2006 FA Cup Final
Match programme cover
|Event||2005–06 FA Cup|
|Liverpool won 3–1 on penalties|
|Date||13 May 2006|
|Venue||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Man of the Match||Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)|
|Referee||Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)|
The 2006 FA Cup Final was a football match between Liverpool and West Ham United on 13 May 2006 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. It was the final match of the 2005–06 FA Cup, the 125th season of the world's oldest football knockout competition, the FA Cup. Liverpool were participating in their thirteenth final, they had previously won six and lost six. West Ham were appearing in their fifth final, they had previously won three and lost once. This was the last final to be held at the Millennium Stadium, while Wembley Stadium was rebuilt. Liverpool had won the first final to be held at the Millennium stadium in 2001, when they beat Arsenal 2–1.
As both teams were in the highest tier of English football, the Premier League, they entered the competition in the third round. Matches up to the semi-final were contested on a one-off basis, with a replay taking place if the match ended in a draw. Liverpool's matches varied from close affairs to comfortable victories. They beat Manchester United 1–0 in the fourth round, while they beat Birmingham City 7–0 in the sixth round. The majority of West Ham's matches were close. Their only match to be decided by more than one goal was their 4–2 victory against Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round.
Watched by a crowd of 71,140, West Ham took the lead in the first half when Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher scored an own goal. Striker Dean Ashton scored a few minutes later to make it 2–0 to West Ham. Liverpool scored one goal before half-time, courtesy of Djibril Cissé to make the score 2–1 at half-time. Liverpool equalised not long after the restart via a Steven Gerrard goal. However, ten minutes West Ham defender Paul Konchesky scored to give them a 3–2 lead. With the match in injury time, Gerrard scored again to make the score 3–3 and force the game into extra-time. The match remained goalless throughout the entirety of extra-time and was to be decided by a penalty shootout. West Ham missed three of their four penalties, while Liverpool converted three of four to win the shootout 3–1.
Victory meant Liverpool won the FA Cup for the seventh time. They later played against league champions Chelsea in the 2006 FA Community Shield. Given Liverpool had already qualified for Europe via their league position, their UEFA Cup spot was awarded to runners-up West Ham. The match has been called The Gerrard Final and is widely regarded as one of the greatest cup finals in the history of the competition.
Route to the final
|3rd||Luton Town (a)||5–3|
|5th||Manchester United (h)||1–0|
|6th||Birmingham City (a)||7–0|
Liverpool entered the competition in the third round, as one of the twenty teams from the Premier League. They were drawn against Football League Championship side Luton Town. The tie was held at Luton's home ground Kenilworth Road. Despite losing 3–1, four goals in the second half, including one from behind the halfway line by Xabi Alonso, meant Liverpool recovered to win the match 5–3 and progress to the fourth round. Liverpool were drawn against Porstmouth in the fourth round, who were also in the Premier League. The match held at Portsmouth's ground, Fratton Park, saw Liverpool take the lead in the first half when captain Steven Gerrard scored a penalty following a handball by Portsmouth defender Dejan Stefanović. John Arne Riise scored again before half-time to make it 2–0. Portsmouth scored through midfielder Sean Davis in the second half, but could not score a second goal and Liverpool won 2–1 to go through to the fifth round.
Fellow Premier League team Manchester United were the opposition in the fifth round. With the match held at Liverpool's home ground Anfield, Liverpool won the match 1–0, courtesy of a Peter Crouch goal in the 19th minute. This was the first time in 85 years that Liverpool had defeated United in the FA Cup. Liverpool were drawn against another Premier League team, Birmingham City in the sixth round. Liverpool took the lead in the match held at Birmingham's home ground St Andrew's in the first minute when defender Sami Hyypiä scored. Two more goals in the first half from Crouch saw Liverpool finish the first half with a 3–0 lead. Four more goals in the second half from Fernando Morientes, Riise, Djibril Cissé and an own goal from Birmingham defender Olivier Tébily meant Liverpool won 7–0 to progress to the semi-final.
Chelsea, also of the Premier League were the opposition in the semi-final. The match was held at a neutral venue Old Trafford, the home ground of Manchester United. Liverpool took the lead in the first half. Chelsea defender John Terry committed a foul on Luis García, which resulted in a Liverpool free-kick, which Riise scored from. The first half finished 1–0 to Liverpool and they extended their lead soon after the start of the second half. A goal from García from 20 yards (18 m), after he received the ball from a William Gallas header, gave them a 2–0 lead. Chelsea scored late in the half, courtesy of a goal from striker Didier Drogba, but they were unable to score an equaliser and Liverpool won the match 2–1 to progress to the final.
