Chelsea Defeat Liverpool 2-1 In Tense FA Cup Final (GALLERY)

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 05/05/2012 19:23 Updated: 05/05/2012 19:59

Chelsea defeated Liverpool 2-1 to win their fourth FA Cup in six seasons in Saturday's final.

Goals in either half from Ramires and Didier Drogba gave the Blues a 2-0 lead before Andy Carroll emerged from the bench to halve the deficit.

Carroll was then denied superbly by Petr Cech, who tipped his header onto the crossbar as Liverpool claimed the ball had crossed the line.

However replays showed the whole of the ball had not gone over the strip of white chalk.

Kenny Dalglish's decision not to start Carroll backfired horrendously as Liverpool struggled to impose themselves on the showpiece occasion.

In the 11th minute Jay Spearing was robbed of possession in midfield before Juan Mata fed the ball to Ramires. The Brazilian then muscled off Jose Enrique with ease before beating a culpable Pepe Reina at his near post.

Despite trailing, the Reds offered little cause for optimism in a largely event-free first-half which saw Chelsea defend their lead with ease.

With Luis Suarez starting as a lone striker, the Uruguayan was invariably dropping deep, leaving Liverpool bereft of a striker further afield.

Yet Carroll still did not emerge at half-time and as the Reds continued to struggle for rhythm, Drogba struck.

Again 23-year-old Spearing was robbed in midfield before an adoirt pass from Frank Lampard found Drogba on the left hand side of the penalty area.

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  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Jimmy Armfield (centre left) greets the Chelsea team before kick-off

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Liverpool fans with a banner reading 'expose the lies before Thatcher dies', in the stands

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea's Ramires (left) celebrates scoring their first goal of the game with team-mates

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea's Ramires (left) scores their first goal of the game

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba (right) scores their second goal of the game

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring his team's second goal

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Liverpool's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring their first goal of the game with team-mate Jordan Henderson (left)

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish (right) reacts on the touchline

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez races to assistant referee Andy Garratt (left) to claim a goal after team-mate Andy Carroll has a header cleared off the line

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo (right) celebrates victory with his back-room staff after the final whistle

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Liverpool fans are left dejected in the stands

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Liverpool's Steven Gerrard

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea's Frank Lampard celebrates winning the FA Cup after the final whistle

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium

    Chelsea's John Terry (second left) and Frank Lampard (centre) lift the FA Cup after victory over Liverpool

Facing Martin Skrtel, the Ivorian slotted the ball through the Slovakian defender's legs and into the corner of the net to double the Blues' lead.

It was Drogba's fourth FA Cup final goal, to add to his four League Cup final goals for Chelsea, as the 34-year-old again reaffirmed his big-game prowess.

Spearing was shortly after withdrawn for Carroll, and the former Newcastle striker's impact elevated his side.

In the 64th minute, and nine minutes after his introduction, he flummoxed Terry after capitalising on a loose ball to rifle the ball past Cech. The Czech Republic goalkeeper got a hand to the effort, but failed to stand imposingly tall.

Suddenly momentum had swung in Liverpool's favour. Carroll caused consternation for a previously comfortable Chelsea rearguard as he won lofted crosses into the area time and again.

Roberto di Matteo brought on Raul Meireles for Ramires in a bid to reenergise his tiring team, but five minutes later the game's flashpoint occurred.

Suarez's cross inside the area found Carroll at the far post, and the 23-year-old's fierce header was blocked by Cech onto the crossbar before Branislav Ivanovic cleared the ball.

ITV's technology showed the ball was largely over the line, but the law states the whole of it must cross the goal-line to be given as a goal. Suarez was booked for dissent.

Thereafter, Chelsea held out as Liverpool strived to seek out the excellent Carroll, but to no avail, as they lost their second successive FA Cup final at Wembley.

Di Matteo is now the 14th man to win the cup as a player and as a manager, as Chelsea boosted their confidence ahead of the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in two weeks' time.

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