English FA Cup

April 22, 2006

Full-time

Chelsea

1 - 2

Liverpool

English FA Cup

16:15 +00:00, April 22, 2006

Old Trafford, England

Referee: G Poll

  • 95'

    Thanks for reading. I've had fun. I hope you have too. Great game. Come back tomorrow to see who Liverpool will meet in Cardiff - West Ham or Middlesbrough.

  • 95'

    Mourinho gives Lampard a consolodatory pat on the face; Carragher and Gerrard are delighted.

  • 95'

    The Liverpool fans are in raptures as their players go over to celebrate with them. Mourinho and Benitez come on to the pitch to congratulate their players.

  • 95'

    FULL-TIME: Liverpool are ecstatic as referee Poll blows for full-time. The Reds make it through to their 13th Cup final.

  • 95'

    UNBELIEVABLE MISS! OFF-SIDE ANYWAY! Joe Cole fires over the bar from six yards out. He is spared the rath of Mourinho by a late off-side flag.

  • 94'

    And another...

  • 94'

    Chelsea win a late, late corner...

  • 94'

    Two minutes to hold on for Liverpool. Chelsea are pushing and pushing, but they just can't work a shooting chance.

  • 93'

    ALMOST! Robben sneaks in at the back post; he just about reaches the ball before stabbing it across goal, but Terry has gone near post and the danger passes.

  • 93'

    A sloppy pass from Carragher piles the pressure back on Liverpool.

  • 92'

    Good determination from Morientes as he slides in on Makelele and puts the ball out for a throw, eating in to the remaining seconds.

  • 91'

    John Terry has been told to go up front and play as another centre-forward. As if Liverpool haven't got enough problems, with Gerrard and Sissoko still hobbling around in midfield.

  • 90'

    There will be FIVE additional minutes of stoppage time.

  • 89'

    Mourinho is dishing out instructions to his players from the touchline; there can't be much to say at this point, other than "Score."

  • 88'

    Gerrard is hobbling around the field with cramp; he looks in discomfort, as does Sissoko, who hobbles off in real pain.

  • 88'

    Sissoko goes down after he and Ferreira go for a loose ball on the half-way line. He looks in some pain, which could be bad for Liverpool, because they have used up their three substitutions.

  • 87'

    Drogba is booked for protesting too long and too loud as Reina again takes his time over a goal-kick.

  • 87'

    Chelsea are getting so many people in the middle to try and get on these crosses that are being fired in to the middle; it just needs someone to get on the end of one...

  • 86'

    Lampard's corner is sent to the near post; Morientes swings wildly, and the ball spins off his boot and out for another corner.

  • 85'

    Drogba gets in behind the Liverpool defence down the left channel; he has time to pick out a team-mate in the middle, but Hyypia's desperate dive deflects his cross out for another corner.

  • 84'

    Lampard's corner is well cleared by Carragher; he and Hyypia have been immense in the second half.

  • 83'

    A lot of high balls are being sent in to the Liverpool penalty area, and Reina doesn't look particularly comfortable dealing with them. These are really nervy times for the Reds.

  • 82'

    LIVERPOOL SUB: Morientes comes on to replace Garcia. Benitez is trying to give the Chelsea defence something else to occupy them in the final stages, trying to hold the ball up and relieve some pressure.

  • 81'

    Reina is booked for time-wasting over a free-kick.

  • 81'

    Robben's run from the right forces Hyypia in to a challenge; another Chelsea corner.

  • 80'

    What a ten minute we have in store. It's real "Ding! Dang! Do!" stuff here at Old Trafford. Could go either way at the moment.

  • 79'

    Traore's first contribution is to foul Cole and concede a free-kick, out on the right touchline. Robben fires it in to the middle, byt Hyypia makes an important header.

  • 78'

    LIVERPOOL SUB: Traore comes on to replace Kewell; it's a defensive change from Benitez, who opts to send Traore on to counter the threat of Cole on the Chelsea right.

  • 77'

    Kewell receives some treatment after taking a knock. It looks like the Australian winger isn't going to finish the game. Benitez prepares another substitution.

  • 77'

    Chelsea shout for handball as Finnan plays the ball back to Reina, but the referee rules that the full-back chested the ball back to his goalkeeper.

  • 76'

    Liverpool brought Cisse on to try and hit Chelsea on the counter-attack, but the Reds simply haven't been able to get hold of the ball to bring the pacy Frenchman in to the game.

