Full-time - 120'
1 - 2
15:00 +00:00, April 15, 2007
Old Trafford, England
Referee: A Wiley
After Extra Time
FULL-TIME: Chelsea's dream of winning all four trophies is still on but they were made to fight for their win today. A spirited second half performance from Mark Hughes' men but alas it for them it was not to be. Chelsea perhaps deserved to shade it but they will have to do better than this to beat United in the final on May 19th. Should be alright that.
Mokoena takes the throw-in for Blackburn but his foot is on the pitch and he has conceded a foul throw.
Two minutes of time to be added on.
McCarthy is tackled by Terry and Blackburn get a corner. Friedel is up for it but his opposite number comes to make a brave catch. Cech's landed awkwardly though and the Chelsea physio is on.
Essien hits an unbelievable shot(think almost Arsenal earlier this season) which rattles Friedel's bar. It's probably still shaking.
Great ball in from Wright-Phillips but Friedel takes it as it flies across his six-yard box.
Pedersen plants a long throw in Chelsea's box but Samba was misbehaving and is penalised for pushing.
He replaces David Bentley.
Matt Derbyshire is on his way but it could be too little too late for Blackburn.
Nice one-two between Drogba and Kalou but Pedersen gets back to make a good sliding tackle. The corner comes over but Rovers deal with it. It's all Chelsea though and they knock the ball around taking up another precious minute of time.
GOAL - Ballack has surely won the match for Chelsea. Wright-Phillips cuts it back to Kalou who is well challenged by Nelsen. The ball breaks to Ballack though and he fires it in from eight yards and wheels away in delight to the Chelsea fans behind the goal. Can Rovers respond to that?
By the way, Warnock has not been taken off and Peter has not replaced him. He got better or something.
Lampards decides to shoot but his effort is poor. He gets it back though but this time the move is broken up by Emerton. He now darts away and cuts inside Ashley Cole before bending a shot which Cech saves comfortably.
We begin the final part of extra-time and Pedersen concedes a free-kick thirty yards from his goal for impeding Lampard.
The physios come on to give their men a well needed drink but they are soon all lining up again to play out this final fifteen minutes. The spectre of penalties looms. Rovers could try to play for penalties - but then they have the formidable obstacle of Petr Cech to by-pass. Decisions, decisions. Chelsea will not be countenancing such thoughts.
HALF-TIME: All change please.
Warnock is taken off to be replaced by Sergio Peter.
Mikel is booked for tripping Roberts. At the other end Stepehn Warnock is down after refusing to shirk a challenge with man mountain Wright-Phillips.
Drogba comes in from deep to meet it with his head but he is going away from the goal and is fifteen yards out. Friedel is well positioned and takes it.
Kalou goes on a long run which forces him in to a position where Rovers have to concede a throw. From this Nelsen is forced to head behind for another Chelsea corner.
Drogba's free-kick is high wide and ugly and brings relieved hoots of derision from the Rovers crowd.
Cole crosses to Ballack but Rovers get it away. Then Dunn puts in a tired tackle in on Lampard and Chelsea have a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal.
Good covering header from Warnock to beat Ashley Cole. Blackburn then win it back and have the throw-in.
Joe Cole once more is brought crashing to earth by a Blackburn player, this time the culprit being Stephen Warnock. His name too goes in the book. Joe Cole is down on the floor and is going to be taken off. Wright-Phillips replaces him.
Matt Derbyshire is warming up and so too is Shaun Wright-Phillips. Most probably to replace Joe Cole who must be exhausted.
Carvalho as the last man does well to keep his eye on the ball as Pedersen lurked close by waiting to pounce on any mistake.
Pedersen is wrongly judged to have been offside. Poor decision from the linesman.
Extra time has begun and Chelsea are on the attack. Lampard bursts in to the Blackburn box but Samba stretches to dispossess him.
You do wonder if Rovers might have missed their chance to win this game. Can they keep up this level of performance for another thirty minutes?
Chelsea take the corner and Friedel makes a wonderful instinctive save from a Ballack header. It matters not though for the ref has blown for a foul on Pedersen. Ladies and gentlemen, we now have extra-time....
Nelsen once again throws himself in the way of a Chelsea ball, this time delivered by the foot of Frank Lampard.
Dunn is brought down and Rovers have a chance to re-group. They get the free-kick up to McCarthy who fires a volley miles over the bar.
Joe Cole beats one man with a wonderfully tricky header then steadies himself for a shot five yards out. Nelsen gets back though to throw himself in front of his shot.
Four minutes of extra time will be played.
Cech now makes another marvellous save as John Terry mis-times a header and almost knocks it in for an own goal.
Pedersen shoots this time and the ball hits the wall. Whether or not it hit someone's arm is another question.
