Chelsea wins UEFA Champions league final in Munich

Didier Drogba was the Chelsea hero as Roman Abramovich finally completed his Champions League odyssey in Munich.

Trailing Thomas Muller’s late header, Drogba first saved the Blues by heading them level in the 88th minute.

Then, after Arjen Robben has missed from the spot in extra-time, Drogba kept his nerve after Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger had failed in the shoot-out to ensure Chelsea erased the memory of their misery in 2008 by conquering Europe for the first time.

Roberto di Matteo has delivered the trophy Abramovich spent the thick end of £2billion to win.

From his place in the stands, the Russian was clearly overjoyed, as was the suspended John Terry, who watched the tense shoot-out unfold from the touchline, on roughly the same spot he had prowled three hours earlier.

It was the most visual example of the damage Chelsea did to themselves by getting four men suspended in that backs-to-the-wall semi-final epic with Barcelona.

And once the game started, it was just the kind of blood and guts encounter Terry excels in. Assisted by the obvious advantage of playing at home, Bayern got themselves on the front foot immediately and were rarely pushed back.

The nearest they came was when former Chelsea man Arjen Robben glided past two defenders, then drilled a low shot towards goal, which Petr Cech managed to deflect high onto a post, with Robben barely able to believe he had failed.

Indeed, they might have had something to celebrate themselves had Juan Mata kept his curling free-kick down or Salomon Kalou been able to direct a shot away from Manuel Neuer after Frank Lampard and Drogba combined to set him up from an admittedly acute angle.

The pattern continued after half-time and Ribery thought he had grabbed a deserved opener when he snaffled the loose ball after Cole had blocked Robben’s goalbound shot. The offside flag cut German celebrations short.

Cole’s involvement was part of an outstanding contribution from the full-back, who seemed to be in the way of nearly all the threats to Chelsea’s goal.

He denied both Robben and Toni Kroos as Chelsea, enhancing his status one of the few truly world class players Roy Hodgson will have at his disposal at Euro 2012.

In response, Drogba, possibly making his last appearance for the club, unleashed a speculative long-range volley that dipped narrowly wide.

The sense of Chelsea disappointment at Bayern finally breaching their defences must have been made more acute by the knowledge that when Kroos curled a cross beyond the far post, there appeared very little danger.

Muller intelligently headed the ball hard and down, which meant it bounced up towards the crossbar, possibly catching Cech by surprise as he seemed in the perfect position to prevent it ending up in the net. But Abramovich’s team are made of stern stuff.

And with barely a minute remaining, and Muller replaced by an extra defender in Daniel van Buyten, Drogba rose at the near post to power Mata’s corner home.

This time there was nothing the goalkeeper could do, the ball speeding past Neuer at such pace, from so close, there was no time for reaction.

The drama continued into extra-time as Drogba bundled Ribery over in the box.

Whilst the contact might not have looked much, it was enough to end the Frenchman’s evening.

Robben seemed unaffected by the delay as his penalty headed for the bottom corner. Cech was equal to it though, making a superb save to his left and then smothering the rebound.

It was the kind of moment that made you think fate had decreed a Chelsea win, a belief only strengthened by Bayern passing up two clear openings in the second period of those additional 30 minutes.

As Di Matteo pointed out yesterday, you make your own luck. He deserves praise for hauling round a season that appeared to be heading for disaster in February.

And the only ones not acclaiming that achievement were Tottenham, who in a cruel twist are now denied a place in next season’s Champions League.

Heynckes wary of Drogba’s acting talent on pitch

Bayern Munich Coach Jupp Neynckes has been full praises for top Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba for his prowess on the field of play and for his scoring abilities.

Playing mind games ahead of the Champions League final which will be played at the Allianz Arena in Munich tomorrow, Hynckes said Drogba is an outstanding actor in the field of play despite skill and goal scoring ability.

As Chelsea are itching to clinch their first European title, it has however been decided that Drogba will be spearheading the Chelsea attack.

The 34-year-old Ivory Coast striker underlined his reputation as a big game player by scoring his eighth goal in eight appearances at Wembley to help beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final earlier this month.

With a total of 33 Champions League goals to his credit, including the crucial winner in the semi-final first leg against Barcelona, Drogba knows how to put pressure on referees and Heynckes said his team must pay close attention to the powerful forward.

Heynckes openly admitted that Drogba is a dangerous player when it comes to goal scoring and he is not to be underestimated because he is one of the top strikers in the Premier League who do damage to a squad at any moment in the field of play.

Where there was but for the Bayern Munich coach was in terms acting in the field of play saying the Ivorien is an outstanding actor but sometimes he overdoes his acting.

He said his team will play and mark down all the players in the Blues squad and not focus specially on any player.

‘Focusing solely on Drogba would be a mistake with plenty of talent packed into the Chelsea ranks’.

The Blues will be without Captain John Terry, midfielders Raul Meireles, Ramires and defender Branislav Ivanovic, who are all suspended, but Heynckes is wary of their replacements.

Bayern are bidding to become the first team since Inter Milan in 1965 to win the European title in their own stadium and Munich is a sea of red and white flags as the Bavarian capital eagerly awaits seeing their heroes in action.

“The likes of (Juan) Mata, (Frank) Lampard, Daniel Sturridge and (Salomon) Kalou, all these players are at the top level, so it would be amiss to focus on just one player, Torres too, has improved enormously over the last few weeks, so it’s not just about Drogba.” said Heynckes.

Likewise, Bayern expect to have wing Arjen Robben fit, despite the Dutch winger only returning to training for 45 minutes on Thursday after struggling with a cold.

“He trained for 45 minutes yesterday and he should be able to play.”

Chelsea defeats Liverpool 2- 1 to lift FA Cup

A beleaguered season seems to be ending in a fairy tale for Chelsea FC as it lifted the FA Cup at Wembley stadium with goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba.

The Brazilian opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when he latched on to a long ball from Juan Mata and fired past Pepe Reina.

Drogba scored Chelsea’s second just after the break, becoming the first player to score in four FA Cup finals.

Andy Carroll fired Liverpool back into the contest with a fine finish just eight minutes after coming on as a substitute.

The £35 million striker thought he had levelled matters with less than 10 minutes remaining but his header was adjudged not to have crossed the line as Chelsea’s keeper Petr Cech displayed some brilliant reflexes by deflecting his header on to the bar. Carroll turned away to lead Liverpool’s insistent protests that the ball had crossed the line but referee Phil Dowd and assistant referee Andrew Garratt waved play on, with even a succession of replays proving inconclusive.

Chelsea survived and can now turn their attentions to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Germany later this month as they face an increasingly arduous task to finish in the Premier League’s top four.

As Di Matteo celebrated and captain John Terry raised the trophy, the Italian increased his claims to become the permanent successor to Andre Villas-Boas by landing a trophy.

For Liverpool, their season will now be regarded as a relative disappointment after failure to add the FA Cup to the Carling Cup and not mounting a challenge to reach the Champions League places.

The final started with £85m worth of striking talent on the bench as Carroll was a Liverpool substitute and Chelsea’s Fernando Torres missed out on a starting place against his former club.

The Reds were on the back foot early on when a catalogue of defensive errors led to Ramires giving Chelsea the lead. Jay Spearing conceded possession in midfield and Ramires escaped Jose Enrique far too easily before scoring at the near post with a shot Reina should have saved