Chelsea Completes Double Against Portsmouth
It seems an appropriate ending for the English Premier League's best and worst team to face off in a match to decide the winner of the FA Cup. That the game was so strange was fitting as well.
For Portsmouth, it marked possibly the last shining moment their franchise might see for a long time. After a season rife with turmoil that will now see them relegated and working to dig out of one of the biggest financial holes any team has ever seen.
For Chelsea, a season flying high was coming to a close with a potential cakewalk opportunity to take home the FA title. In already winning the EPL title, they had been dominant, setting a new league record for most goals scored in a season while posting an incredible eight wins by four or more goals.
To the surprise of many, the game was incredibly close, though that was as much a factor of wasted opportunities as anything else. Chelsea drove shots awry like it was their job, including a simple chip shot from Nikolas Kalou that drifted up off the crossbar instead of into the net, and a free kick from Didier Drogba that bounced off the underside of the crossbar and didn't quite cross the goal line before being cleared..
Pompey had little going all game, managing only two total shots, but didn't need much with all the opportunities the Blues were wasting. In the 55th minute, Kevin Prince-Boateng lined up for the penalty kick that his team had earned, and it seemed that after such a horrid season, Portsmouth could finally have one moment to hang their season on.
Alas, it wasn't to be, as Boateng fooled Chelsea keeper Petr Cech and had him leaning very early, but kicked it right at him. Three minutes later, Drogba finally won his game-long battle with the posts and put away a goal that would be the decisive margin in a 1-0 victory.
For Portsmouth, they now face an off-season of heavy change, which I'd imagine can only be a good thing, while Chelsea - after becoming the seventh team ever and first since Arsenal in 2002 to win both the EPL and FA titles - can head their respective ways for the World CUp teeming with confidence.
Except perhaps for Michael Ballack. One of Chelsea's leaders, and the current captain of Germany's squad that is destined for South Africa, left the game shortly before halftime after a strong tackle by Boateng, and did not return. Hopes are that the ankle injury he suffered are not serious, and that his - and Germany's - World Cup hopes will not suffer as a result.