aston villa 0-3 chelsea

Drogba ecstatic after booking place in FA Cup final

April 10, 2010

Didier Drogba's affinity for Wembley came to the fore yet again as the Ivory Coast striker set Chelsea on their way to the FA Cup final with victory over Aston Villa.

Didier Drogba celebrates at Wembley
EmpicsDidier Drogba celebrates at Wembley

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Drogba broke the deadlock in the 68th minute - his fifth goal at Wembley - before two goals in the final two minutes from Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard sealed the win.

"I always say I'm lucky, it's an honour for me to be here and to play in a stadium like this one,'' Drogba told ITV.

"The FA Cup is really special to us and when I have the chance I will try to score. I had two chances before and I was a bit unlucky, the first one was a great block from (Stephen) Warnock and the third chance maybe was the one that was least expected, but that's the goal.''

Drogba started Chelsea's critical Premier League clash with title rivals Manchester United on the bench last week before coming on to score the winner, but insisted not starting was not a problem for him as Chelsea compete on multiple fronts.

"I've been in this position before, I know why I was not starting, it's not a problem,'' he said. "The objective is to win the game. We have six games left to go with the final and we have to win them all.''

After the seemingly clear-cut decision that went against his own side in their Champions League encounter with Inter Milan at the San Siro, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has made a point of not courting controversy in such matters.

"It could have been a penalty, but also it might not have been,'' he said. "It was a very strong tackle in our box but the referee did not whistle. If he had it would have been a penalty.''

Both teams struggled to keep their feet, with Milner particularly badly affected, although Ancelotti did not feel it was too much of a problem.

"The pitch was fantastic,'' he said. "Some players did slip but it was adequate.''

Chelsea captain John Terry has set his sights on the Double: "We know we've got some tough games coming up but as long as we keep winning and working hard for each other it is possible.

"We don't mind who we play in the FA Cup final, Tottenham or Portsmouth. We can just sit back now and enjoy watching the game tomorrow.

"As for the league, we've got some tough games coming up. We've got Bolton in the week, which will be tough, while Manchester United go away to Blackburn which was a difficult game recently for us (it ended 1-1).

"Looking at the fixtures, they all seem really difficult but, as long as we keep winning and working hard for each other, then the double is possible.''

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill launched a scathing attack on England captain John Terry following a tackle on international team-mate James Milner that could have left the Aston Villa player with a serious injury at Wembley.

"It was an horrendous challenge on an England team-mate,'' said O'Neill. "James Milner is exceptionally lucky his career is intact. It should have been a straight red card.

"It could have been very serious. James is lucky to have got away with it. The fact his leg was in the air helped. I have spoken to the doctor who says he's a very lucky boy.''

It was one of two contentious incidents in the game that left O'Neill fuming, with his ire directed in this instance at Terry and referee Howard Webb, who the Villa boss is convinced did not take the correct action.

"He's 15 yards outside the box and going away from goal. It was a pointless challenge,'' said O'Neill. "But he made it and therefore the consequences of it should have been a red card.

"It was an obvious decision. You didn't need four replays to see it.''

Just over a month after leaving the same stadium furious that Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic was not sent off for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor in the opening minutes of the Carling Cup final, O'Neill believes Villa suffered an even greater injustice this time.

Villa did not get a penalty when John Obi Mikel brought Agbonlahor down, when it seemed Paulo Ferreira was unlikely to get across and cover, leaving Mikel as the last man.

"I am sitting here five weeks on talking about another major incident,'' said O'Neill. "It is incontestable. Even the Chelsea players knew, you could tell by their reaction it was a penalty.

"The referee has chosen to ignore it because of the possible consequences. The referee bottled it against Manchester United and we have had the same today.''

Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov revealed his frustration after another crucial Wembley decision went against his side.

Petrov said: "I thought we did really well today. We did much better than in the previous game against Chelsea and we had our chances. We had a few decisions which didn't go our way but apparently that is the way it is. We need to accept it.

"It was a penalty but we didn't get it. That's the way it goes and it is really frustrating. It is frustrating. It is big decisions. You never know if we go 1-0 up today, what is going to happen. It is hard to take but we didn't win today and we will keep going.''

Petrov felt Villa's performance deserved a more positive outcome.

"We gave away two late goals when we were trying to push for an equaliser but today we did really well and probably deserved more from the game,'' he said. "It was never a 3-0 game but at the end of the day all the best to them.

"At the end of the day, that's football and we need to score goals to win games. We didn't manage to score, they scored three and won the game.

"It was hard to see a goal like their first one when we have been defending well from the set-pieces and it was a very soft goal but we will blame ourselves.''

Chelsea midfielder Lampard believed Villa should have been awarded the spot-kick.

"We beat Villa 7-1 two weeks ago but fair play to them, they had a very positive reaction,'' he said. "We got away with the first half because I thought it was a penalty. They will probably be upset about that but I thought it was a penalty.

"We have had some important decisions in the Champions League that we didn't get, so I have some sympathy.

"It was nice for me to score but Malouda killed the game really. Villa gave us a really tough game and it is just nice to come back here for the final.''

Terry admitted the Blues were fortunate not to concede a penalty: "I think it was a penalty for Villa. I was right there. I would say so. But the game is over. We should have had some penalties earlier in the season and we move on.

"After a slow first half, we upped the pace and did what we had to do second half. As for the first goal, yes, it was a shot from me. I just told Didier it was a pass!''