Match Reports

FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium

default V default   1:0

United's Double hopes were crushed by Didier Drogba's extra-time winner for Chelsea in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley.

Given the strong defensive records of the rivals - they conceded just 51 goals between them in 76 league games - it was hardly surprising this showpiece almost went to penalties. But an edgy, sometimes dry, affair was instead settled with just four minutes remaining when Drogba lifted the ball over Edwin van der Sar to claim the trophy.

Van der Sar had, to that point, been brilliantly protected by a defence comprising Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the centre, Wes Brown on the right and Gabriel Heinze at left-back. Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick anchored the midfield, with Darren Fletcher pushed out onto the right. That left Cristiano Ronaldo to attack Paulo Ferreira on the left flank, with Ryan Giggs playing alongside Wayne Rooney up front.

defaultPerhaps the only surprises in Chelsea's starting XI came with the inclusion of diminutive winger Shaun Wright-Philips and bustling midfielder John Obi Mikel. Mikel, in particular, was thought to stand little chance of taking the pitch after picking up an injury against Everton on the final day of the Premiership season. 

With captain Gary Neville still absent, the Reds were proudly led onto the new Wembley's sun-kissed pitch by Giggs - the only player who also started the previous FA Cup final between United and Chelsea in 1994.

United supporters were in strong voice even during the predictable pre-match pomp and soon found more to cheer about when Giggs won an early corner in the fourth minute. Chelsea cleared easily but it was an early indication of United's attacking spirit.
Scholes and Fletcher combined well in the ninth minute, although Scholes' eventual shot trickled tamely wide. Chelsea's Joe Cole was then lucky to escape a booking for a two-footed lunge on Brown that could have seriously...