Final score - after penalties - 120'
3 - 3
English FA Cup
14:00 +00:00, May 13, 2006
Millennium Stadium, Wales
Referee: A Wiley
Liverpool win 3-1 on penalties
Liverpool's comeback was as impressive as it was unexpected after half an hour of the game played and their resilience is embodied no better than by Stevie Gerrard's remarkable performance. The Liverpool captain played through the pain barrier to get his side back in to the game and he deserves to lift the trophy today. What a game!
...he misses! Liverpool have won the FA Cup. Reina saves again and what a hero he has been for them today. After a bad start he made a world class stop in extra-time to deny West Ham and has saved three out of four penalties to give Rafael Benitez's team the FA Cup. You have to feel sorry for West Ham and Alan Pardew and hope they can come back from this next season.
Ferdinand. He has to score...
....scores. It looks like Liverpool are going to do this. 3-1 to them.
....misses. Reina saves with his feet. 2-1 to Liverpool.
....scores. A wonderful penalty sends Hislop the wrong way.
....scores! A long run-up but a great finish left Reina rooted to the spot.
....misses! Hislop dives to his right and makes a good save.
....misses! Great save from Reina low to his right.
...scores. Hislop went the right way but a good penalty.
The penalties are to be taken at the West Ham end of the ground.
Penalties. Oh dear. What an incredible game we have seen today. It is not over yet though and the nerves of both Liverpool and West Ham followers are about to be put through the shredder once more. Heroes are about to be made here in Cardiff. In truth, all the players today have done themselves and their clubs proud and it is a shame that some of them will leave the pitch in tears shortly....but it's kind of exciting too.
One minute of extra-time to be played.
Sissoko is now down with cramp.
Morientes does well to knock a ball back to Cisse but he is uanble to reach it and West Ham take advantage. They play the ball up to Zamora who is fouled on the left wing, giving them a chance to get the ball in to the Liverpool penalty area. A header from Reo-Coker is hit on to the post by Reina but a clearly shattered Marlon Harewood just can't capatalise on the opportunity presented to him. He misses from five yards but no blame can be attatched to him.
It doesn't look like either team have the energy to create anything more. Both sides have given their all.
Benayoun takes the free-kick but it is blocked by the wall and now Sissoko breaks up the park. A fantastic saving tackle from Anton Ferdinand prevents Morientes scoring after Sissoko crosses.
Zamora goes on a great surging run through the Liverpool midfield but Hyypia clips his heels and brings him down on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area. Free-kick to West Ham.
Marlon Harewood is off the pitch and can't even walk.
Liverpool hit a ball towards Cisse but West Ham intercept. Benayoun plays Scaloni down the right and he crosses well although not well enough. Hyypia heads the ball away.
There are players collapsing everywhere and the Millennium Stadium pitch resembles a battlefield at the minute.
Scaloni comes down the flank but is crowded out and can't get the ball over to Sheringham. Gerrard wins the ball back in the middle of the park and Liverpol, ignoring the bodies that are rapidly falling to the ground in ever-increasing numbers, head up the park in search of the goal that will surely settle this match.
Corner to West Ham. Reina rather flaps at the ball when it comes over but the ref sees an infringement and blows his whistle for a free-kick to Liverpool.
Alan Pardew looks pensive. Well he might.
Sissoko shows nice skill and tries to get through the middle of the West Ham defence but they stand strong and Benayoun gets it wide to Scaloni. The full-back runs the ball out of play for a goal-kick.
Morientes and Kronkamp, who are both relatively fresh, link up but Kronkamp appears in two minds about whether to shoot or cross. He tries a shot but it goes wide of West Ham's goal.
West Ham kick off the final period of extra-time.
There are a lot of tired bodies out there. There may well be a mistake or two in these final fifteen minutes of play.
Cisse is now signalling that he is in trouble. He seems to have a problem with his left leg.
Gerrard looks for Hyypia's head from the free-kick but the defender is forced to improvise a shooting opportunity from twenty yards out. Not a bad effort for a central defender but it goes wide of the post.
Zamora fouls Riise and Liverpool boot the free-kick towards Morientes. Kronkamp links with the attack but then Dailly clatters in to the back of Gerrard and concedes a free-kick thirty yards out.
West Ham now advance and Benayoun, who is having a great game, plays a nice through ball to Zamora. Now Harewood gets the ball wide right but his cross is wasteful and goes straight to Reina.
Liverpool have now got a corner and again Gerrard is the man who plays it short to Finnan. He hits a great cross in to Morientes who mis-hits a header. It lands at Cisse's feet but his shot from five yards is as bad as Morientes' header and he fails to take advantage of a good chance.
Benayoun complains about a Liverpool throw-in being awarded and he has a case.
Liverpool have won a corner and Gerrard trots over to take it. West Ham have everyone back but their clearance gives Riise an opportunity to shoot from long-range. His shot goes just over Hislop's crossbar. A good effort.
