Chelsea's FA Cup final talisman Didier Drogba was the match-winner once more as they overcame Liverpool to lift the trophy at Wembley.
Drogba's goal early in the second half - his fourth in this Wembley showpiece - proved decisive as the remarkable turnaround in Chelsea's fortunes under interim manager Roberto di Matteo was rewarded with silverware.
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina was badly at fault as Ramires scored at the near post after 11 minutes and Chelsea looked in cruise control when Drogba continued his love affair with the FA Cup final and Wembley with an angled finish.
The introduction of substitute Andy Carroll sparked Liverpool into life and he pulled a goal back just after the hour - and thought he had equalised as Kenny Dalglish's side laid siege to Chelsea's goal in the closing stages.
"Once Liverpool got it back to 2-1 it was certainly a different game, Chelsea deserved it, for over an hour they were the better team the problem for Liverpool was the fact they had to get those two goals in the last 30 minutes, they gave it everything but it was not enough in a game that lasts 90 minutes."
He met Luis Suarez's cross at the far post, only for Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to show brilliant reflexes to deflect his header on to the bar. Carroll turned away to lead Liverpool's insistent protests that the ball had crossed the line but referee Phil Dowd and assistant referee Andrew Garratt waved play on, with even a succession of replays proving inconclusive.
Chelsea survived and can now turn their attentions to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Germany on 19 May as they face an increasingly arduous task to finish in the Premier League's top four.
As Di Matteo celebrated and captain John Terry raised the trophy for the fourth time, the Italian increased his claims to become the permanent successor to Andre Villas-Boas by landing a trophy.
For Liverpool, their season will now be regarded as a relative disappointment after failure to add the FA Cup to the Carling Cup and not mounting a challenge to reach the Champions League places.
The final started with £85m worth of striking talent on the bench as Carroll was a Liverpool substitute and Chelsea's Fernando Torres missed out on a starting place against his former club.
The Reds were on the back foot early on when a catalogue of defensive errors led to Ramires giving Chelsea the lead. Jay Spearing conceded possession in midfield and Ramires escaped Jose Enrique far too easily before scoring at the near post with a shot Reina should have saved.
Chelsea were coping comfortably as Liverpool left Suarez too isolated. Steven Gerrard was also being forced to drop too deep to offer support to the beleaguered Spearing and Jordan Henderson rather than add attacking potency alongside the Uruguayan.
Liverpool did have one moment of danger in the first half when Chelsea failed to clear Glen Johnson's cross and Branislav Ivanovic blocked Craig Bellamy's goalbound shot.
Chelsea doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart, with the second coming from their most reliable source of Wembley goals. Frank Lampard escaped Spearing with ease and fed Drogba inside the area, who controlled before sending an angled left-foot finish across Reina.
Ashley Cole's Magnificent Seven FA Cup triumphs
2012: Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool
2010: Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
2009: Chelsea 2-1 Everton
2007: Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd
2005: Arsenal 0-0 Man Utd (Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)
2003: Arsenal 1-0Southampton
2002: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea
Liverpool introduced Carroll for Spearing and were rewarded after 64 minutes when he put them back in contention. Stewart Downing blocked Jose Bosingwa's attempted clearance, which fell into the path of Carroll. He turned John Terry superbly before firing high past Cech.
At last Liverpool had impetus and were getting the dangerous Suarez into threatening positions, allowing him to force Cech to save low to his right with an effort from the edge of the area.
Carroll thought he had equalised with his header against the bar with eight minutes left. Liverpool claimed the ball had cross the line and Chelsea were grateful for a miraculous intervention from Cech to turn his effort on to the woodwork.
He was then denied by a magnificent tackle from captain Terry as Liverpool continued to press - but Chelsea survived as the memories of the nightmare under Villas-Boas faded even further into the background.