  • 75'

    GREAT CHANCE! Cole's cross is nodded down to Robben, but the Dutchman can only shoot straight at Reina from six-yards out. The pressure is mounting.

  • 74'

    Carragher makes an important interception as Robben attempts to flick a ball over the top for Drogba to sprint on to.

  • 73'

    The crowd are really playing their part in this fantastic cup-tie; it is very tense inside Old Trafford as we enter the final stages.

  • 72'

    We've got a fantastic game on our hands now; Chelsea will push and push for this equaliser, and Liverpool are going to come under immense pressure.

  • 71'

    GOAL! Riise's header back to his goalkeeper is poor; Drogba jumps with Reina and just nods the ball in to the empty net from 12 yards out.

  • 70'

    LIVERPOOL SUB: Cisse replaces Crouch; an intelligent change from Benitez, who has decided to use the pace of Cisse to threaten Chelsea on the counter-attack.

  • 69'

    ROBBEN! The substitute cuts in from the right wing, beats a couple of players and fires in a shot, but Reina is able to make a comfortable save.

  • 69'

    Riise sprints on to Kewell's pass over the top of the full-back; he goes down under the challenge of Makelele, but referee Poll gives nothing.

  • 68'

    Makalele sends in a cross from the right, and Reina is forced to turn it over the crossbar for a Chelsea corner.

  • 68'

    The Chelsea fans are really trying to roar their side on.

  • 67'

    Liverpool are very good at just sitting in and protecting a lead; Chelsea are going to find it very difficult to break them down.

  • 66'

    Makelele is caught in possession, but Garcia can't work the ball to Crouch as Liverpool countered.

  • 65'

    Chelsea are having most of the ball at the moment, but Liverpool look fairly well organised and are soaking up most of the pressure.

  • 64'

    Chelsea have got a very attacking line-up for the final half-hour; a goal in the next ten minutes or so will set up a fantastic finish.

  • 63'

    It seems that Chelsea are playing an adventurous, but entirely necessary, 4-2-4 formation, with Duff and Cole on the flanks, supplying Drogba and Robben through the middle.

  • 62'

    CHELSEA SUBS: Crespo and Geremi are replaced by Duff and Cole. The last throw of the dice from Chelsea; not sure how they are going to reorganise after these changes.

  • 61'

    JUST OVER! The corner is sent in to the middle; Crouch and Terry jump together and the ball loops just over the crossbar. Another corner, rules referee Poll.

  • 60'

    SAVE! Kewell sets up Garcia for a volley on the edge of the penalty area; the Spaniard doesn't strike his shot so well, but he forces Cudicini in to a save and Liverpool win another corner.

  • 60'

    NO, NO, NO! Drogba momentarily forgets who he is, and tries a 40-yard volley. It bobbles wide, without troubling Reina.

  • 59'

    Mourinho is calling his substitutes back from their warm-up; I think he's going to send on the reinforcements to try and salvage something.

  • 58'

    Television replays are picking out an incident a moment or two ago when a beer bottle was thrown on to the pitch from a section of the Liverpool fans. Luckily, it missed Crouch by a yard or so. Unsavoury.

  • 57'

    Robben has at least given Chelsea a bit of width down the left, but they now have nothing down the right. Mourinho's half-time change has simply moved the problem from one side of the pitch to the other.

  • 56'

    Sissoko breaks down the right and plays a first-time cross, looking for Crouch, but his pass is too strong and Gallas manages to clear.

  • 55'

    Liverpool have a wonderful chance now to make yet another trip to Cardiff to meet either West Ham United or Middlesbrough, who play tomorrow.

  • 54'

    Chelsea's double dream looks to be going up in smoke; Garcia took advantage of a poor header by Gallas to fire in to the top corner from 20 yards. Brilliant.

  • 53'

    GOAL! Garcia sprints through on goal before firing a superb volley past Cudicini. Brilliant finish from the unpredictable Spaniard.

  • 52'

    WHAT A MISS! OFF-SIDE ANYWAY...Gerrard fires over a cross-shot from the right side of the penalty area. Garcia somehow manages to divert the ball wide from six yards out, though the linesman's flag was raised for off-side anyway.

  • 51'

    Terry will feel a bit hard done-by, but replays show that he did have his hands on Riise as they jumped.

  • 50'

    GOAL! NO! DISALLOWED! Robben sends the ball in to the middle; Terry climbs at the back post and heads past Reina, but referee Poll rules that the Chelsea skipper was climbing on Riise and disallows the goal.