Konchesky plays it to Benayoun but Finnan does well to tackle him. Liverpool now slowly pass the ball around looking for a gap.
Sheringham and Zamora play a game of head tennis but Liverpool stop their fun before Carragher goes down with cramp.
Liverpool loft a ball high in to the West Ham penalty area but the Hammers defence stops it reaching Morientes.
Sheringham is playing up alongside Zamora and Harewood is now playing down the right.
It is a shame that one team has to lose this game as both have provided us with a fine spectacle today. There has been not one hint of malice either.
The game has re-started and Reo-Coker tries to play a ball over the top to Zamora but Hyypia heads the ball out of play.
The coins have been tossed to decide who starts where in the first period of extra-time and to decide which end the dreaded penalties will be taken from should they materialise.
Extra-time now and Alan Pardew is going to have to give a speech of Churchillian qualities to lift his men. The impetus now is surely with a resurgent Liverpool, but much could depend on whether Gerrard can actually play on. What an incredible contribution that man has made to his side today.
West Ham must be shell-shocked. Ninety minutes were up when Liverpool equalised.
Liverpool attack again down the right through Kronkamp but West Ham scramble back to deal with the threat and now it is they who lift their weary limbs in search of another goal.
At the other end Konchesky hits a free-kick straight at Reina.
There are four minutes of extra-time to be played.
Stevie Gerrard,(who IS limping)receives the ball thirty five yards out after a knockdown from a Riise cross and swings his boot at it. The ball arcs perfectly in to the West Ham goal and Gerrard has rescued his team once again. Amazing stuff!
The West Ham fans have their arms and flags aloft and they sense that the end is near.
Gerrard can not contriubute to the game anymore and Benitez has used all his subsitutions. Liverpool are effectively playing with ten men. Which they are well used to following Djimi Traore's many matches for them.
Gerrard, who appears to be limping, hits a tired shot well wide of the West Ham goal when the free-kick is played square to him.
Sheringham's first touch is an illegal one. Hand-ball and, what's worse, it is a free-kick in a dangerous spot.
Reo-Coker is following Stevie Gerrard all over the park. Clearly West Ham are nervous of the Liverpool skipper.
Teddy Sheringham is wheeled on to the park.
Why is it only in the FA Cup Final players go down with cramp?
A lot of players are going down with cramp.
The ref has now given Liverpool a free-kick after a fould on Cisse. They lose out to Benayoun though and West Ham break in numbers. As the ball comes in to the Liverpool penalty area, Reina slips and misses it and West Ham now have a corner.
Which is wasted. By Fernando Morientes. For once.
Gerrard hits a terrible ball towards Kronkamp and Liverpool are, rather fortuitously, given a corner.
Cisse has some space and plays it sqaure to Riise. He gives it back and Cisse's cross in to the box finds Fernando Morientes's head but it is a difficult chance with his back to goal and he can't hit the target.
West Ham now have the ball in Liverpool's half and they will want to keep it there.
West Ham only have to hold on for twelve more minutes. One slip though and the spectre of extra-time looms.
Benayoun blasts the ball out for a throw-in and the Liverpool siege of the West Ham goalmouth continues.
Sissoko's shot is blokced by Benayoun but Liverpool come again down the flank with Kronkamp. His cross is cleared and West Ham are having to defend in depth and in numbers.
Fletcher is off for West Ham and Christian Dailly is on.
This time Riise tries an ambitious effort from long range which goes well wide.
Kronkamp loses out to Gabbidon and West Ham now have a throw-in. Liverpool quickly win the ball back and Gerrard tries to thread a pass through to Hamann. They are unable to find space though and they have to build again.
Liverpool, attacking the end wher etheir supporters are gathered, are piling on the pressure. Cisse goes close with a header which West Ham scramble to safety.
Two subsitutions meanwhile. Dean Ashton is off for Bobby zamora and Dietmar Hamann is on for Peter Crouch
A fine run from Benayoun ends in him being fouled but the ref, who is having a good game, waves play on beofre Reo-Coker blasts a shot high over Reina's crossbar.
Kronkamp gets involved for the first time down the right flank but he is unable to get a cross in.
Harewood, back in his own half, wins the ball and plays it up to Benayoun. He makes a good run through the middle.but can't quite get close enough to trouble Reina with a shot.
Now West Ham have a free-kick about forty five yards out. Meanwhile Alonso has signalled that he needs to go off and he is replaced by Kronkamp. More bad news for Liverpool.
West Ham attack again and an inviting ball is played across the six yard area by Etherington but nobody is there to put the ball in for the fourth.
Unbelievable! Paul Konchesky, from the left side of the Liverpool penalty area, attempts a cross which fools Reina completely and drops in to the back of his net. A total fluke but nobody with a West Ham affiliation will care about that. Three-two West Ham. What a game we have here today.
