Ramires capitalised on Liverpool's mistakes to put Chelsea in the lead after 11 minutes while an eighth goal in eight games from Didier Drogba (pictured) helped secure a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
AP - Chelsea needed a goal from Didier Drogba for the fourth time in an FA Cup final to survive a second-half Liverpool onslaught and win the trophy for the fourth time in six seasons with a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
After Ramires seized on Liverpool blunders to put Chelsea in front after 11 minutes, Drogba scored his eighth goal in eight games at Wembley in the 52nd minute of the 131st final of the competition.
Drogba slotted the ball through defender Martin Skrtel’s legs and into the net after being fed by Frank Lampard as a lethargic Liverpool posed little threat.
Liverpool substitute Andy Carroll breathed life back into the game when he pulled one back in the 64th after teasing his way around Chelsea captain John Terry.
But, two weeks before the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, Chelsea held on to keep the recovery on track since Roberto Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas as coach two months ago when the team was in free fall.
“Liverpool is a difficult team to play and we got a great result,” Drogba said.
It was a a cagey start to the final, but Chelsea was gifted an opener after a pair of mistakes by Liverpool.
Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing initially gave the ball away in midfield to Juan Mata, who set Ramires free to charge toward the Liverpool goal.
And Pepe Reina was beaten too easily at his near post by Ramires when a shot was deflected by the goalkeeper’s knee into his own net.
Liverpool pushed for an immediate response, but Branislav Ivanovic headed away Craig Bellamy’s shot from the edge of the area.
But it was a shoddy first-half performance from a Liverpool side posing little threat, a little over two months since winning the League Cup here.
The closest Chelsea came to a second was Drogba’s attempt to exploit Reina’s frailties again, with a shot from distance in the 39th.
Liverpool had a penalty appeal dismissed five minutes into the second half when Ivanovic blocked Gerrard.
But Chelsea went further in front when Spearing gave the ball away again and Lampard threaded it through to Drogba, who slotted into the net.
Lampard hit a free kick wide and Drogba lashed the ball into the side netting before Liverpool’s attempt at a comeback began.
Despite scoring the semifinal winner and being Liverpool’s most expensive player, Carroll was dropped in favor of Luis Suarez up front, but the isolated striker struggled to make an impact.
Carroll, though, netted after just 10 minutes on the pitch.
Stewart Downing’s tenacity down the left flank paid off, challenging
Boswinga before the ball fell to Carroll to lash it into the net.
Liverpool pressed for the equalizer, with Gerrard volleying over and Suarez forcing a low save from Cech.
Carroll thought he had netted an equalizer in the 82nd, but replays failed to show that all of the ball went over the line from the high header.
Date created : 2012-05-05