Pedersen dinks it in but is then flattened by Essien and knocks his head. He's up though and his team-mates will hope he is not too groggy as they now have a free-kick on the edge of Chelsea's area.
Ballack fouls Roberts thirty-five yards from Chelsea's goal. Pedersen stands over the ball.
Nelsen does well to put Cole's cross behind for a corner. When that comes in Terry fails to connect and Rovers breathe once more.
Cole raked Dunn's back with his studs and the Blackburn midfielder makes his feelings known.
Pedersen misses an open goal from eight yards out. Taking a leaf from Andriy Shevchenko, Pedersen elects to head wide when it would have been oh so much easier to score. Best chance of the game.
John Obi Mikel comes on for Makelele.
Ballack's free-kick curls round the wall and beats Friedel. It also beats the post and goes out for a goal-kick.
Ballack and McCarthy are now being spoken to regarding some ungentlemanly exchange of views.
Pedersen is booked for a foul on Joe Cole, who went to ground quite easily.
It's impossible to say which way this game is going to go although Chelsea's penchant for the late winner suggests the good money should be on them in these closing stages.
Great cross in from Cole but nobody in a Chelsea shirt is on hand to apply the finishing touch.
Dunn tries a shot from fifty-five yards. Guess what?
Bentley squares it to Mokoena whose fierce drive rises just over Cech's crossbar.
Bentley skips round Ashley Cole but doesn't have the legs to stop the ball going out of play.
Lampard's free-kick is too high and too hard...but if you're Brad Friedel you would not see it that way. He takes it easily.
Mokoena has scythed down Joe Cole and quite rightly has been booked.
Cech comes to claim Pedersen's throw but misses it and has to be helped out by Ashley Cole to clear the ball.
Carvalho fouls Pedersen and Friedel launches a big one up the park. They get a throw in Chelsea's half.
Blackburn are winning on attempts on target(6-4 is the score in that meaningless contest if you were wondering.) They don't hand out places at Wembley for those kind of statistics though sonny boy.
Pedersen plays another free-kick in from the right but Drogba is back to help out and performs his defensive duties well.
Now Chelsea have a corner. Lampard plays it in but when Nelsen heads it out Essien brings a great save from Friedel. Another corner, but this time Ballack's header is wide.
How costly could that miss by Shevchenko prove to be? At least Chelsea fans can comfort themselves that he is no longer around to miss any more.
GOAL: The free-kick is played in from the right by Pedersen. It's low and hard and Roberts gambles by going in front of Terry. He sticks out his foot and directs the ball past Cech. It's just what Blackburn deserve as well. Game on.
Shevchenko comes off to be replaced Salamon Kalou.
Roberts is brought down and Rovers have a free-kick in a dangerous spot. They have to make this pressure count.
Pedersen's header at the far post from four yards out is brilliantly saved by the diving Cech before hitting the post. He then punches away Bentley's cross before taking the ball. Good work from the Chelsea keeper.
Drogba does appear to actually be injured and so has limped off for treatment.
Drogba is on the floor and appears to be in pain. Make of that what you will.
Samba tackles Drogba in the penalty area to concede a corner. When it is played in, Carvalho is there to hit a half volley which Friedel plucks from the air.
Dunn's run was missed by Roberts who played it back as the midfielder screamed for it to be hit forwards.
Essien beats his man but takes a lame tumble which does not impress the ref one bit.
Emerton is booked for taking out Joe Cole.
Pedersen scuffs it but it finds Bentley. He can't control it but the ball careers up and Cech is forced to hit it behind for a corner. Chelsea deal with that easily enough but Rovers are looking good for a goal here.
Terry brings down McCarthy and Rovers have a free-kick thirty-five yards out. Pedersen will take it.
Drogba makes a great tackle on Dunn who then tries to do likewise. More a foul than a tackle really, but the ref decided Dunn done nuffink wrong.
Bentley plays it in to Roberts who turns magnificently before bringing a great save from Cech. He palms it behind for a corner. The ball comes over, they get another corner. This time Samba's header drifts just wide. Good comeback from Rovers here.
Oh dear Andriy Shevchenko. Drogba cuts the ball back to him eight yards from goal. The Ukranian completely mis-hits it when he should have buried it. A terrible miss from Shevchenko.
Joe Cole penalised for a foul but Warnock's free-kick is comfortable for Essien.
Chelsea re-start the match after the interval. No changes have been made.
HALF-TIME: Rovers will have to come out with the same approach in the second half that they showed towards the end of the first. You get the feeling though that Chelsea are nowhere near first gear and if they were to up the tempo then they will surely book their place in the final.