Benayoun hits a low ball in which Ferdinand just fails to connect with. Liverpool break up the park quickly but Morientes loses possession and the chance disappears.
West Ham gather themselves and try to advance down the left flank. No way through though so they switch to the right with more success. Ashton wins a corner from Riise.
The game is very open now and you suspect there are more goals to come.
Gerrard plays a good ballup to Morientes but there is nobody in support to come in on his header.
Both sets of fans are now in full voice urging on their teams.
Gabbidon breaks from defemce before passingto Benayoun. He shows some nice control but Liverpool take the ball from him and now attack with Riise down the left. His clipped ball in towards Cisse just misses its target.
The free-kick came from a needless foul by Nigel Reo-Coker. Alan Pardew will be furious and may have to think about making a change at some point.
Liverpool seeem trapped in their own half but patiently played their way up towards the West Ham area. They win a free-kick and from this Alonso plays a cross in to Crouch who nods it down to Gerrard who hits a great shot high in to the West Ham goal. He is the man for the big occasion. Two-two.
Ferdinand boots it up Ashton but more in hope than expectation. Liverpool then play an equally wasteful ball up the park which Hislop takes easily.
Riise plays a ball in looking for Crouch but Gadbbidon heads the ball away. It falls to Cisse who sets up Alonso but Liverpool's short passing fails to build an opening before Crouch is ruled to be offside.
Ciise, now wearing gold boots lays it off to Crouch and Liverpool win a throw-in yards from West Ham's area.
Riise hits a long range shot with his favoured left foot when perhaps he should have hit it with his right. Either way, it goes wide for a goal-kick.
At the other end Cisse wins a corner for Liverpool but it comes to nothing. Now Harry Kewell is being replaced by Fernando Morientes after getting injured. He doesn't have much luck in Cup Finals. Mind you they did alright without his last time.
Ashton feeds Etherington dwon the left flank immediately and his cross is met by Harewood who, from close range, fails to beat Reina who makes a fine save. Benayoun then gets involved in the action and fashions an opening before hitting a shot which Reina saves well from again.
Liverpool kick off. If they are to win today it would be Rafael Benitez's side twelfth straight victory.
Here they come. Hello.
'You'll Never Walk Alone' is being belted out by half of the crowd here as the Liverpool players line up back on the pitch awaiting the West Ham team.
After a somewhat muted start, the game exploded in to life during a hectic eleven minute spell midway through the half. Liverpool will have to come out and attack in the second half and you feel that West Ham's somewhat suspect defence will be under a lot of pressuse in the next forty five minutes. Can the Hammers hold firm?
A fine fifty yard pass from Alonso finds Cisse, who is fouled by Scaloni, but the referee waves play on. Cisse gets a low hard shot in on the West Ham goal which Hislop gets down low to gather in to his chest.
Liverpool are probing the West Ham rearguard (guffaw) for weaknesses but Etherington does well to nudge Sissoko on to the ball and win his side a goal-kick.
West Ham's attack breaks down just as the sign showing that two minutes of extra time will be added to the half.
Liverpool are on the attack again but Reo-Coker makes a good tackle on Kewell and West Ham go in search for a third. They have a throw-in deep in Liverpool territory.
Now Etherington breaks well down the left which relieves the pressure on his defence. Benayoun receives the ball on the edge of the area but his shot does not really trouble Reina.
A tantalising diagonal ball from Steve Finnan is cleared for a corner. This is taken quickly and Hislpo has to be alert to parry Gerrard'ss hot away. Liverpool have West Ham pinned back in the defensive third.
Cisse is now operating on the left with Kewell playing slightly deeper.
Crouch does well from a tight angle on the right and the ball everntually makes its way over to Cisse who rather scuffs his shot wide.
A wonderful piece of improvisation from Dean Ashton gives him a shooting opportunity from twenty yards out. His rasping drive goes just wide of Reina's post. Good play from the young West Ham forward.
Harewood gets in to a good postion on the right and hits an inviting ball over the heads of the Liverpool defence. Liverpol deal with the ball and play it away to safety.
Liverpool have their tails up now and it is their fans who can be heard. Can West Ham hold their nerve?
Sissoko shows great skill and determination to find a way through the West Ham midfield but he is crowded out and loses the ball.
Alonso's ball over the top is not chased by Cisse who chooses to fall over and pretend to be fouled instead.
Not this time though! Gerrard hits a great ball over the top to Cisse who hits a wonderful volley from eight yards out past a flailing Shaka Hislop. Game on!
Gerrard hits a quick free-kick to Peter Crouch whose cool finish is spoilt only by the fact that the linesman has waved his flag to signify he was offisde. It was a very tight decision and Liverpool were very unlucky there.