- 01 Cech
- 02 Ivanovic
- 03 Cole
- 17 Bosingwa
- 26 Terry
- 07 Ramires (Meireles - 76' )
- 08 Lampard
- 12 Mikel Booked
- 10 Mata (Malouda - 90' )
- 11 Drogba
- 21 Kalou
- 22 Turnbull
- 19 Ferreira
- 05 Essien
- 15 Malouda
- 16 Meireles
- 09 Torres
- 23 Sturridge
- 25 Reina
- 02 Johnson
- 03 Jose Enrique
- 05 Agger Booked
- 37 Skrtel
- 08 Gerrard
- 14 Henderson
- 19 Downing
- 20 Spearing (Carroll - 55' )
- 07 Suarez Booked
- 39 Bellamy (Kuyt - 78' )
- 32 Doni
- 23 Carragher
- 34 Kelly
- 11 Maxi
- 33 Shelvey
- 09 Carroll
- 18 Kuyt
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +4:56
Salomon Kalou takes a shot. Blocked by Martin Skrtel.90:00 +3:54
Steven Gerrard concedes a free kick for a foul on Didier Drogba. Frank Lampard produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, Jose Reina makes a save.90:00 +1:51
Martin Skrtel sends in a cross, Daniel Agger takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.90:00 +1:13
Andy Carroll takes a shot. Blocked by John Terry.90:00 +0:19
Dirk Kuyt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ashley Cole. Petr Cech takes the free kick.89:45 Substitution
Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Florent Malouda coming on for Juan Mata.89:12
Glen Johnson takes a shot. Juan Mata gets a block in.89:01
Stewart Downing decides to take the corner short.88:18
Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing to the near post, John Terry makes a clearance.87:43
Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by John Terry.86:35
Salomon Kalou concedes a free kick for a foul on Andy Carroll. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Steven Gerrard.86:18
Martin Skrtel takes a shot. Branislav Ivanovic gets a block in.85:50
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing, clearance made by John Terry.85:42
Sanchez Jose Enrique delivers the ball, Jose Bosingwa manages to make a clearance.85:34
The ball is swung over by Steven Gerrard, clearance made by Jose Bosingwa.81:52 Booking
Booking Luis Suarez is cautioned.81:22
Andy Carroll takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a fantastic save.80:17
Jordan Henderson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.79:23
The ball is sent over by Jordan Henderson, John Terry makes a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Didier Drogba on Sanchez Jose Enrique. Steven Gerrard takes the direct free kick.76:32
Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.76:32 Substitution
Substitution Dirk Kuyt comes on in place of Craig Bellamy.76:32
The assistant referee signals for offside against Luis Suarez.75:41 Substitution
Substitution Raul Meireles comes on in place of Ramires.75:24
The ball is swung over by Glen Johnson, Header from deep inside the area by Andy Carroll goes over the bar.74:58
The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, Ashley Cole manages to make a clearance.74:52
The ball is swung over by Steven Gerrard, clearance made by Branislav Ivanovic.73:58
Sanchez Jose Enrique sends in a cross, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Andy Carroll misses to the right of the target.73:42
The ball is swung over by Stewart Downing, clearance made by Branislav Ivanovic.72:54
Sanchez Jose Enrique crosses the ball, Headed effort on goal by Daniel Agger from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the goal.72:39
Steven Gerrard decides to take a short corner.72:27
Luis Suarez takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.71:21
Jordan Henderson produces a cross.70:24
Luis Suarez is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.69:36
A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.69:33
Steven Gerrard sends in a cross.68:07
Branislav Ivanovic fouled by Stewart Downing, the ref awards a free kick. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.67:37
Craig Bellamy produces a cross, save made by Petr Cech.66:17
Shot from outside the area by Glen Johnson misses to the left of the target.66:13
Stewart Downing sends in a cross, clearance made by Branislav Ivanovic.65:58
The ball is delivered by Craig Bellamy, clearance made by John Terry.65:07
Effort from outside the penalty area by Jordan Henderson goes wide left of the goal.64:39
The referee blows for offside against Juan Mata. Jose Reina takes the free kick.63:37
Stewart Downing provided the assist for the goal.63:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Andy Carroll - Chelsea 2 - 1 Liverpool Andy Carroll gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box high into the middle of the goal. Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool.63:06
