captured England’s top club competition for the seventh time.
“This is what we play for, it was a great performance,” Chelsea captain John Terry told ITV. “People have slated us, saying we’re too old, past it, not together. But when the chips are down, we come together and we’ve done that superbly.”
It was a record fourth F.A. Cup final in which Drogba has scored. The Ivorian now has eight goals in eight career games at Wembley.
“I don’t know what it is,” Drogba told ESPN when asked about his Wembley scoring record. “I’m here to finish and score goals and when I have the chances I try to make them.”
Andy Carroll came off the bench to score for Liverpool. The striker thought he tied the game with a late header that was knocked away by goalkeeper Petr Cech but the score wasn’t given. Television replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball had completely crossed the goalline.
“I thought it was over the line,” Carroll told ITV. “We were unlucky. We had a few chances but couldn’t put them away.”
Chelsea took the lead in the 11th minute as Juan Mata sent a pass to Ramires, who beat Jose Enrique down the right side and fired a shot between Pepe Reina and the near post.
Drogba doubled the lead in the 52nd minute as he took a ball from Frank Lampard at the edge of the area and sent a shot to the far post past Reina.
Carroll came on in the 55th minute and tied the score nine minutes later. Jose Bosingwa’s clearing attempt hit Stewart Downing and the ball went to Carroll, who worked himself around Terry to blast a shot by Cech.
Controversy arose with eight minutes left when Carroll’s header was knocked onto the underside of the crossbar by a lunging Cech before being cleared away. The Liverpool players argued the ball had crossed the line, though referee Phil Dowd and his linesman didn’t give the goal.
“I don’t think it was over the line,” Cech told ITV. “If the ball was behind the line I couldn’t have kept it out. I’m 100 percent sure it was not in.”
Carroll then had one last chance in injury time but his shot from close range was blocked by Terry.
Champions League Final
The victory keeps the Blues in line for two trophies this season as they face Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on May 19.
“It’s a completely different game, but it can only help that we won today,” Lampard told ESPN.
Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, who replaced the fired Andre Villas-Boas in March, joins former teammate Gianluca Vialli in winning the F.A. Cup as both a player and manager with the Blues. He’s the 16th person to accomplish the double.
“It’s quite a unique situation to win the F.A. Cup as player and also coach the team and win it,” Di Matteo told ESPN. “I feel honored.”
Liverpool was trying to win its second domestic trophy of the season after capturing the League Cup in February.