The FA Cup Final
30 May 2009
The FA Cup Final Sponsored by E.On
Chelsea 2 - 1 Everton
Attendance: 89, 391
Guus Hiddink left Chelsea with the perfect leaving present at Wembley, as he lead them to their second FA Cup success in three years courtesy of a hard fought victory over Everton.
Not only did the Londoners have to show their quality, but they also needed character after falling behind to the quickest ever goal in an FA Cup final when Louis Saha struck the Toffees ahead after just 25 seconds.
With Everton's supporters almost acting like a twelfth man with their incredible vocal support throughout too, it looked as though Chelsea would need to use all of their experience if they were to find a way back and repeat their cup success of 2007.
They found the inspiration to do so, edging it with Frank Lampard's stunning second half strike after Didier Drogba had cancelled out Everton's goal in the embryonic stages of the game.
The Everton fans had been in good voice throughout the build up to kick off and they must have been in dreamland when they launced an attack from the first kickwhich ended when Marouane Fellani nodded down a Steven Pienaar cross for Saha, who struck first time shot low and hard at goal to give Petr Cech no chance whatsoever and handed the Merseysiders the best possible start and a new chapter in The FA Cup record books for themselves.
Once Chelsea had got over the shock of such an early blow, they managed to settle down and looked to hit straight back, but the best they could muster was a Michael Essien shot which flew well over the bar before a promising dribble from Florent Malouda ended in an offside flag being raised when he tried to pick out Ashley Cole in the box.
It was all level in the 21st minute though, when Malouda was allowed too much time on the left to cross and when he picked out Drogba in the area, the Ivorian nipped in front of Joleon Lescott and made no mistake by firmly heading home past Tim Howard.
That goal gave Chelsea added impetus and almost straight away after the kick off they were back on the attack with Lampard seeing his shot dip narrowly ove the bar from 25 yards.
Chelsea were playing the more incisive football following their goal, up until the final third were Everton remained solid and resilient to protect Howard's goal so it was no surprise when the teams went in at the break level.
It remained just as tight following the restart with both sides seemingly cancelling each other out and aside from a shot over by Saha and then a half chance for Anelka at the other end went the same way.
Saha came close in the 27th minute when Leighton Baines whipped a pacy cross in from the left for the Frenchman, who made a good connection with his head but could only guide it over the bar.
But with just less than 20 minutes remaining, Chelsea edged ahead in spectacular style. It started with John Obi Mikel supplying Anelka and when he slipped the ball through to Lampard, the England man expertly sidestepped Phil Neville and, despite slipping in the process, picked himself up to smash a left footer beyond Howard and into the top corner.
Chelsea almost extended that lead further, when Malouda took aim from 30 yards with a dipping shot. It certainly caught Howard out before crashing back off the bar, bouncing on the line and spinning away to safety. It appeared to have crossed ove the line and television replays later confirmed that, but with the assistant referee in no position to make a decision, play was waved on.
Evertone weren't without their opportunities to get back into it and substitute James Vaughn did well to dig out a cross from the left which looked to be heading for Tim Cahill at the far post until Cech managed to get a crucial hand to it and claw it away for Cole to complete the clearance. That proved to be their final offering.
Chelsea could have even made it more comfortable when Anelka beat Joseph Yobo to the ball to break into the box but he lifted the ball well over the bar when confronted by Howard's rush from goal as four minutes of added time were signalled.
Hiddink's team showed all of their experience in those last four minutes though, with the likes of Drogba and Mikel keeping the ball in the corner to count the time down before the celebrations truly began after Howard Webb's final whistle as Chelsea celebrated their fifth FA Cup win.
1 Petr Cech, 3 Ashley Cole, 5 Michael Essien (13 Michael Ballack, 61), 8 Frank Lampard, 11 Dider Drogba, 12 Mikel John Obi, 15 Florent Malouda, 17 Jose Bosingwa, 26 John Terry (C), 33 Alex, 39 Nicolas Anelka
24 Tim Howard, 2 Tony Hibbert (15 Lars Jacobsen, 46), 3 Leighton Baines, 4 Joseph Yobo, 5 Joleon Lescott, 9 Louis Saha (14 James Vaughn, 77), 17 Tim Cahill, 18 Phil Neville (C), 20 Steven Pienaar, 21 Leon Osman (32 Dan Gosling, 83), 25 Marouane Fellani