Jose Mourinho endured a controversial afternoon as he clinched his first piece of silverware with Chelsea after a 3-2 extra-time victory over Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium.
Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman bundled in the winners in a dramatic finale, but their manager was not even there to watch.
For the Chelsea boss's halo, if one ever existed, had slipped another notch after he was sent from the touchline in disgrace following another unseemly brush with officialdom.
Chelsea fans will not care a jot. After all, in his first season, Mourinho had just brought the club their first trophy in five years and only the 10th major success in their entire history.
However, just days after refusing to speak publicly after his defeat to Barcelona, amid complaints at Anders Frisk's conduct in the Nou Camp, he again courted controversy in the Millennium Stadium.
This time around, Mourinho, who was earlier warned for berating Liverpool players, was censured for seemingly inciting their fans by putting a finger to his lips after their late equaliser.
That came 12 minutes from time when Steven Gerrard, the one player Mourinho had failed to sign last summer, inadvertently headed the Blues back into contention with an own goal to equalise John Arne Riise's early strike.
Mourinho was immediately sent off and let himself and his club down in the process. What is more, he missed a fantastic finale.
For with Drogba and Kezman on target from close range, Chelsea completed a remarkable recovery and not even a late goal by Antonio Nunez was enough to halt them.
The 'blip', following consecutive defeats by Newcastle and Barcelona had been laid to rest, even if a whole new can of worms over Mourinho's behaviour had been opened.
Then again, he had shown one side of character before kick-off when Carlo Cudicini, who was denied a promised start by suspension, was allowed to lead the Chelsea team out.
However, his first-choice goalkeeper, Petr Cech, found himself picking the ball out of the back of his net with just 45 seconds gone inside the Millennium Stadium.
Chelsea's defence may have been the cornerstone of their progress this season but they remained uncharacteristically rooted to the spot as Fernando Morientes arced over a searching deep cross.
Riise was unmarked at the far post, although the Norwegian still needed to produce a thunderous first-time volley to leave Cech rooted to the spot.
Gerrard responded by setting the example in winning his first full-blooded 50-50 tackle with Frank Lampard.
And with Luis Garcia in behind Morientes, Liverpool were able to pressurise Chelsea's three-man central midfield, with Lampard's influence curtailed.
It was left to Joe Cole to provide Chelsea's impetus but there was precious little of that as Jerzy Dudek did well to divert Drogba's shot around the post from the midfielder's through-ball.
Jamie Carragher was otherwise in commanding form, even if central defensive colleague Sami Hyypia came close to being sent off just after the break.
Hyypia, who had already been booked, brought down Cole and referee Steve Bennett looked set to issue another yellow card before realising what this would entail.
Hyypia instead escaped and Mourinho started to lose his temper as he berated both Luis Garcia and Carragher from the touchline as the match grew in intensity.
The Chelsea boss had nevertheless already influenced the outcome with his introduction of Eidur Gudjohnsen at half-time, replacing the ineffective Jiri Jarosik.
Gudjohnsen re-energised his team as Chelsea laid siege to the Liverpool goal, even if Steve Finnan denied Drogba and Dudek conjured up a fantastic double save from first Gudjohnsen and then William Gallas.
Liverpool were sitting deep and defending hard, although Cech still needed to foil Dietmar Hamann on a rare counter-attack.
Benitez increased the pressure by bringing on Milan Baros and, just moments later, Gerrard came agonisingly close to putting his side 2-0 up only to divert Nunez's cross inches wide.
Terry also just denied Baros, but it was Chelsea who broke away next and, after Hamann had brought down Lampard in full flight, the Blues duly equalised.
Gerrard jumped highest to meet Paulo Ferreira's flighted delivery but succeeded only in diverting the ball past Dudek.
Mourinho could not contain his celebrations and was dismissed from the touchline. Still Chelsea pressed, however, and Dudek needed to performed further miracles to keep Duff at bay.
The Poland international was injured in the process and, with his side's three substitutes already on, it was a nervous wait for Benitez before he carried on.
Lampard shot wide, but so too did Baros, as the match was taken into extra-time.
Both sides continued to trade blows thereafter, with Drogba striking the post with a header, while Biscan nodded an effort just over the top.
Just a minute into the second period of extra-time, Hyypia failed to cut out substitute Glen Johnson's long throw and Drogba bundled the ball over the goal-line from close range.
Tensions threatened to boil over as Hamann and Claude Makelele were warned after a shoving match, but Chelsea struck again.
Dudek failed to hold Gudjohnsen's fierce cross and Kezman succeeded in prodding the ball just over the line before the keeper could react in time.
Liverpool rallied immediately, with Nunez just beating Cech to a header as he flicked the ball into the net.
However, Chelsea held out - and Mourinho was guaranteed a hero's reception from the Chelsea fans when he finally reappeared after the final whistle.