Chelsea 2 Middlesbrough 0 – FA Cup Final (17 May 1997)
Number 9 in our countdown of the most-exciting matches is the 1997 FA Cup final vs. Middlesbrough. Chelsea might be used to the hardware now, but back then, the club was trying to win its first major trophy in 26 years. Relive the electrifying atmosphere that day at Wembley.
In the five weeks between the semi-final and final, anticipation grew for a chance at a long-awaited trophy for the club. The eyes of the world were on this match, too. International representation was at an all-time high with players from 10 different countries between both teams. Plus, Ruud Gullit was the first foreign manager to lead a team at an FA Cup final.
When the day finally came, it was a balmy afternoon in north-west London. If Blues supporters were holding their breaths at the first whistle, they certainly let out sighs of relief 43 seconds later. It was a stunning goal by Roberto Di Matteo to begin the match – one of the most iconic goals in Chelsea history.
The Blues were off to a brilliant start, but Boro didn’t let up. Before half-time, Gianluca Festa was ruled offside and his goal was disallowed, a fortunate break for Chelsea. Shortly after, Steve Vickers found himself some space and needed only to outmaneuver Frode Grodas. Skillfully, the goalkeeper stopped his effort.
The second half was tense, but with 7 minutes remaining, Eddie Newton scored with a sharp pass from Gianfranco Zola to confirm the victory. One of the greatest football stages in the world, Wembley stadium, erupted in euphoric cheers. For the first time, Chelsea were FA Cup champions.
This match was a vital point in the history of the club, and it ushered in a new era for the club. Chelsea was on the rise again! Learn more about the Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough 1997 FA Cup final. Then, check out our #8 Chelsea match pick.
Previous Matches In Our Countdown: See the #10 Match
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