Final score - after penalties - 59'
0 - 0
English FA Cup
14:00 +00:00, May 21, 2005
Millennium Stadium, Wales
Referee: R Styles
Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties
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Arsenal have a trophy; United have nothing.
Ronaldo cries like a girl and has to be consoled by Smith. Senderos hugs his friends and smiles; Fabregas can't really control his glee.
Scholes looks rueful; he was the only player to miss in ten penalties. Ferguson chats to Keane; there's a lot of fury in that conversation.
United have been robbed. They dominated from whistle to whistle and will leave with nothing. Ferguson isn't happy. He scowls, mutters something undescribeable under his breath and puts his hands to his hips.
UNITED 4-5 ARSENAL: Vieira wins the cup for Arsenal. Carroll gets his fingers to the shot, but it's too powerful.
UNITED 4-4 ARSENAL: Keane keeps his head and places past Lehmann. He doesn't seem very happy.
UNITED 3-4 ARSENAL: Arsenal must have been practising. Cole slams his shot high in to the net. He celebrates by pumping his fists in an aggitated fashion.
UNITED 3-3 ARSENAL: Rooney, all ears and neck and freckles, batters his penalty in to the roof of the net.
UNITED 2-3 ARSENAL: Van Persie slams a left-foot shot in to the top corner. Forget Lauren's effort; this was better. Out of this world.
UNITED 2-2 ARSENAL: Ronaldo trotts gently to the ball, and curls a right-foot shot in to the bottom corner.
UNITED 1-2 ARSENAL: Ljungberg casually places his shot down the middle as Carroll dived. He looks relieved, as well he might.
UNITED 1-1 ARSENAL: Lehmann sensationally saves from Scholes, the little ginger hermit.
UNITED 1-1 ARSENAL: Lauren smashes his effort in to the top corner. Quite simply, the best penalty I've ever seen.
UNITED 1-0 ARSENAL: Van Nistelrooy batters his penalty to Lehmann's right. Great effort.
United will go first in the shoot-out. Lehmann seems to be in some sort of trance as he walks to the goal.
Ferguson tries to persuade Giggs to take a spot-kick. He doesn't look to be having too much success; Giggs looks on the verge of tears.
United should have had this game wrapped up inside 90 minutes, and also inside 120. But they didn't and now we have penalties. I love this crazy game.
Ferguson and Wenger rally their troops and try to decide who'll take their penalties. There doesn't seem to be too many players rushing up to their managers, volunteering their services.
FULL-TIME: Penalties! Penalties! Penalties! Penalties! Penalties! Penalties!
OFF! Reyes is sent off for a second bookable offence after clattering Ronaldo on the half-way line. Needless, senseless, but a lot of fun.
The tension inside the stadium is quite incredible. The atmosphere is thick and heavy, quite a lot like yoghurt.
...Keane taps the ball to Scholes, but his shot is straight at the Arsenal wall. There will be two added minutes.
United win yet another free-kick in a dangerous position...
Vieira, angered by a challenge on Reyes, flies in to Rooney from behind, giving away a free-kick on the half-way line. Any semblence of order has evaporated in the last few minutes.
Ronaldo wins a free-kick, just outside the Arsenal area. Giggs curls the ball in, but Senderos rises highest to flick a header clear.
Tim Howard is warming up on the sidelines, suggesting that he might be brought on as a penalty-saving specialist. Interesting move.
Everyone loves penalties.
The free-kick eventually drops to Ljungberg on the edge of the area, but he slices his shot horribly.
Rooney is obviously displeased after being adjudged to have fouled Cole. He throws some toilet language in the directin of the referee.
There's a bit of a scuffle after Fortune fouls Ljungberg. Referee Styles tries to sort things out, but so many players get involved, it's difficult to see what's going on. I'm as confused as you.
...He curls it in to a crowded box, but Keane clears the danger. Brown then thwarts Van Persie, who is looking dangerous.
Scholes floors Reyes with a dreadfully-timed tackle as the Arsenal player spun in midfield. The United man is booked, and he has no complaints. Van Persie stands over the free-kick...
Senderos defends Rooney's knock-down very well, under pressure from Van Nistelrooy. Van Persie teases Fortune and wins a throw, deep in United territory.
Oooh! For the umpteenth time, Ronaldo beats Lauren down the left and sends over a dangerous cross. No United player can turn the ball home.
Reyes clatters Silvestre, prompting a little set-to. Reyes earns a little chat with the referee, through which he smiles happily.
Arsenal build up slowly and keep the ball very well. They win a free-kick when Ljungberg goes down under a Ronaldo tackle.
