Chelsea won the Double for the first time in their history with a 1-0 victory in the FA Cup Final against Portsmouth at Wembley. Didier Drogba’s pinpoint free-kick midway through the second half proved divisive in an extraordinary match.
Carlo Ancelotti stuck with the same starting eleven that beat Liverpool and Wigan with such ease in the last two league games of the season. That meant only a place on the bench for Joe Cole.
Frank Lampard was the first to threaten David James’ goal with an instinctive volley that whistled past the post after only three minutes. Lampard went even closer ten minutes later but saw his swerving 30-yard effort strike the outside of the post. Anelka then brought a first save of the afternoon out of James with a decent low effort. Chelsea were truly dominant at this stage and Drogba was the next to be thwarted, this time by a magnificent block from the sliding Aaron Mokoena.
Portsmouth offered little going forward but created the best chance of the afternoon midway through the opening period. Dindane’s cross was met on the volley by Kevin-Prince Boateng. The ball flew in the direction of Frederic Piquionne but from barely a foot away he failed to divert the ball into the net, instead drawing an excellent save from Petr Cech.
If that miss was bad, the one Salomon Kalou suffered minutes later was atrocious. Ashley Cole did well on the left side to beat his man and roll the ball across the goal, leaving the Ivorian with a simple tap-in. However he succeeded only in shinning the ball onto the crossbar, much to the horror of the massed Chelsea ranks behind the goal.
John Terry was the next to hit the woodwork, looping a header onto the bar from a deep Florent Malouda free-kick. Drogba was the next to suffer from only hitting the frame of the goal, managing to hit both the post and the bar before half time. A vicious free-kick was superbly tipped onto the bar by James before not quite crossing the line, then a toe poke slipped under James but only struck the base of the post. It was the fifth time in the first half that the Blues hit wood.
Pompey began the second half well, seemingly buoyed by the fortune they had earlier enjoyed and backed by a noisy contingent from the south coast. Aruna Dindane burst into the box only to be felled by substitute Juliano Belletti. The Brazilian, who had replaced the injured Michael Ballack in the first half, looked as though he would end his Chelsea career on a low note after the clumsy challenge. Cech came to his and Chelsea’s rescue, though, saving Boateng’s weak penalty with his feet.
Chelsea punished Pompey’s profligacy three minutes later when Drogba curled home a precise free-kick, ironically hitting the post but this time ending up in the back of the net. Kalou almost doubled the lead but fired wide after good work from Ivanovic, while Drogba might have added to his sensational scoring record at Wembley but found James in good form again. Pompey only really threatened when a couple of decent crossed from substitute Belhadj nearly wreaked havoc in the Blues backline in the final ten minutes.
Chelsea found just enough time to waste a penalty of their own, Lampard winning it and missing it in the 88th minute. It summed up an extraordinary day which might have finished 7-2 to Chelsea or indeed 2-0 to Portsmouth. As it was, just the one goal was enough to ensure Chelsea won the Double for the first time in their history and win an eight major title in five glorious years.