Didier Drogba produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the left-hand post.61:11
Luis Suarez concedes a free kick for a foul on Didier Drogba. Frank Lampard has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.59:37
Stewart Downing produces a cross.58:52
Effort from the edge of the box by Salomon Kalou goes wide of the right-hand upright.58:34
The ball is swung over by Steven Gerrard, Branislav Ivanovic makes a clearance.57:47
Glen Johnson sends in a cross, clearance by Branislav Ivanovic.57:37
The ball is crossed by Sanchez Jose Enrique.55:24
Juan Mata takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.54:14
Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.54:14 Substitution
Substitution Andy Carroll on for Jay Spearing.54:14
The referee gives a free kick against Didier Drogba for handball.53:42
Luis Suarez takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.53:07
Juan Mata crosses the ball, save by Jose Reina.51:30
The assist for the goal came from Frank Lampard.51:30 Goal scored
Goal! - Didier Drogba - Chelsea 2 - 0 Liverpool Didier Drogba fires in a goal from inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool.51:02
The ball is swung over by Juan Mata, clearance by Daniel Agger.50:41
Stewart Downing produces a cross, Branislav Ivanovic manages to make a clearance.48:13
Frank Lampard takes the inswinging corner, John Terry produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.47:40
Foul by Glen Johnson on Didier Drogba, free kick awarded. Ashley Cole takes the direct free kick.46:47
Corner taken by Craig Bellamy from the right by-line played to the near post, Frank Lampard manages to make a clearance.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:00 +1:14 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.44:31
John Terry takes the free kick.44:31 Booking
Booking Caution for Daniel Agger.44:09
Free kick awarded for a foul by Daniel Agger on Mikel.42:55
The official flags Juan Mata offside. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.42:18
Foul by Sanchez Jose Enrique on Ramires, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.41:49
The ball is swung over by Stewart Downing, clearance made by John Terry.40:42
Luis Suarez has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.39:40
Craig Bellamy produces a cross, save by Petr Cech.39:30
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy from the right by-line, Branislav Ivanovic makes a clearance.38:54
Stewart Downing crosses the ball, clearance made by Ashley Cole.38:09
Didier Drogba takes a shot from 35 yards and went wide of the left-hand upright.36:57
Direct free kick taken by Daniel Agger.36:57 Booking
Booking The referee shows Mikel a yellow card.36:21
Mikel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Gerrard.35:42
The offside flag is raised against Martin Skrtel. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.34:48
Foul by Salomon Kalou on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick.33:07
Ashley Cole takes a shot. Blocked by Jordan Henderson.31:22
Sanchez Jose Enrique challenges Ramires unfairly and gives away a free kick. Juan Mata delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.28:27
Shot by Frank Lampard missed to the left of goal.25:39
Salomon Kalou has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.25:16
Daniel Agger produces a cross, save by Petr Cech.20:18
The assistant referee flags for offside against Craig Bellamy. Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.16:41
Stewart Downing crosses the ball, clearance made by John Terry.15:26
Ramires sends in a cross, save by Jose Reina.12:58
The ball is crossed by Glen Johnson, John Terry manages to make a clearance. Craig Bellamy takes a shot. Branislav Ivanovic gets a block in.10:17
Assist by Juan Mata.10:17 Goal scored
Goal! - Ramires - Chelsea 1 - 0 Liverpool Ramires finds the back of the net with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool.6:50
Salomon Kalou is caught offside. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.4:06
Foul by Didier Drogba on Steven Gerrard, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.0:28
Long range effort from Didier Drogba misses to the left of the goal.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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