Oooh! A mistake lets in Giggs through the middle, but Lehmann flies out of the area to clear the danger. The Arsenal keeper did exceptionally well to prevent Giggs getting in on goal.
I imagine someone, somewhere is saying: "This has been a great advert for English football."
Arsenal kick off, but waste possession. Giggs breaks down the left, fires over a low cross but Van Nistelrooy can't flick the ball goalwards.
Wenger is furious on the sidelines, complaining that United players had been taking on water during the short interval. Get over it.
HALF-TIME, EXTRA-TIME: Arsenal were slightly better in that first period, though United had a couple of great chances. Who knows what's going to happen now? Not me.
Reyes is floored by Scholes. He holds his calf as if machine-gunned by a hidden mercenary. After receiving a comforting word from the Arsenal physio, he gets to his feet, wincing.
SUB: Pires off, Edu on. This could be Edu's last-ever Arsenal appearance; he might be leaving in the summer.
Another penalty shout when Giggs attempts to cross and the ball hits Toure's forearm. It would have been very tough on the crazy little Arsenal defender.
Oooh! Van Nistelrooy heads over the bar from six yards out after being found by Scholes' cross. He really should have scored - or at least hit the target. It was a great chance.
Oooh! Scholes forces a great save from Lehmann when he spins and fires a shot goalwards from eight yards out.
Rooney wins a corner when he finds some space at the back post and hits a low shot off Cole. Arsenal clear through Vieira.
Great ball from Keane to Giggs, who squirms free of Lauren. He curls a cross towards Van Nistelrooy, but the ball spits up and hits Cole. There are a few half-hearted penalty appeals.
Giggs is in space down the left, but Van Nistelrooy's pass towards him is too strong and goes out of play.
Rooney's face is very red. He looks like an angry fox as he hunts down the ball on the half-way line.
United defend the corner well, but Arsenal win possession back. They have started extra time with a lot more composure.
Oooh! Van Persie strikes it left-footed, Carroll palms the shot away from the top corner and around the post. Corner.
Arsenal enjoy a spell of possession, which results in a free-kick in a dangerous position when Van Persie is fouled by Silvestre. Pires and Van Persie stand over the ball...
Giggs fires a low cross towards Van Nistelrooy, though Senderos is alert to the danger and intercepts. The young Swiss defender has had a good game.
The United fans are by far the loudest at present. They sing a song claiming theirs is "by far the greatest team the world has ever seen". With Quinton Fortune at left-back? Really?
Van Persie is up front on his own for Arsenal, though Ljungberg and Reyes are trying to support him.
A great touch from Rooney as he almost gets past Cole, though the left-back is quick to get back and win a goal-kick.
Giggs has started on the left wing, with Ronaldo moving over to torment Cole on the right. He's immediately in the action, winning a throw from Lauren. Don't get excited: it comes to nothing.
United kick off the first period of extra-time. If there are no goals, we'll have penalties - for the first time in the history of the competition. Stay here, readers.
SUB: Giggs on for Fletcher. Another attacking change from Ferguson as he goes for the throat.
The United players look enthusiastic and ready for extra-time. Arsenal, by contrast, seem deflated and tired as they lie on the grass.
FULL-TIME: There will be 30 extra minutes in Cardiff after neither side could break the deadlock. United were completely dominant in the second half.
...Lehmann comes, flaps, misses the cross, but United can't take advantage as the ball is hooked back in to the middle.
Ronaldo is brought down by Vieira as he makes another dash down the right. Fortune stands over the free-kick...
United are still defending with plenty men behind the ball, and Arsenal just can't play their way through.
There will be three minutes of added time. Ronaldo robs Lauren. He lays the ball in to the path of Rooney, who cracks a shot narrowly over the bar.
Arsenal are trying to finish the game with a bit of composure, knocking the ball about midfield and keeping possession away from United.
Rooney is fouled in the centre-circle, but United can't make good use of the set-piece. It looks like extra-time.
Rooney wins a corner off Cole, but Arsenal clear Scholes' centre. The Gunners are under immense pressure as full time approaches...
SUB: Fabregas off, Van Persie on. Wenger has made an attacking change, but his side are really on the back foot at the moment.
Oooh! Another corner is swung in to the middle. Lehmann elects to stay on his line, Van Nistelrooy takes advantage and plants a header towards teh top corner. Incredibly, Ljungberg manages to head the shot on to the bar. Great defending.
Oooh! The ball eventually finds its way to Keane, unmarked, six yards out. He drives a low shot towards the goal, but his effort is blocked.
Ronaldo again tries to take it past Lauren down the United right. He pushes the ball ahead of him and wins a corner when his low cross is deflected wide...
