Petr Cech column: How I made that save in 2012 FA Cup final and why it helped us win in Munich

Petr Cech looks back and forward in his column today, first remembering the FA Cup final he contested with Liverpool a decade ago and the extraordinary save he pulled off to preserve our lead, and then previewing yet another momentous weekend for Chelsea Football Club.

In the 2012 FA Cup final, Chelsea had led 2-0 but Andy Carroll scored soon after coming on and was leading the Reds’ charge for an equaliser. There were less than 10 minutes remaining when Cech did this...

Before the cross comes in you look where the biggest danger is, and it was at the back post. I knew Andy Carroll was there. As soon as the ball was crossed, I had only one thing in my mind. I had to go as fast as I could because he was there to head it.

I tried to cover the space. The key was to get the timing of the save right. I managed to set myself to push up the moment he headed the ball. The reaction was perfect, and just in time. The ball could have gone anywhere, but I got there just in time to push it up before it had crossed the line entirely.

I knew I had to get the ball up. That was the only way to get it out, off the bar. If the ball had crossed the line, I would have got it up but it would have hit the back off the crossbar and gone back towards the net. That is why I was sure it was not a goal. Even when you watch it back, you can see a small part of the ball was not entirely in.

It was a great decision from the assistant referee. He was put under huge pressure, and this was at the Liverpool end of the stadium, remember. He had this feeling it didn’t cross, and I had my feelings. I told him afterwards ‘well done, you were not pushed by anyone. The ball definitely didn’t cross because I wouldn’t have been able to push it out’. But then when I was walking to the bus after all the media, I was thinking maybe it could have crossed, I don’t know!

Ivanovic’s intervention

It was a fantastic save for many reasons. I used the information I had, I did the right thing in moving really fast, I got the contact off the ball completely perfect, my timing completely perfect.

Had this gone in, I think we would have lost the game. They had just scored to make it 2-1, they put us under pressure and then if this goes on, there’s 10 minutes to play at 2-2 and it would have been very difficult. It was a big moment in the game as well. It’s certainly a save to remember.

I was so worried Ivanovic wasn’t going to find the ball and Kuyt just puts it in. Or when Branna was turning he kicks it in himself. He did really well. When I was on the floor, I was screaming ‘BEHIND!’ at him because I could see he was searching for the ball. He found it, and even had time to take two touches and clear it.

The upshot of victory

The season had gone completely wrong, we had finished outside of the top four which was not the standard we set at Chelsea. Strange things had happened during the season. Things were not completely right, but we had two games to save our season: this final and the Champions League final. We had a lot of pressure coming into this game.

I believe winning that FA Cup final was the key for the Champions League preparation. After we won the Cup, which a lot of people thought we wouldn’t, we got a new kick of belief. The season had been difficult but after all that, we won a trophy. It showed us everything was possible. Why couldn’t we win in Munich now?

Liverpool, again

This season we have always risen to the level of Liverpool’s performance. We have matched them in terms of intensity, speed and pressing. That’s why these games have been so entertaining and of such high quality.

The League Cup final went to a crazy ending with us on the wrong side, but we believe we can have better luck this time. We are aware our performance must be really strong to beat them, everybody knows it, and the players are preparing for it.

Our history makers

It’s another big weekend for the club, with Chelsea Women playing Man City in the Women’s FA Cup final on Sunday. They reached their first target with a dramatic second half and great performance against United to secure yet another title. It was absolutely amazing. Well done to Emma and her staff and the players for achieving the title. To win three in a row is amazing, and to have done it different circumstances – with fans, without fans, the sanctions – is great. It’s nice to create history.

Now the FA Cup final takes on an extra meaning when you have won the league because winning the Double is special. Hopefully the fans will show up to support the team in big numbers and we can celebrate more silverware.

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