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FA Cup Final - Everton 30th May 2009 2-1

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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What an amazing day, and a great way to end the season.


Lampard gives Hiddink the perfect farewell

Chelsea 2-1 Everton

By Alan McGuinness

As Guus Hiddink stood clasping the FA Cup on a sweltering May afternoon at Wembley he could reflect on a job very well done. When he took charge of Chelsea in February the club was in danger of going into free fall. But the Dutchman has ended his short tenure at the club in the best possible fashion, winning the club’s fifth FA Cup and their first trophy for two years.

Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard were the heroes on the day as the Blues recovered from an absolutely disastrous start.

Most inside Wembley had hardly got to their seats when - from Marouane Fellaini’s header - Louis Saha lashed the ball past Petr Cech after just 25 seconds to send the Everton fans into ecstasy. It is the fastest goal in FA Cup Final history.

Chelsea seemed unable to settle, with Alex in particular looking nervy. But as time wore on they composed themselves, and began to gain possession and exert some control over proceedings.

Tony Hibbert picked up the game’s first yellow card for taking down Florent Malouda. Lampard rather carelessly blasted the resulting free kick high over the bar.

Michael Essien followed suit a couple of minutes later, but then parity was restored and inevitably it was Drogba who got the goal. The Ivorian lost Joleon Lescott and headed the ball past Tim Howard from Malouda’s left wing cross. It kept up his extraordinary record of scoring in every domestic cup final he has appeared in.

The momentum had swung in Chelsea’s favour, and Ashley Cole could have added a second when he broke into the box, but wildly shot wide.

Hibbert was hauled of by David Moyes at half time and replaced by Lars Jacobsen after a less than sparkling first half performance. Malouda was a constant threat and the Scot seemed unable to stop the winger.

But the change had little effect - Hiddink’s side still looked in the ascendency. Malouda volleyed over and Saha had a rare chance for Everton, but he couldn’t find the target.

After an hour Nicolas Anelka attempted to lob Howard, but put too much into his effort and it went over the bar.

Shortly afterwards Hiddink made his first substitution, sending Michael Ballack on in place of the subdued Essien.

Having had little to do in the second half, Cech had to be alert to keep out a fizzing shot from Tim Cahill.

Saha then had a glorious chance to put his side back into the lead. Leighton Baines whipped a free kick into the box and Saha rose to head over the top, Chelsea breathed a sigh of relief.

That relief then turned to sheer joy as Lampard struck what turned out to be the winning goal.

Collecting Ballack’s pass, the England international turned Neville and hit a strike that found its way past Howard, despite the American stopper getting a hand to it.

One corner of Wembley erupted and Lampard ran to the corner flag and around it, a copy of his father’s celebration when he scored against Everton for West Ham in the semi final stage of this competition in 1980.

An Everton response never seemed likely after that hammer blow. Indeed, the deficit could and should have been greater when Malouda let fly from 35 yards out and struck the crossbar. The ball bounced down and over the line, but Howard Webb didn’t give it.

Not that it mattered. Chelsea played out time and secured a fully deserved cup triumph. Guus Hiddink will return to Russia with the warm words of both supporters and players ringing in his ears.

Many Chelsea fans would have been happy with a top four finish when he took the reigns in West London. He departs having left an indelible mark on a football club that faces another period of change and upheaval. But for now they can savour the return of the winning feeling they had grown so accustomed to experiencing under Jose Mourinho.

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cheers alan, ive really enjoyed reading these this year. well done, long may it continue, even when our a renowned sports writer. god knows we could do with someone in the media with a bias towards us... ::clap2::

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Thanks for the kind words guys, much appreciated.

PloKoon: I've just realised that given Malouda's current form I'm doing him a disservice. I'll have to think of something witty/funny to be put there instead.

Could take me a while ::clap2::

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First class stuff, Alan, concise and delivered in almost deadline-making time - something that Patrick Barclay seems to have given up on in his old age. His match reports now wreak of panic and he often ignores incidents at the end of the ninety minutes play (probably due to the fact that he can’t change his typewriter ribbon that quickly these days). Particularly like the closing paragraph and the all encompassing referral to past, present and future.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Once again very well written. Thank you for your reviews, I usually read and appreciate them.

As said, I would also wish to read something like that in newspapers,magazines and so on. Unfortunately all you get to read is bullsh*t written by people who are not really well informed. ;)

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