Arsenal still haven't had a shot on target. If I'm being honest, they've been awful this afternoon. This 4-3-3 formation doesn't suit them. It doesn't take a genius to work that out.
Rooney is another United man still full of beans. He is playing on the right of United's three-man attack, and cutting inside to support when he can.
Ronaldo is tormenting Lauren and causing some real nervous moments for Arsenal. He's United's biggest threat as the game enters the final stages.
Ronaldo and Fletcher stand over the ball. Lehmann's eyes are wide and attentive as he rocks gently from heel to heel on his goal-line. Ronaldo takes the free-kick...and smashes his shot well over the bar. Dreadful.
Gilberto fouls Rooney 25 yards out. It's another dangerous position for United...
England team-mates Rooney and Cole battle once more out on the United right. The Arsenal player wins a free-kick when Rooney barges him from behind.
SUB: O'Shea off, Fortune on. O'Shea has been struggling for a few minutes now, and Fortune will slot in to the left-back position.
Reyes is booked for a late, needless challenge on Brown. He looks unrepentant and quite angry. Angry like a wasp.
Another dazzling Ronaldo run takes Lauren out of the game. He cuts in to the area, but his pass to Scholes is too short and Arsenal break up the attack.
A nice Arsenal move sees Ljungberg sprint in to the box. His cut-back is meant for Pires, but it hits Keane and Carroll collects at his near post.
O'Shea takes a little breather on the turf after going down in a challenge. The physio whispers gently in his ear and in moments, he's back on his feet.
Rooney cracks a low shot goalwards, but Lehmann is behind it comfortably. He struck the shot with immense power though the keeper held it well.
Ronaldo throws himself to the floor as he tries to go past Toure. Amazingly, he wins the free-kick. Toure looks confused.
Gilberto falls inside the United penalty area, but there's no chance of a foul. Arsenal have been slightly better since Ljungberg came on.
Fletcher earns a talking-to for leaving his foot high in a challenge with Cole. No booking, but the young Scot walks away from the referee very sheepishly.
United are still defending with commitment and numbers, making it very hard for Arsenal to pass their way through the middle.
United are really flying at the moment; they are all over Arsenal. Ronaldo and Rooney are running the game and Arsenal can't get any decent possession.
Oooh! Great play from Keane sets Ronaldo free down the left. He fires a low cross in to the middle, and an Nistelrooy is inches from sliding it home.
Oooh! Rooney hits the post with an audacious effort from a tight angle, fooling Lehmann by firing in a low shot when a cross looked more likely.
SUB: Ljungberg on, Bergkamp off. A tactical change from Arsenal, with Reyes going up front on his own. Bergkamp suffered in the role he was asked to play this afternoon.
Oooh! Bergkamp curls the free-kick in to a crowded box. A clearing header falls to Pires ten yards out, but he smashes his volley over the bar.
Reyes is fouled by O'Shea, a few yards outside the United area. Arsenal send both centre-backs forward...
Oooh! Ronaldo curls the free-kick a foot or so over the bar, with Lehmann diving full-stretch. Great effort from the youngster.
The pace has picked up considerably in this second half; it's become very open. Arsenal flood forward but Reyes loses the ball in the area, before Lauren is booked for another foul on Ronaldo.
Keane scuffs a shot from outside the area after more United pressure. A few moments later, Ronaldo finds Rooney on the right; his cross is hooked over the bar by Van Nistelrooy.
Arsenal seem to be thinking about a change; Van Persie is going through some lengthy warm-up exercises on the sideline.
Vieira catches Brown on the United right. Brown lofts the ball in to the area, but Lehmann comes out and collects. He has looked in good form; very authoritive and determined.
Cole completely mis-hits his cross when in a good position on the left wing. A few ironic cheers from the crowd.
Pires is again fouled by Brown, but this time it's in the Arsenal half. The French winger shrugs his shoulders at the United defender, and throws him a look that says: "Oooh la la."
Bergkamp fires in the set-piece, curling the ball in towards the far post, but United clear. Lauren is then spoken to by the refereee after another strong challenge.
Pires wins a free-kick as he is brought down by Brown on the left of the United area. A dangerous position...
Finally there's a bit of passion as Ronaldo and Lauren clash following a strong challenge on the touchline. Nothing too serious.
Rooney nicks the ball away from Cole, sprints in to the area but is robbed at the crucial moment. Arsenal look a little desperate at the start of this second half.
Oooh! Ronaldo fires a low, right-foot shot narrowly wide of Lehmann's far post. The goalkeeper looked to have the shot covered.
Oooh! Keane makes a good late run in to the box. He cuts the ball to the near post, where Toure and Rooney slide in. Corner.
