Pompey At The FA Cup Final
So having never been to the new Wembley stadium, let alone an FA Cup Final, I thought I'd better become the envy of pretty much every bloke I know and go along. I couldn't pass up the chance to see Portsmouth take on Chelsea.
I decided to drive to Ruislip and get the Tube in to Wembley Park - which was just as well because there were big problems on the trains this morning, I believe because of a wheelie bin left on the line somewhere.
The excitement of walking up Wembley Way is just incredible; it was packed with Portsmouth and Chelsea fans all good-naturedly singing and chanting, with Wembley Stadium as a very impressive backdrop.
The moment you walk out and see the pitch is unforgettable. Wembley is stunning, and the build-up to kick-off makes the atmosphere even more exciting.
Faryl Smith sang the National Anthem, Prince William made a presentation, then huge flaming torches spat fire into the air all around the pitch. The teams walked out to thunderous applause, then a few minutes later the match was on.
For most of the first half, Chelsea were attacking hard, and had so many shots bounce off the post it only seemed a matter of time before they'd be in the lead. There was some drama after Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boeteng was yellow carded for a tackle which put Michael Ballack out of the game with an injured ankle. But at half time it was still 0-0, and despite being under pressure, Pompey had managed to hold off the Blues.
Then it was off for a hot roll and some ice cream in the Media area, which is quite impressive. As you'd expect, it was packed with sports journalists from all over the world.
So the teams came back out after half time, and within a few minutes, Pompey won a penalty. But Boeteng's shot was saved, to the agony of the Portsmouth fans - and shortly afterwards (59 minutes) Didier Drogba scored to put Chelsea 1-0 ahead. As a consolation, Chelsea also missed a penalty.
Portsmouth carried on fighting, but it wasn't to be, and Chelsea won the double they wanted with 1-nil the final score.
Speaking to Portsmouth fans as they filed dejectedly out of the stadium, they all seemed resigned to losing the game - but were universally "gutted" at Boeteng missing that penalty. Who knows how that match might have turned out if he'd scored?
The Pompey fans had sung their hearts out throughout the match - and were definitely louder than the Chelsea supporters, especially considering the media area was surrounded by Blues fans. They'd done their team proud, and were all happy that they'd made it as far as a Cup Final in their turbulent season.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day out, a Cup Final at Wembley is definitely an experience not to be missed!
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