West Ham United
|3rd||Norwich City (a)||2–1|
|4th||Blackburn Rovers (h)||4–2|
|5th||Bolton Wanderers (a)||1–0|
|Bolton Wanderers (h)||2–1 (aet)|
|6th||Manchester City (a)||2–1|
West Ham entered the competition in the third round, where they were drawn against Championship team Norwich City. Before the game Norwich's top scorer, Dean Ashton, was withdrawn from their squad amid speculation that he was about to be sold. Although the sale was denied by manager Nigel Worthington, Ashton joined their rivals for the third round tie, West Ham, soon after for £7.2m. The match played at Norwich's home ground, Carrow Road saw West Ham take the lead in the 6th minute when Hayden Mullins scored. West Ham extended their lead in the second half, courtesy of a goal from striker Bobby Zamora. Norwich did score through a Paul McVeigh penalty, but they lost 2–1 and West Ham progressed to the fourth round. Fellow Premier League team Blackburn Rovers were the opposition in the fourth round. West Ham went a goal down in the first minute when David Bentley scored, but they subsequently scored four goals from Teddy Sheringham, Matthew Etherington, Bobby Zamora and an own goal from Zurab Khizanishvili to Blackburn's one, to win the match 4–2 and go through to the fifth round.
West Ham were again drawn against Premier League opposition in the fifth round, facing Bolton Wanderers. The match at Bolton's home ground the Reebok Stadium ended in a 0–0 draw, necessitating a replay. A Jussi Jääskeläinen own goal in the 10th minute gave West Ham in the replay at their home ground Upton Park. Bolton equalised through striker Kevin Davies and with the score 1–1 at full time the match went to extra time. A goal from striker Marlon Harewood in the 96th minute gave West Ham a 2–1 victory and meant they progressed to the sixth round. Premier League team Manchester City were the opposition in the sixth round. West Ham went ahead in the 41st minute when striker Dean Ashton scored. They extended their lead, in the match held at City's ground, the City of Manchester Stadium, in the 69th minute when Ashton scored again. A goal from Kiki Musampa in the 85th minute for City, was not enough to prevent West Ham and they won 2–1 to go through to the semi-final.
Middlesbrough, also from the Premier League, were the opposition in the semi final. The match was held at the neutral venue of Villa Park. Before the game both players and supporters paused to remember the life of West Ham's recently deceased former manager, John Lyall. The first half saw Middlesbrough dominate, but they were unable to convert any of their chances into goals. They also lost goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to injury. Middlesbrough were made to pay of missing their chances late in the second half, when Harewood scored. A long pass by defender Anton Ferdinand was headed down by Ashton to Harewood, whose goal ensured a 1–0 victory for West Ham and a place in the final.
The match was Liverpool thirteenth appearance in the final. They had won on six occasions (1965, 1974, 1986, 1989, 1992, 2001) and lost six times (1914, 1950, 1971, 1977, 1988, 1996). West Ham were appearing in their fifth final, they had previously won three (1964, 1975, 1980) and lost once in the 1923 FA Cup Final. Liverpool had won both the meetings between the teams in the Premier League during the season. A 2–0 victory at the end of October, was followed by a 2–1 win at the end of April. The latter match saw Liverpool midfielder Luis García and West Ham defender Hayden Mullins sent off, which meant they would both be suspended for the final.
A week before the final, Liverpool played Portsmouth in the 2005–06 Premier League — it was their last match before the final, which they won 3–1. The win was Liverpool's ninth straight in the competition and meant they finished the season in third place. One area of concern was the fitness of midfielder Xabi Alonso, who injured his ankle in the match and was a doubt for the final. They were also without striker Robbie Fowler, who was cup-tied after playing for Manchester City earlier in the competition. Captain Steven Gerrard was determined not to let complacency affect Liverpool; "We have beaten fantastic sides like Manchester United and Chelsea to get to the final, but it is always on your mind that after going on such a successful run you might not get over that last hurdle."
West Ham's final game before the final was against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. A 2–1 win meant they finished the season in ninth place. West Ham also had injury concerns ahead of the final, with midfielder Matthew Etherington and striker Dean Ashton both doubts to be fit for the match. However, manager Alan Pardew was optimistic they would be available for selection stating: "You expect everyone to put their life on the line for the final." Pardew was also optimistic about his teams chances in the final, despite them being considered as the underdogs: We're up against a technical team who are better than us, Liverpool have got more experience and more international players, too. But everyone also knows that we attack teams and that we've got a big punch."