  • 50'

    Chelsea win a free-kick, out on the right wing. Robben stands over the ball...

  • 49'

    Lampard plays a long ball down the left wing for Robben and Carragher to chase, but the Liverpool defender holds off the winger to see the ball out for a goal-kick.

  • 48'

    Kewell has consistently taken advantage of Geremi's uncertainty at right-back, and has easily been the most threatening player on the pitch so far this evening.

  • 47'

    Kewell easily beats Geremi before sending over a superb low cross; Terry needs to make a wonderful interception at the near post.

  • 46'

    Liverpool kick off the second half, a goal to the good. Can they hold on? I don't know. Stay here, find out...

  • 45'

    CHELSEA SUB: Del Horno off, Robben on. An attacking change from Mourinho; Ferreira will move to left back and Robben will play down the left wing.

  • 46'

    HALF-TIME: Liverpool deservedly lead. Mourinho is going to have to change things at the break; if not personel, then certainly formation.

  • 45'

    DREADFUL! Kewell sends a great cross-field pass to Gerrard, who beats his man and gets to the by-line; he pulls the ball back to Garcia, but he spoons his shot high over the bar. Terrible.

  • 44'

    Kewell's run down the left wins Liverpool a throw, deep in the Chelsea half. Riise gets his throw back and sends over a cross, but Crouch is adjudged to have pulled Terry's shirt as they went up for the header. Free-kick.

  • 43'

    In to the closing stages of the half, and Chelsea haven't really threatened an equaliser to Riise's goal.

  • 42'

    Geremi leaves his foot in during a challenge with Alonso; it's a poor challenge from the Chelsea man, but other than the awarding of a free-kick, the offence goes unpunished.

  • 41'

    Mourinho is never afraid to make an early change, and I think Crespo might be one of the men in danger of missing the second half.

  • 40'

    Crespo has really struggled to get in to the match; he is making lots of good runs down the channels to try and find some space, but has barely had a touch so far.

  • 39'

    Sissoko's loose pass ends at the feet of Lampard; Crespo makes a good run, but Lampard opts to shoot and Reina makes another comfortable save.

  • 38'

    Ferreira gets to the by-line and sends over a cross to the near post, but Carragher rises highest to head clear. Commanding play from the Liverpool centre-back.

  • 37'

    Both players are back on their feet after a minute of treatment, and the players take the chance to have a bit of a breather.

  • 36'

    Del Horno's back-header is a little short; Crouch and Cudicini go for the ball and end up in a heap after a heavy clash. Crouch seems to have come off worst, and needs some treatment from the physio.

  • 35'

    The midfield is so compact and fiercely-contested. No-one can find any space at all.

  • 34'

    Drogba gets up a little gingerly after a strong challenge in midfield. The Chelsea man eyes Hyypia angrily, though the offender was, in fact, Alonso.

  • 33'

    GOOD BREAK! Kewell leads a Liverpool break through the middle; Crouch's intelligent run opens up some space, but Kewell opts to pass to Garcia rather than take the shot on himself, and Chelsea flood back.

  • 32'

    Cudicini easily collects Riise's cross, aimed at Crouch but over-hit and mis-directed.

  • 31'

    Mourinho has made his way down from the dugout to the technical area to relay some instructions to his players. He doesn't look happy, though he does, at least, still look very stylish.

  • 30'

    Essie tries to send a pass out to the right wing, but there is no Chelsea player within 30 yards and Liverpool win the throw.

  • 29'

    Ferreira probes down the right touchline, trying to give his side some width. I wonder how long it will be before Mourinho admits his plan hasn't worked and brings on Cole and / or Robben?

  • 28'

    "RAFA, RAFAEL...RAFA, RAFAEL, RAFA, RAFAEL... RAFAEL BENITEZ!" So the Liverpool fans sing, and with no little gusto.

  • 27'

    GOOD RUN! Kewell cuts in from the right wing, goes past Del Horno and Lampard, but then fires his left-foot shot wide of the near post from just inside the area. He should have done better from the position he had worked himself in to.

  • 26'

    EASY SAVE! Lampard shoots from the free-kick, but Reina easily collects his low drive on his goal-line. The Chelsea midfielder didn't really strike that very well.

  • 25'

    Carragher is harshly booked for barging Essien as the Chelsea man broke forward through the middle. Free-kick, 35 yards out. Lampard stands over the set-piece...

  • 25'

    Gerrard's corner is whipped in to the middle and Drogba makes an important clearance inside his own six-yard box.

