Chelsea have won England's FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over Everton at Wembley.
|Chelsea can again call themselves champions [AFP]
Midfielder Frank Lampard capped a dominant display with a stunning second half goal to win Chelsea's first piece of silverware since 2007.
Lampard's goal on 72 minutes put his side ahead after Didier Drogba had equalised in the first half after Louis Saha's stunner opener for Everton after just 25 seconds.
After two previous goalless draws this season in the English Premier League, a tight encounter had been forecast, but a frantic start to the game saw the fastest ever goal in FA Cup final history from Everton's Saha to put the Toffees straight in the driving seat.
The former Manchester United striker smashed home a left foot drive after Marouane Felliani had teed him up with a header.
However, Chelsea quickly regained their composure and equalised through Drogba on 21 minutes after the Ivorian striker headed home after a cross from Florent Malouda.
The London team continued to dominate proceedings for the rest of the game and it seemed a winning goal was only a matter of time away.
The crucial goal arrived on 72 minutes after Lampard showed a cool head under pressure to beat Tim Howard from distance.
The brilliant Malouda was unlucky not to be awarded a third as his stunning 35-yard strike hit the underside of the bar and crossed the line but the linesman disagreed.
In the end that didn't matter though as Chelsea comfortably saw the game out to give Guus Hiddink the perfect send-off and to leave David Moyes still looking for his first trophy as a Manager.
|Everton couldn't believe their start [AFP]
Everton kicked off and immediately went on the attack. The ball came to a possibly offside Stephen Pienaar on the left side, whose cross was weakly headed away by John Obi Mikel. Marouane Fellaini nodded the ball down to an on-rushing Louis Saha who caught the ball beautifully with his left-foot and powered the ball past Cech to make it 1-0 with just 25 seconds on the clock.
Chelsea immediately threw men forward and came close a few times from Michael Essien and Frank Lampard.
Chelsea's pressure eventually paid off after 21 minutes when Florent Malouda found himself on the left of the Everton penalty area with too much time and space. He measured a perfect cross for Didier Drogba to head into the bottom right-hand corner of the Everton net past a motionless Tim Howard.
That was Drogba's fifth goal in five domestic finals for Chelsea and his fourth in four appearances at Wembley.
Chelsea continued to enjoy the lion's share of the possession after equalising, and Malouda soon found himself all alone on the left-wing again. He decided to go alone this time but his attempt was blocked.
Malouda ran Everton's Tony Hibbert absolutely ragged for the entirety of the first-half so there was no surprise to see Lars Jacobsen come on for him after the interval.
The Chelsea midfield started the second half as they finished the first, in control. Slick passing continually put pressure on the Everton defence in the early stages and it nearly paid off.
The ever-comfortable Lampard played an inch-perfect pass over the Everton defence, and English Premier League top-goalscorer Nicolas Anelka ran onto it and attempted a deft lob over Tim Howard, but the Frenchman put slightly too much power on the shot and it just cleared the crossbar.
The near-miss seemed to give Everton the impetus to find a goal of their own.
A slip by John Terry gave Tim Cahill a long-range effort, but the Australian shot straight at Petr Cech.
Still Everton continued to push. Chelsea's first substitute Michael Ballack, who replaced Michael Essien, gave away a free kick which was played to Leighton Baines out on the left and from his cross Louis Saha flashed a header just over.
Again the tide turned and this time the team pushing made it count.
|Chelsea's Frank Lampard salutes the heavens after scoring [AFP]
On 72 minutes, Michael Ballack collected the ball in midfield to find Nicolas Anelka and the slick passing continued to find Frank Lampard. Lampard attempted to round, Everton’s captain, Phil Neville and it doing so cut the ball back, slightly slipped and then smashed the ball home from 25 yards beyond the outstretched arms of Tim Howard.
There was no holding Chelsea back from this point onwards.
Everton's defence yet again went missing and Chelsea again passed the ball around with all the freedom of the Wembley pitch. Frank Lampard found himself in another shooting opportunity but chose to slip the ball through to the ever-present Florent Malouda, who blazed the ball over after being one-on-one with Tim Howard.
Yet again Chelsea drove forward.
Minutes later Malouda once again found himself without an Everton defender closing him down, but this time in the centre of the pitch. He continued to drive forward, with Everton defenders backing off, inviting him to shoot. And shoot he did. Malouda let fly from 35 yards and the ball cracked against the underside of the bar and bounced down across the line with Tim Howard, again, soundly beaten.
In an attempt to find an extra-time forcing equaliser Everton threw on 19-year-old Dan Gosling, who scored the extra-time winner against Liverpool in the fourth-round, but him and his Everton teammates were helpless as Chelsea comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to win their fifth FA Cup.
Interestingly, Ashley Cole today also claimed his fifth FA Cup winner’s medal, after winning three with Arsenal and now two with Chelsea. No-one has managed that in over 100 years.
Guus has gone
The Chelsea players hailed departing Manager Guus Hiddink as the main reason by this latest success.
"We went 1-0 down within a minute or so but showed a lot of character to come back. After getting the first we dominated the game and I'm just pleased to get the goal that wins the game. Guus has been amazing and he's a great man, we've loved working with him and he deserves this victory," said Frank Lampard.
About Hiddink, Drogba added, "If you don't have discipline and friendship in the team you can’t win anything. Guus gives us that."
David Moyes, rightly so, didn’t seem too disheartened from his team’s performance today. "I look back with a lot of pleasure in getting the team to the final. Chelsea were the better team on the day, I can't argue with that. Lampard is a big player who scored big goals and that's what he's done today. Our team has made progress year on year and we'll try to keep that going."