Chelsea recovered from conceding the quickest goal in the 128-year history of the FA Cup final to overcome Everton 2-1, strikes from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard earning a fifth success for the London club.
The final has not seen a major upset since 1995, when Everton beat Manchester United 1-0 to claim their last piece of silverware, but the possibility of an upset improved greatly when Louis Saha scored after just 25 seconds at Wembley. Chelsea, under Guus Hiddink for the last time before he returns to his role as Russia coach, battled back, though, and claimed the trophy for the second time in three years with a goal in either half.
The Merseysiders’ made the perfect start when Steven Pienaar’s cross was half-cleared by John Mikel Obi, Marouane Fellaini headed back into the danger area and Saha drove the loose ball inside the near post. However, Chelsea cleared their heads quickly with Lampard’s chipped pass releasing Florent Malouda in space and his cross was powerfully headed into the bottom corner by Drogba as the Ivorian rose above Joleon Lescott after 21 minutes.
After the interval, Nicolas Anelka lobbed just wide while Saha should have registered again with a close-range header before Chelsea, unbeaten in 22 matches against Everton before the showpiece, completed the turnaround as Lampard turned deftly and thumped in from 20 metres on 70 minutes. Malouda struck the bar from distance late on but the Stamford Bridge outfit had done enough by then.
“We showed a lot of character after conceding so early and basically dominated the game,” said Lampard, before paying tribute to the departing manager. “Guus has been amazing – a great manager and a great man. It’s a great send off for him and he completely deserves it.” The Dutchman added: “I enjoyed working with these big names and they showed in the league, Champions League and today a lot of character. This is one of my biggest achievements.”