Sunday, May 20, 2007

FA Cup Final - M.United vs Chelsea (The Results)

The FA Cup final returned home to Wembley Stadium yesterday with a nostalgic opening ceremony, complete with flypast, marching band and royalty to inaugurate the new 90,000-seat stadium.

The new Wembley stadium, resplendent with a mixture of blue and red, was officially declared open by Prince William before kick-off as the Red Arrows formation soared overhead. Footballing legends from five decades of FA Cup finals also received a standing ovation as they paraded on the pitch.

Didier Drogba scored an extra-time winner to give Chelsea a 1-0 victory over league champions Manchester United in the first FA Cup final here. Overall it was all a lack-lustre game if you ask me, a sort of an anti-climax for an event so huge as this. Billed as the 'Dream Final' between the best two English sides and the worlds richest league, much of it was a disappointment.

Jose Mourinho's game plan to go for a 4-3-3 formation, definitely showed the better results. The Ivorian striker, Drogba, scooped the ball past United's goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar in the 116th minute of the game, which seemed destined for another penalty shootout.

The win here would definitely lift Chelsea, after a season in which injuries, under-achievements and speculation about the future of manager Jose Mourinho. For the Chelsea supporters this would surely make up for their lost in the league title.

For Chelsea this win is their fourth time in history - 1970, 1997, 2000 and 2007. They've also created history by winning the last FA Cup final at the old Wembley and subsequently winning the first FA Cup final in the new Wembley. Manchester United on the other hand were denied of a fourth double, this time around.

On a personal note, being a die-hard fan of Manchester United, I seriously think that there should have been a penalty awarded during the extra time, when Chelsea's Michael Essien fouled Ryan Giggs from behind. Thanks to a pre-match 'pressure' by Mourinho towards the referee (Steve Bennet), not to be fooled by any diving or provocative tactics shown by the United player's, this certainly worked, where Chelsea getting the biggest reward....victory.

At the end of the day, Chelsea celebrated with more style than they played, when Manager-Mourinho, bizarrely, raced down the tunnel at the final whistle, running up 107 steps to the new Royal Box by signalling six with his fingers, a typical extravagant reference for his half a dozen trophies he has helped Chelsea take in his three years at Stamford Bridge.

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