Didier Drogba became the first man to score in four FA Cup finals as Chelsea beat Liverpool 2–1 at Wembley on Saturday thanks to more goal-line controversy.
Chelsea seemed to be cruising when Drogba scored early in the second half, adding to Ramires’s opener, but the introduction of Andy Carroll for Liverpool changed the game.
Carroll smashed home a superb goal not long after his arrival, and then with nine minutes left, he thought he had equalized as Petr Cech clawed his effort back onto the crossbar.
Linesman Andrew Garratt was not sure if the ball had crossed the line so referee Phil Dowd could not give it.
Carroll also had a goal bound effort blocked in stoppage time as Chelsea hung on for their fourth FA Cup in six seasons.
The win gave Roberto Di Matteo his first piece of silverware as a manager in what could turn out to be a glorious double later this month as Chelsea face Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
Ramires gave Chelsea the early lead when he raced past Jose Enrique before smashing the ball past Reina at his near post.
The goal came after a very cagey opening, but Liverpool knew they would have to respond to this setback. But Liverpool struggled to make any headway as lone striker Luis Suarez was being left isolated up front.
Craig Bellamy had an effort well blocked by Branislav Ivanovic and Suarez headed over from a Jordan Henderson knock down, but Liverpool were not troubling Chelsea.
Chelsea doubled their lead early in the second half when Frank Lampard found Drogba just inside the Liverpool area, and the striker rattled a shot through Martin Skrtel’s legs and just inside the far post with Reina beaten.
It was Drogba’s eighth goal in as many Wembley appearances.
As reported on ESPN Soccernet, Drogba told ITV: “Liverpool are a difficult team to play. Today we achieved a great result because, after losing the game against Newcastle, it was very difficult for us.”
Dalglish sent on Carroll to change Liverpool’s fortunes, and he made an immediate impact when he smashed a shot into the roof of Cech’s net after turning John Terry inside out.
Liverpool was suddenly galvanized by this goal as Chelsea looked to be cruising to an easy FA Cup victory.
Carroll then set-up Henderson, but his drilled half-volley went wide of the target.
Liverpool was convinced they had equalised nine minutes from time when Carroll’s headed effort was clawed out and onto the bar by Cech, but the officials ruled that the ball had not crossed the line.
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“I thought it was over the line. I thought it hit the other side of the bar. We were unlucky. We had a few chances but we couldn’t put them away. It wasn’t to be,” said Carroll as reported on ESPN Soccernet.
Chelsea held on for the win but Liverpool pushed them all the way and the game will probably be remembered for another moment of goal-line controversy.
Jamie McLaughlin is based in Scotland and also writes for www.anfieldnews.com. He has twice played at Hampden Park.