2012 FA Cup Final
Match programme cover
|Event||2011–12 FA Cup|
|Date||5 May 2012|
|Venue||Wembley Stadium, London|
|Man of the Match||Juan Mata (Chelsea)|
|Referee||Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)|
9 °C (48 °F)
The 2012 FA Cup Final was the 131st final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest domestic football cup competition, and was contested between Chelsea and Liverpool on 5 May 2012. It was the first FA Cup Final to be sponsored by Budweiser. The date of the 2012 final, as with the 2011 final, clashed with Premier League fixtures. While the date of the 2011 final was affected by the Champions League Final, the 2012 fixture was scheduled in order to provide a clear four-week period between the end of the English season and the start of UEFA Euro 2012. In order to avoid having league games take place simultaneously with the final, the match kicked off at the later time of 5:15 p.m., rather than the usual 3:00 p.m., by which time the other fixtures had ended.
Chelsea won the final 2–1, claiming their fourth FA Cup title in six years. Ramires put Chelsea in front in the 11th minute, and Didier Drogba doubled their lead just after the break. Liverpool halved the deficit in the 64th minute through Andy Carroll, but Chelsea held on to secure the FA Cup for the seventh time.
In the United Kingdom, the final was televised live in HD on ITV1 and also on ESPN. A peak of 11.2 million saw the climax of the game on ITV1 with 8.9 million viewers on average watching the live match coverage. It was the highest-rating final since the 2007 final. ESPN had 397,000 viewers for its coverage of the final.
Route to the final
|4th||Queens Park Rangers (a)||0–1|
|5th||Birmingham City (h)||1–1|
|Birmingham City (a)||0–2|
|6th||Leicester City (h)||5–2|
|SF||Tottenham Hotspur (n)||1–5|
As a Premier League team, Chelsea entered the competition in the third round, where they were drawn at home to Portsmouth. After a goalless first half Juan Mata struck early in the second, before Ramires hit two in two minutes and Frank Lampard scored in stoppage time to give Chelsea a 4–0 win. Chelsea then travelled to face local rivals Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in the fourth round, where a controversial Mata penalty was enough to see them through.
Chelsea were drawn to play at home against Birmingham City in the fifth round, with Birmingham dominating the first half through a David Murphy goal. Daniel Sturridge scored in the second half to force a replay, which was played on 6 March at Birmingham, just two days after André Villas-Boas was relieved of his duties as Chelsea manager. Birmingham held Chelsea throughout the first half, and looked the stronger side at times, but after Mata and Raul Meireles scored twice in five minutes, Chelsea dominated the remainder of the game until the final whistle. In the sixth round, Chelsea overcame Leicester City at home in a 5–2 thriller. Gary Cahill scored his first FA Cup goal for Chelsea from a corner in the 12th minute, with Salomon Kalou following up five minutes later. In the second half, Fernando Torres ended a goal drought of over 25 hours to score, before Jermaine Beckford gave Leicester a late lifeline. Torres scored again in the 85th minute to put the result beyond doubt, although Ben Marshall grabbed one back three minutes later, before Meireles scored in the 90th minute to send Chelsea through to the semi-final.
In the semi-final, Chelsea faced local rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. The first half was dogged, with both sides enjoying long spells of possession, until Didier Drogba put Chelsea ahead just before the break. The second half began with immediate controversy, as referee Martin Atkinson awarded Juan Mata a goal that did not cross the line. Gareth Bale put Tottenham back in it with a goal shortly after a Petr Čech challenge on Emmanuel Adebayor. Despite the goal, Tottenham never took control of the game and Ramires scored in the 77th minute, followed minutes later by a Frank Lampard free kick, and a Florent Malouda strike in the fourth minute of added time. This booked Chelsea's place in their first FA Cup Final since 2010, in which they beat Portsmouth.
|3rd||Oldham Athletic (h)||5–1|
|4th||Manchester United (h)||2–1|
|5th||Brighton & Hove Albion (h)||6–1|
|6th||Stoke City (h)||2–1|
Liverpool – also a Premier League team – entered the competition in the third round too. Their opening match was a 5–1 home win against Oldham Athletic. Robbie Simpson opened the scoring for Oldham in the 28th minute, but Craig Bellamy equalised just two minutes later, with Steven Gerrard scoring a penalty to give Liverpool the lead. Jonjo Shelvey scored his first goal for the club in the second half, before Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing scored in injury time to ensure progression to the fourth round.
