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Monday, June 1, 2009

Chelsea rallies past Everton in F.A. final

LONDON (AP) Chelsea recovered after conceding the fastest goal in F.A. Cup final history, beating Everton 2-1 on Saturday to win the trophy a fifth time.

News photo
Winning it all: Chelsea's Didier Drogba (left) battles for the ball with Everton's Joleon Lescott and Tim Cahill during their F.A. Cup final on Saturday in London. Chelsea won 2-1. AP PHOTO

Louis Saha put Everton ahead after 25 seconds at Wembley, but Didier Drogba answered in the 21st minute and Frank Lampard delivered the winner with 18 minutes left when American goalkeeper Tim Howard's view was blocked by players in front of him.

"We were very tough and the team has showed after a setback they react always, which is what I like," Hiddink said.

The record goal came after a header by Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel wasn't cleared and Marouane Fellaini headed to Saha just inside the penalty area. The France striker turned and smashed a shot past goalkeeper Petr Cech.

He beat the previous quickest goal in a Wembley final by 18 seconds and was five seconds quicker than the winner Bob Chatt scored for Aston Villa in the 1895 F.A. Cup final, which was played at Crystal Palace in south London.

The goal gave Everton hope of a first trophy since the 1995 F.A. Cup.

But Florent Malouda collected Lampard's looping pass out of a crowd and sent in a curling cross that Drogba headed into the back of the net.

It was Drogba's second F.A. Cup final — he scored the extra-time winner in Chelsea's 2007 victory over Manchester United.

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