  • 25'

    Liverpool win a corner when Kewell's cross from the left is deflected behind.

  • 24'

    Although Chelsea fans won't thank me for saying it, the game will be a lot better for that early goal; it will really bring both sides out of their shells.

  • 24'

    Drogba receives some treatment from the physio after colliding with the advertising boards after slipping as he tried to keep the ball in play.

  • 23'

    So, Liverpool take the lead in this FA Cup semi-final; how will Chelsea respond? They will have to come out and push now, but their side isn't really set up for that.

  • 22'

    Cudicini couldn't really see the ball at that set-piece; with Gerrard and Riise standing over it, the goalkeeper didn't know which way it was going. Riise took full advantage as he played a control shot through the wall and into the corner.

  • 21'

    GOAL! Riise fires a low shot around the side of the Chelsea wall and in to the bottom corner!

  • 21'

    ...Riise and Gerrard stand over the ball...

  • 20'

    Terry is penalised for a high-foot on the edge of his own penalty area. Free-kick to Liverpool, just 20 yards out...

  • 19'

    AWFUL MISS! Drogba is played in by Essien; he controls the ball very well, but then fires his shot well wide of the post with only Reina to beat. Woeful, woeful effort from the £24million striker.

  • 19'

    Gerrard goes on a driving run from right to left; he cuts back on to his right foot before curling a low cross in towards Crouch, but Terry reads the play and gets there before his England colleague.

  • 18'

    Crouch hasn't really had a chance to get in to the game as yet; he thrives on good service, but it just hasn't come his way in these opening minutes.

  • 17'

    OVER! Garcia fires in an optimistic shot, but his dipping volley ends up a few yards over Cudicini's crossbar.

  • 16'

    Both sets of fans are contributing to a wonderful atmosphere inside this magnificent stadium; they are trading chants as often as their teams are trading shots.

  • 15'

    Chelsea have got so many players in the centre of midfield, they are starting to get in each other's way.

  • 14'

    Liverpool are starting to find their feet now; they seemed to be caught a little aware by Chelsea's formation in the opening minutes, but now they have adapted and are starting to find some space.

  • 13'

    SAVE! Alonso fires in a dangerous low cross; the ball evades the front man and catches Cudicini unawares, but the Italian reacts well to palm the ball clear.

  • 12'

    Alonso spreads play out to Kewell on the left; the Aussie winger fires in another decent cross, but Terry heads clear from Crouch.

  • 11'

    This already looks like being another cagey, tactical match; both sides are set up with defence more in mind than attack.

  • 10'

    Jose Mourinho's men have started the game well; their new-look midfield is functioning well and really making it difficult for the big Liverpool players to find any space to create.

  • 9'

    WIDE! Lampard's corner is flicked on at the near post, but Drogba can't then direct his header on target from eight yards out. Good chance for Chelsea.

  • 8'

    PANIC! A free-kick lofted in to the middle causes a moment of panic in the Liverpool area, but Carragher throws himself at the loose ball to clear up. Corner.

  • 7'

    With Chelsea playing so narrow, Kewell may well find that he has a few opportunities to create something down the left this evening; he might be a key player.

  • 6'

    OOH! Kewell finds himself in a lot of space on the left wing. He bends a great low cross in to the area, but Terry confidently allows it to drift out for a goal-kick at the back post.

  • 5'

    The pitch here at Old Trafford looks in excellent condition, but it seems to have been well watered prior to kick-off; a couple of players have just lost their footing slightly.

  • 4'

    Chelsea are knocking the ball about with confidence at the back, but it looks like Liverpool are more than happy for them to do so; they aren't pressing very high up the pitch.

  • 3'

    SHOT! Geremi 'fires' in the first shot of the game, a poorly-struck effort from 30 yards that bobbles well wide of Reina's post.

  • 2'

    Chelsea win an early free-kick when Geremi is bundled over on the right touchline by Kewell. Terry idles forward, looking menacing...

  • 1'

    Chelsea are playing a very narrow formation; more like a 4-1-2-1-2, diamond formation, probably to try and nullify the threat of the Reds through the middle.

  •  

    Liverpool kick off this massive match.

  •  

    Terry and Gerrard lead out their men, and Old Trafford explodes (figuratively, not literally). Great atmosphere.

  •  

    My name is Alex; I'm your guide for this evening's game, a match full of potential and intrigue.

  •  

    Greetings. Welcome to ESPN Soccernet's coverage of the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool at Old Trafford.