Harewood now attacks down the right but Liverpool's defence is too strong for him. Liverpool play the ball back up the park.
WEst Ham have scored again! Ashton wins a header which Etherington seizes on before hitting a shot which Reina fails to keep hold of. His mistake is capatilsed upon by a gleeful Dean Ashton who, from three yards, knocks the ball in to an empty net. Two terrible defensive errors have cost Liverpool dear. Two nil to the Hammers.
Liverpool are looking a bit flat now and it is West Ham who seem buoyed by that goal.
Reo-Coker urges West Ham forward and plays the ball to Harewood. He runs the ball out for a goal-kick though.
Gerrard and Crouch try to prise a way through the West Ham defence to bring Cisse in to play but they can find no way through.
Interestingly that is the seventh own goal West Ham have been the benificiaries of this season.
'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' can be heard reverberating around Cardiff now.
Liverpool come straight back at West Ham and Gerrard leads the charge through the middle. He is stopped in his tracks by a wonderful tackle from Scaloni. The boy is on a run.
Alonso hits a short pass which Benayoun pounces on and gives it to Ashton who hits a wonderful delayed pass to a galloping Scaloni. His cross from the right is knocked in to his own net by an unfortunate Jamie Carragher. One nil to the Hammers!
So far the wingers of both teams have not got involved enough. These areas could be key in deciding the match today.
A long ball is played up to Crouch who gives it to Cisse. His shot is weak though and is gratefully received by Hislop.
West Ham look the more nervous of the two teams. A lot of passes are being over-hit or not finding their man.
Benayoun and Ashton link well to set up Harewood who, from a tight angle, fails to trouble Reina with his shot.
At the other end, Cisse is judged to be offside.
Konchesky hits a wasteful long ball up towards Harewood which goes harmlessly out of play for a goal-kick.
Risse pile-drives a fierce shot in to the wall, one of whom now will look in pain. Ouch.
Liverpool have a free-kick in a very dangerous position and Gerrard will fancy a shot at this. The West Ham wall looks nervous.
The corner was a poor one and Ashton is blown up for offside. Strapping explosives to players is a bit harsh but he won't do it again at least.
Harewood suddenly found himself in some space and had a shot at goal that was pushed behind for a corner.
Ashton shows nice feet before hitting the ball up to his stike partner Harewood. A foul is conceded though and Liverpool now have possession.
Both teams are playing in a cautious manner which suggests we may not get that classic Cup Final we were hoping for.
Fletcher tries to get Etherington involved in the play but Carragher challenges him and heads the ball out for a throw-in. West Ham, disapointingly, throw it back towards their goal.
A lot of players are falling over. The pitch seems to be a bit slippy. Or maybe they are all drunk??
Finna plays the ball up to Cisse who feeds Gerrard down the right. West Ham block his cross and get the ball away from danger.
Liverpool build patiently from the back before hitting a high ball up to Crouch. He wins a header then tries an overhead kick which goes well wide of Hislop's post.
At the other end Benayoun gets in to a good position but can't deliver a ball to his strikers.
Gerrard plays the ball up to Cisse who attempts to cross the ball in to the danger area but hits his cross to tamely. Shaka Hislop claims it easily.
A long ball is played over the top to Harry Kewell but it is hit too hard and drifts behind for a goal-kick.
The pitch is bathed half in bright sunlight on a beautiful day in Cardiff.
The ball is played in towards Crouch's lofty head but the ref spots an infringement amongst the throng of players and awards the Hammers a free-kick.
West Ham kick off and immediately lose the ball to Gerrard who tears down the right flank and is brought down. Liverpool have a free-kick on the right wing.
West Ham are wearing their all white away kit, Liverpool play in their traditonal red.
Prince William is now meeting the teams and the National Anthem has been sung with gusto by the packed masses in the (nearly full. There are 1,600 empty seats due to some Scouse naughtiness) Millennium Stadium.
We've just had Abide With Me sung by Lesley Garrett and played by a bunch of engineers. Nice.
West Ham fans will be pleased to see that both Etherington and Ashton start following earlier injury fears. Liverpool line up as expected, with Cisse hoping to play a prominent role after his fine showing in the recent league match between the two teams. Will we finally get a good FA Cup Final? Here's hoping.
It is a less familiar trip for the Hammers although they have fond memories of Cardiff following their play-off final victory last season. Victory here today would complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for their manager Alan Pardew following the acrimony he faced from sections of his own support last season.
The trip to Cardiff has become a familiar one to Liverpool over the past five years and they will be hoping that they can win the last FA Cup Final here to go with the first they won against Arsenal in 2001.
If the builders down Wembley way can finally locate a skip some time soon then this afternoon's game between West Ham And Liverpool will be the last FA Cup Final played at the Millennium Stadium.
Fernando Sanchez Morientes
John Arne Riise
Fernando Sanchez Morientes
West Ham United