For the fourth round, Liverpool were drawn against Manchester United at their home ground, Anfield. Manchester United entered the fourth round after defeating local rivals and FA Cup holders Manchester City, the match was described as "arguably the biggest match of the season" for the two clubs at the time. The match took place in the wake of the racial abuse row between Luis Suárez and Patrice Evra, for which Suárez was serving an eight-match ban. Daniel Agger opened the scoring with a header from a corner, before Park Ji-Sung equalised for United before half-time. With the match approaching full-time, Dirk Kuyt scored in the 88th minute to give Liverpool a 2–1 victory and secured their place in the fifth round. Their opponents were Brighton & Hove Albion, whom Liverpool beat 6–1 at Anfield, courtesy of goals from Martin Škrtel, Carroll and Suárez, as well as three own goals.
Liverpool faced Stoke City in the sixth round at Anfield. Suárez scored in the 23rd minute to give Liverpool the lead, before former player Peter Crouch equalised three minutes later. Downing scored in the second-half to secure a 2–1 for the club and ensure their place in the semi-finals. Local rivals Everton were the opponents in the semi-final, held at Wembley Stadium. Nikica Jelavić scored in the 24th minute after a Liverpool defensive error, to give Everton a 1–0 lead. Liverpool equalised in the second half when Suárez scored after a back-pass from Everton defender Sylvain Distin. The match looked to be heading towards extra time, before Carroll headed in a Craig Bellamy free kick in the 87th minute to give Liverpool a 2–1 victory and secure their place in the final for the first time since 2006, when they defeated West Ham United.
Liverpool were appearing in the final for the fourteenth time. They had won the FA Cup seven times previously (in 1965, 1974, 1986, 1989, 1992, 2001 and 2006), and had been beaten in the final six times (in 1914, 1950, 1971, 1977, 1988 and 1996). Chelsea were appearing in the final for the eleventh time. They had won the FA Cup six times previously (in 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009 and 2010), and had been beaten in the final four times (in 1915, 1967, 1994 and 2002).
Liverpool and Chelsea had previously met nine times in the FA Cup, including two semi-finals (most recently in 2006), although they had never met in the final before. Chelsea had the upper hand in those nine meetings, winning five times to Liverpool's four; however, Liverpool won both semi-finals between the two clubs, both on neutral grounds. The only domestic cup final to feature both teams was the 2005 League Cup final, which Chelsea won 3–2 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
As Liverpool and Chelsea had been due to play one another in the Premier League at Anfield on 5 May 2012, the same day as the final, the FA announced that the league game would be postponed until Tuesday 8 May, meaning that the two sides will play each other twice in four days. This was the second consecutive year that the FA Cup final has featured two teams scheduled to play each other in the league on the same weekend as the final, after Manchester City's meeting with Stoke City in 2011.
In addition to the later kick-off time, travelling supporters from Liverpool faced major difficulties getting to and from the final after Virgin Trains cancelled the majority of its direct services between Liverpool Lime Street Station and London Euston with maintenance work taking place over the May Day bank holiday weekend.
Each of the two teams was allocated 25,074 tickets for the final, which is 7,000 fewer than they received for the semi-finals. 17,000 tickets went to Club Wembley members, who are effectively season ticket holders at Wembley Stadium, while the remainder went to the grassroots football community.
Chelsea dominated possession early on and Ramires put them in front in the 11th minute, brushing off the challenge of Liverpool left back José Enrique to shoot right footed into the near post past Pepe Reina who got a hand to the ball but had incorrectly anticipated a shot across his goal. Liverpool's only serious effort on goal came from a volley by Craig Bellamy which was blocked by the Chelsea defence. Didier Drogba doubled Chelsea's lead in the 52nd minute, shooting low left footed through the legs of Martin Škrtel and past the dive of Reina and into the corner of the net. Liverpool immediately brought Andy Carroll on for Jay Spearing and halved the deficit in the 64th minute through Carroll who shot left footed high into the net after some footwork. Carroll's 81st-minute header from a Luis Suárez cross was then palmed by Petr Čech onto the underside of the bar and away to safety. Carroll ran away celebrating his second goal, but the referee after consulting with his assistant referee Andrew Garratt did not award the goal. Replays later appeared to indicate that the whole of the ball had not crossed the line. Liverpool continued to dominate possession in the latter stages, but Chelsea held on to secure the FA Cup for the seventh time and fourth in six years. Didier Drogba became the first player to score in four FA Cup Finals.
5 May 2012
Man of the match
|Shots on target||6||10|
Source: BBC Sport
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