The match was originally scheduled to be played on 20 May. However, England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson wanted a four-week break before the start of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, so that if any England players were involved (Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Peter Crouch all later made his squad) would get a decent rest before the tournament. The final was scheduled to be held at Wembley Stadium, however the stadium had fallen behind in its rebuild and would be completed in time for the final. The final would instead be played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where it had been held since 2001. Mike Dean was originally appointed to referee the final, but questions about his impartiality were raised as he resided close to Liverpool. He was replaced by Alan Wiley.
In the week before the Final, a block of 1,600 tickets in the Liverpool supporters' seating area was stolen in the postal system. The stadium authorities refused to reissue the tickets on crowd safety grounds, and threatened to eject anyone found sitting in the block from the stadium and possibly prosecute them for receiving stolen goods. Liverpool F.C. arranged for most of the affected fans to receive tickets from an allocation that had been held back for a lottery among their supporters. The day after the final, South Wales Police seized 100 stolen tickets. Three people were arrested after 15 forged tickets were found ahead of the match.
Michael Ball sang the National anthem on the pitch before the game with Lesley Garrett singing the traditional cup final hymn, "Abide with Me". Before the match, both teams received a boost as Ashton and Etherington for West Ham and Alonso for Liverpool were deemed to fit enough to start the final.
West Ham kicked the match off, as both teams lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. West Ham committed the first foul of the match in the first minute as Paul Konchesky brought down Steven Gerrard. However, Liverpool were unable to capitalise from the resulting free-kick. A few minutes later West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun advanced down the right hand side of the pitch and passed the ball into the penalty area, but Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia was able to intercept the ball before Ashton or Harewood received it. Harewood had the first shot on goal for West Ham in the 12th minute, but his shot was deflected out for a corner.
Liverpool's first opportunity came in the 13th minute, after West Ham midfielder Carl Fletcher conceded a free-kick for a foul on Gerrard. However, the resulting free-kick was hit into the wall of players in from the of the West Ham penalty area. A few minutes later West Ham would score the first goal of the match. Striker Ashton advanced with the ball after Liverpool midfielder Alonso gave the ball away. Ashton passed to Lionel Scaloni who passed the ball into the Liverpool penalty area, which was put into his own goal by Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher to give West Ham a 1–0 lead. Seven minutes later West Ham had extended their lead. A shot by Etherington was not held by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina and the ball fell to Ashton, who scored to make it 2–0. Liverpool looked to have reduced the defect in the 30th minute, however Peter Crouch's shot from a Gerrard free-kick was disallowed, as Crouch was offside.
However, from their next attack Liverpool did score. Gerrard played a ball into the West ham penalty area, which went over the head of defender Scaloni and was met by striker Djibril Cisse, who scored to make it 2–1. Ashton came close to extending West Ham's lead in the 37th minute, but his effort went wide of the Liverpool after beating goalkeeper Reina. The last chance of the half came in the 44th minute when Liverpool defender Steve Finnan sliced a clearance straight to striker Harewood, however his shot went out for a throw-in.
Liverpool got the second half underway, but it was West Ham who had the first attack of the half. Etherington advanced down the right hand side of the pitch and passed to Harewood, his shot was saved by Reina, who also saved a subsequent shot from Benayoun. Liverpool had a chance immediately afterwards as Cissé passed to Alonso, but his shot was blocked an went out for a corner. A minute later Liverpool made the first substitution of the match, as the injured Harry Kewell was replaced by Fernando Morientes. In the 54th minute Liverpool made the score 2–2 after Gerrard volleyed a pass from Crouch into the West Ham goal. The first yellow card of the match went to Ashton after he fouled Finnan in the 60th minute. Three minutes later Carragher also received a yellow card for a foul on Ashton.
A minute later West Ham went ahead again. Defender Paul Konchesky received the ball on the left hand of the pitch, he played a ball into the Liverpool penalty area, which went over goalkeeper Reina and into the goal to make the score 3–2. Three minutes later, Liverpool made another substitution, as injured midfielder Alonso was replaced by defender Jan Kromkamp. Minutes later West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker had an attempt on goal, but his shot went over the Liverpool goal. West Ham subsequently made their first substitution of the match, as Ashton was replaced by Bobby Zamora. Liverpool also replaced Crouch with midfielder Dietmar Hamann.
West Ham made their second substitution of the match in the 77th minute, as they replaced Fletcher with Christian Dailly. They also changed formation to a 4-5-1 in an attempt to consolidate their lead. Morientes headed a Cissé wide in the last ten minutes as Liverpool looked to score an equaliser. West Ham made their final substitution of the match in the 85th minute, as striker Teddy Sheringham replaced Etherington. Sheringham's first involvement in the match was to concede a free-kick for handball, which was subsequently put wide by Gerrard. With the match entering injury time, Liverpool played the ball into the West Ham penalty area, it was cleared but fell to Gerrard 35 yards (32 m) from goal, his subsequent shot beat goalkeeper Shaka Hislop in the West Ham goal and levelled the score at 3–3. West Ham had another chance before full time, but Konchesky's shot was saved by Reina. With the scores level at 3–3, the match went into extra time after the referee brought an end to the 90 minutes of play.