Brown fires a low cross towards Van Nistelrooy, but the United striker can't control the ball on the edge of the area.
United have begun the second half well and are enjoying a lot of the ball inside the Arsenal half.
Inexplicably, Ferdinand breaks down the left wing and in to the Arsenal area, though his low cut-back is cleared.
Great play from Rooney as he cuts in from the right and fires a left-foot shot goalwards. Senderos throws himself at the ball and blocks, though he concedes a corner.
Wenger has taken off his tie. He looks a lot more relaxed now.
Ronaldo almost intercepts a loose pass from Toure, across the back line towards Lauren. Scholes then fouls the full-back.
A nice Arsenal break is ended when Pires' pass to Cole is intercepted by Brown on the edge of the area.
Arsenal kick off the second half. There have been no substitutions in the break.
The players stroll back out on to the pitch. United are out first, and they look perky. Arsenal seem a little less energetic.
HALF-TIME: Stalemate at the break. Ferdinand had a goal disallowed for off-side and, in this reporter's humble opinion, United have been slightly on top.
Rooney takes the set-piece, but curls his right-foot shot high over the bar.
Senderos fouls Rooney, 25 yards out, slightly right-of-centre.
There will be a single added minute of stoppage time. Referee Styles has officiated this game very well so far; he's allowed the play to flow and hasn't been too quick with his cards.
The camera picks out Henry in the stand. He looks angry and concerned. Perhaps he left the iron on back at home.
The ball is worked to Van Nistelrooy on the edge of the area. He holds off Senderos, turns, but his left-foot shot is weak and straight at Lehmann.
Silvestre fires a good ball out to Van Nistelrooy, who had made a run out to the right channel. Cole is quick to close down the United striker.
It's been an interesting tactical battle in the first half, and I think United have come out on top. Arsenal aren't used to playing this 4-3-3 formation, and it's not working so far.
A long ball from Lauren is comfortably and confidently headed back to Carroll by Ferdinand.
Again the ball is worked to Ronaldo on the left, but his right-foot cross is over-hit and it runs out of play. Goal kick.
United are still defending in great numbers, which is something we don't see too often. But it's working, Arsenal have created nothing.
The game certainly hasn't been played at the same pace or intensity as the Premiership clashes earlier in the season, and there is no sign of any 'bad blood'.
Scholes is starting to become a big influence on the game; a couple of attempted through-balls to Van Nistelrooy have been intercepted at the last moment by an increasingly flustered Arsenal defence.
Scholes drifts the corner in from the United right, but Lehmann does well to come through a crowd of players to claim the cross.
O'Shea finds Ronaldo with a great ball out to the left wing. He clips a cross to the near post, Lehmann collects low down but carries the ball out of play.
Arsenal are having plenty of the ball in the midfield, but are giving the ball away too often to put any real pressure on United.
Rooney flicks the ball past Toure on the edge of the area and throws himself to the ground, sensing he couldn't reach the ball. He's told, in no uncertain terms, to stop being such a girl.
Keane seems to have shaken off his earlier injury; he is scampering around the pitch like a terrier chasing a stick on the local park.
United have really tested Arsenal in the last couple of minutes, but the London club have emerged unscathed.
Oooh! Scholes lofts the corner to Rooney, lurking on the edge of the area. The youngster strikes a stunning first-time volley that whistles a couple of yards over the bar.
Oooh! Van Nistelrooy shows great strength as he holds off Cole down the United right. He cuts the ball back to Rooney, who smashes a shot high towards goal. Lehmann turns the ball over the bar at full stretch.
The United players took the disallowed goal very well. There were few complaints, even though it was a very tight decision.
Oooh! The corner is taken short, and worked to Rooney on the edge of the area. His low shot is well saved by Lehmann's legs, but Ferdinand tucks away the rebound. His celebrations are cut short by the linesman's flag. He was off-side.
United win a corner after another pacey break from Ronaldo.
Lauren fires across a low centre; Reyes attempts to back-heel to a team-mate, but United clear. There were so many black shirts back defending that Arsenal found it difficult to find any space.
Three United players warm up behind the goal as Keane continues to struggle. He looks on the verge of tears. Either that, or he has an uncontrolable rage.
Arsenal seem content to knock the ball about the back for a minute. There isn't a lot of urgency at the moment.
Keane is still suffering. He grimaces as he jogs up field, holding his stomach. Maybe he ate a dodgy prawn sandwich.
Reyes fires the free-kick towards goal, but his shot skips a few yards wide of Carroll's near post. Not a very good effort from the young Spaniard.