Rovers have produced a strong finish to this half and if they go in just one down they at least have something to build on in the second half. However, they are fortunate that the margin is only a single goal.
When the corner comes in Samba gets highest six yards out but his header is just over. A great chance and Blackburn's best of the match so far.
Great shot from David Dunn on the edge of the penalty area but Cech beats it behind for a corner.
Bentley's long ball finds McCarthy in the penalty area who puts his arms out for balance. The linesman on the far side decides, rather harshly, that the ball struck one of his arms.
Warnock slips and gives Chelsea possession. Drogba, in acres of space, approaches the Rovers penalty area from the right hand side. He almost has too much time to think about what to do next and his cross, when it comes, is well blocked by the retreating Samba.
Cole shows great determination to win back the ball from Emerton who then goes back and clatters in to the back of the Chelsea man. The ref waves play on.
Great ball from Warnock finds Bentley but he uses his arm to control it and is spotted by the ref.
Lampard plays a deep free-kick in to Blackburn's box which finds the head of Carvalho. His header is weak though and then Rovers break up the other end through Pedersen. Both he and Warnock get a cross in to Chelsea's penalty area but both are headed away from Cech's goal by Terry.
Nice Chelsea move and Joe Cole's pass to Shevchenko finds the striker just offside.
Drogba takes the free-kick wide to the right of Blackburn's goal but his low effort is cleared by Nelsen.
Samba puts in a heavy challenge on Ashley Cole and concedes a foul. Rovers players aren't happy though as they feel McCarthy had been fouled by Makelele.
Dunn needlessly goes in late on Makelele and is fortunate not to pick up a booking.
Cole's cross-field pass from the left crosses the entire field and exits stage right.
Drogba finds Shevchenko with a great diagaonal pass but the Ukranian's touch is heavy and he can't take advantage of the opening presented to him. Nelsen does enough to put him off and snuff out the danger.
Roberts fouls Terry as he backed in to the Chelsea captain.
There are quite a few empty seats in Old Trafford today. Those who are here though are being treated to some vey un-Mancunian weather as the stadium is bathed in warm April sunshine.
Bentley took a tumble as Essien challenged him but the Chelsea man was nowhere near him. Naughty naughty.
Joe Cole hits a shot just over the Rovers bar after a lovely sweeping move involving Ashley Cole and Drogba, who chested it down in to the path of Cole before he shot.
Lampard sizes up a free-kick but opts to cross rather than shoot. It is easily dealt with though by Rovers who get it away.
Rovers have not done much so far to suggest they are going to turn this game around. The next goal is going to be crucial to their chances in this match.
GOAL - Chelsea take the lead with a wonderfully worked goal. Drogba shows strength to hold off Samba then lays it off to Ballack who brings in Lampard. He skips away from one challenge before burying the ball in the right-hand corner of Friedel's goal.
Carvalho's free-kick floats over everyone's head and straight to Brad Friedel.
Lovely one-two between the brothers Cole and Joe's shot brings a great save from Friedel. The big keeper then makes a confidence inspiring catch from the resultant corner.
Nice feet from Dunn but he sends a pass over to where he thought his strikers were - and they weren't.
Shevchenko floats one over towards Drogba but the ball is rushed and too far away from his strike partner to cause any damage.
Drogba seems to have caught a stray arm in his face when challenging Samba for a header in the Chelsea penalty area. He's a big lad though and seems ok now.
Pedersen is well marshalled by Essien but he still manages to get his cross in. When he does though John Terry is on hand to get a head to it.
Cole of the Joe is caught a mile offside after Lampard's pass.
Friedel comes to the edge of his area to handle a high ball but has to let go of it to prevent himself conceding a handball. He manages it - just.
Rovers have a free-kick thirty-five yards from the Chelsea goal. It's curled in towards Cech who bravely comes from his line to punch it to safety.
The players are all wearing black armbands in memory of the Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough eighteen years ago.
Joe Cole's first touch, an attempted pass to the on-rushing Essien, goes straight out of play. It's Cole's first start since coming back from injury so he is bound to be a little rusty.
The prize, a place at Wembley and that quest will be started by Blackburn Rovers who kick-off in their changed strip of all red.
For once perhaps the neutrals will be hoping it is not the underdog's day as a Chelsea win today sets up the possibility of a mouthwatering treble header between themselves and Manchester United in the last week of the season - the FA Cup, the Premiership and the Champions League. All could be contested between Chelsea and United in the space of ten days in the ultimate winner takes all face-off.
Blackburn start with Jason Roberts preferred to Matt Derbyshire up front in today's FA Cup semi-final. Tugay makes way for David Dunn in the middle. Michael Essien slots in at right-back for Chelsea with Joe Cole starting for the Blues.