Liverpool got the first half of extra time underway, the start was slow as players suffered with cramp, in particular Carragher. In the 97th minute Liverpool won a corner, the subsequent corner was cleared by West Ham, but the ball fell to Liverpool defender John Arne Riise, whose shot went over the crossbar. Liverpool won another corner in the 99th minute, the corner was cleared by the West Ham, but the ball came back into the penalty area and Morientes headed down for Cissé, but he was unable to control the ball. Before the end of the half, Hyypiä had a chance to score after running past Scaloni and Harewood, but his shot went wide of the West Ham goal.
Just after the start of the second half of extra time, Liverpool had the first chance. Kromkamp advanced down the right hand side of the pitch, but his shot went wide of the West Ham goal. West Ham won a corner in the 109th minute, but it came to nothing as Zamora was penalised for a foul on goalkeeper Reina. Players continued to struggle with cramp as Gerrard, Mohamed Sissoko, Finnan and Harewood all went down in quick succession. West Ham won a free kick in the 114th minute, after Zamora was tripped by Hyypiä. However, the subsequent free-kick from Benayoun was cleared and almost resulted in a chance for Liverpool, before Morientes was tackled by Anton Ferdinand 6 yards (5.5 m) from the West Ham goal. In the 118th minute, Hamann was booked for a foul on Zamora, the subsequent free-kick was met by Reo-Coker, whose shot was turned onto the post by Reina. The ball rebounded to Harewood, but his shot went wide of the goal. Neither team scored before the end of extra time, and the referee brought the match an end with the score level, resulting in a penalty shootout.
The shootout was to take place at the end where the West Ham fans were seated, with Liverpool taking the first penalty. Hamann stepped up first and scored high to the right of Hislop. Zamora took the first penalty for West Ham, but his shot was saved by Reina. Hyypiä took the next penalty for Liverpool, but he also missed, as Hislop saved his shot. Substitute Sheringham took West Ham's next penalty and scored, his shot beating Reina hight to his left to level the shootout at 1–1. Liverpool captain Gerrard took their next penalty and scored to make it 2–1. Konchesky was next for West Ham, but his shot was saved by Reina. Riise took the next penalty for Liverpool and scored to extend their lead to 3–1. Ferdinand was next and needed to score to keep West Ham in the shootout, but his penalty was saved by Reina, which meant Liverpool won the shootout 3–1 to win the FA Cup for the seventh time.
13 May 2006
|Liverpool||3–3 (a.e.t.)||West Ham United|
Gerrard 54', 90+1'
|(Report)||Carragher 21' (o.g.)
Man of the match
|Shots on target||5||8|
Liverpool's victory meant they won the FA Cup for the seventh time, the club's manager Rafael Benítez stated that neither side deserved to lose the match; ""It was difficult to say we deserved to win or the other team. It was a magnificent final. We knew that they could score goals but that we could also. We needed to keep going but after 63 games it was really difficult." Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard also praised West Ham stating: "West Ham were brilliant, they gave us a really good game but we had a never-say-die attitude and we stuck in there, our best chance was on penalties as we did not have any energy left."  Due to the nature of the comeback, the match has come to be regarded as The Gerrard Final, team mate Peter Crouch summed up the effect Gerrard had on the match: “When the injury-time board went up we thought our chance had gone, but it is always good to have a player like Steven Gerrard in your team.”
West Ham manager Alan Pardew described the defeat as hard to take: "It felt like a defeat when the third goal went in. We rallied and had a great chance in extra time. We had to dig in. This was a top team we were playing, but I felt we were going to win. Only a 35-yard Gerrard smasher was going to change that. The players have been magnificent - we are proud of the way we played." Captain Nigel Reo-Coker found defeat hard to take as he felt they had done enough to win the final: "I can't describe it how I feel at the moment - gutted because I think we deserved to win this game. The players put in a fantastic effort, but it just wasn't to be for us. It was a marvellous FA Cup final and we gave all we could. I hope everyone was proud - it just wasn't our day."
Liverpool's victory set up a Community Shield match against Chelsea, winners of the 2005–06 Premier League. The FA Cup winners are awarded qualification into the UEFA Cup, but because Liverpool qualified for the UEFA Champions League via their league position, the UEFA Cup place was passed to runners-up, West Ham.
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