Silvestre is then booked for a tackle from behind on Bergkamp. It's hotting up a little now. Keane seems to be suffering from an abdominal injury. He shuns treatment, because he's tough.
Another superb touch from Bergkamp puts Reyes in a little space, but Brown and Ferdinand defend well.
Ronaldo takes the ball at pace down te United left. He cuts inside and passes to Fletcher, but his shot is blocked on the edge of the area.
Arsenal break after some nice play from Bergkamp in his own half. Seven United players flood back to swamp Gilberto as he took the ball in to the United half.
Cole is in strongly on Brown, but he gets the ball. Pires then trips Rooney, who collapses to the floor as if suffering from a mild case of ricketts.
The free-kick is flighted in to the penalty area, and Toure is forced to head behind. The first corner of the match, but it's poor from Scholes. He jogs off with a furrowed brow.
Booking for Cole after he clatters Rooney. The Arsenal man did catch the young striker late, but there was no malice in it; he got sucked in by Rooney.
Silvestre is down holding his face after a challenge in the air with Bergkamp. The physio administers some sympathy and the United man is soon on his feet. He looks rueful.
Vieira wins the ball from Van Nistelrooy, who then fouls the French midfielder as he attempts to win the ball back.
Scholes fouls Bergkamp thirty five yards out. The Dutchman hits an ambitious shot, but he fires it straight at the United wall. They didn't flinch. Tough guys.
Pires does very well to skip past Brown down the left. He cuts the ball back to Bergkamp but Ferdinand is quick to snuff out any danger.
Scholes nutmegs Fabregas and fires a through-ball towards Van Nistelrooy, but it's over-hit and Lehmann collects.
Bergkamp is playing in an orthodox centre-forward role, attempting to play on the shoulder of the last defender and bring team-mates in to play. It's quite an unfamiliar role for the Dutchman, who is usually much deeper.
Senderos is looking very composed on the ball, despite being put under a lot of pressure by Rooney and Van Nistelrooy.
Reyes drifts out to the right wing, cuts inside, but his left-foot shot is blocked on the edge of the area. The pace of the game is picking up after a slow start.
Oooh! A superb ball from Senderos finds Reyes down the middle. Carroll makes an enormous blunder in flying out to try and intercept; Reyes takes the ball round him, picks out Pires on the opposite side of the penalty area, but United get players back to block.
United are defending in numbers; they are often lining up with all eleven players behind the ball. Arsenal are having plenty possession, but can do nothing with it.
Oooh! Ronaldo immediately does as he is told. He beats Lauren on the left wing, fires a great cross in to the middle, but Scholes plants his header over the bar. Great chance.
Keane launches in to an early tirade at Ronaldo; I think he was tellig the youngster to give United more width.
Cole gets away down the left, but his cross is too deep for Bergkamp, who was the only Arsenal player in the penalty area.
We're still waiting for the first crunching challenge. It's all a little tame at the moment. I'm sure it won't stay that way.
Ronaldo is caught inches off-side when he is found by a through-ball from Scholes. Close decision, but the linesman got it correct.
Rooney clips a cross in towards Silvestre, who had gone forward for the free-kick. Good work by Lauren prevents an early corner, and Arsenal break at pace.
Fletcher hoists a ball forward and Senderos puts the ball out of play. Vieira commits the first foul of the match when he catches Rooney out on the right touchline.
Both sides seem to be starting with a 4-3-3 formation, but they are very flexible systems. United start well and are knocking the ball about with confidence.
We're off. United, playing in their black away strip, begin this showpiece final.
Ferguson and Wenger look a little nervous on the sidelines. Ferguson looks to have had a cup final haircut. It looks very neat and trim.
There is a wonderful atmosphere, as you might expect. Keane and Vieira shake hands for a second time as they toss the coin in the centre circle. Keane is playing in a record seventh final.
The players shake each other's hands. Vieira and Keane don't look at each other as they do so. The Arsenal players look very grumpy.
It's raining quite heavily in Cardiff, though the roof is kept open. Prince Michael's sports jacket is getting wet, though I'm sure he's got another one.
Prince Michael of Kent goes down the line of players, shaking each one's hand. He sports a wonderful white beard, and looks a little like a university professor.
The national anthem is sung beautifully by a nice-looking lady in a brown dress. She hits the high notes with a swagger.
The Royal guest is Prince Michael of Kent, for those who give a hoot. He looks slightly bored.
Keane looks very determined in the tunnel, though there is no repeat of the Highbury bust-up earlier in the season.
Team news: Major ommisions from both managers, with Ferguson leaving out Giggs, and Wenger preferring Senderos to Campbell.
Welcome to our coverage of the FA Cup final. It should be a cracker.