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Chelsea win FA Cup as Hiddink bids farewell

Reuters
May 31, 2009 at 12:56am IST

London: Chelsea gave departing coach Guus Hiddink the perfect leaving present when they came from behind to beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday .

Striker Louis Saha put Everton ahead after just 26 seconds -- the fastest goal ever scored in the FA Cup final. The previous fastest of 30 seconds was scored by Bob Chatt of Aston Villa in 1895.

Chelsea, playing under Hiddink for the last time before he returns to coaching Russia's national team, equalised after 20 minutes when Didier Drogba rose virtually unmarked to head past Tim Howard.

PARTING SHOT: Chelsea's coach Guus Hiddink celebrates with the trophy after the English FA Cup final.

Frank Lampard curled in the winner from outside the box in the 72nd minute of a match played in blistering heat. Hiddink said he was leaving Chelsea ''with some sadness,'' but that he was delighted to be leaving with the FA Cup secured.

''If we had not won the Cup on Saturday I would have left with the feeling, ok, we did well, but the job was not finished. It is almost the perfect goodbye present,'' he told reporters.

''I would have like to have been playing Manchester United in Rome the other day, but now it is easier to say goodbye having won the Cup.

''It is an emotional feeling,'' he said after talking to the players as a group for the last time. Lampard said, ''It was amazing. To be 1-0 down in one minute, we showed a lot of character. We basically dominated the game.

''The second half wasn't quite so good, but I was always felt like we could win the game so I'm pleased to get the goal to help us win it.''

Chelsea deserved the victory, which put England defender Ashley Cole in the record books as the first player since the 19th century to win five FA Cup winner's medals. He has won three with Arsenal and two with Chelsea.

Everton made the perfect start when Steven Pienaar's cross from the left was weakly headed out by Jon Obi Mikel straight to Marouane Fellaini, who nodded back for Saha to crash it past keeper Petr Cech.

The goal also took the Wembley FA Cup final scoring record away from Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo who had scored the fastest Wembley FA Cup final goal after 41 seconds in 1997.

Chelsea, trailing for the fourth time in an FA Cup match this season, then began to dominate.

The equaliser came when the superb Florent Malouda crossed for Drogba, who also scored in Chelsea's FA Cup final win in 2007, to head home.

With Lampard, Michael Essien, Mikel and Malouda keeping possession almost at will in midfield, Chelsea should have taken the lead just before halftime.

Cole broke in space down the left but smashed his shot wide from only six metres out with only Howard to beat.

Saha had a chance to put Everton ahead again almost from the same spot from where Drogba scored in the first half, but headed over the bar after 67 minutes. They paid heavily for that miss when Lampard scored at the other end five minutes later.

Lampard slipped in the process of switching the ball from right foot to left, but still managed to score his 20th goal of the season with a sweet, curling shot that Howard could only help into the net.

''It was a great goal from Lamps,'' said John Terry. ''He has been popping up with those all season.''

Chelsea went close to a third six minutes later when Malouda's ferocious 30-metre shot hit the bar, bounced downwards and was cleared from the line.

Everton, without a number of injured players, ran out of options as Chelsea won for the fifth time while Everton were left still seeking their first trophy since their 1995 FA Cup success.

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