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Sunday, March 29, 1998 Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK

Sport: Football

Chelsea do it again
image: [ Chelsea's manager Gianluca Vialli holds the silverware ]
Chelsea's manager Gianluca Vialli holds the silverware

Chelsea 2 Middlesbrough 0 (after extra time)

Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo repeated his heroics of last year's FA Cup final when he finished off Middlesbrough for the second year running.

Gianluca Vialli tells the BBC's John Murray he is delighted (37')
The Italian killed the game 17 minutes into extra time after he added to a headed goal by Frank Sinclair, delivering new manager Gianluca Vialli a place in Europe next season.

Di Matteo created Chelsea's 2-0 win over Boro in the FA Cup last season when he scored after just 43 seconds of play.

This time, the London club had to wait more than 90 minutes to get a breakthrough when they found themselves held back by heroic saves from Mark Schwarzer.

But eventually the Premiership side overwhelmed Middlesbrough who gave as good as they got with some strong fluid football.

The war of attrition finally paid off for Chelsea when they intercepted a one-two between Paul Gascoigne, clearly below match fitness, and Paul Merson.

[ image: Frank Sinclair heads home Chelsea's first]
Frank Sinclair heads home Chelsea's first
Dennis Wise, who was involved in everything Chelsea did, flew down the right wing and powered an astonishingly accurate cross into the box.

It was met by a leaping Sinclair who hammered a clinical header below Mark Schwarzer to take the lead.

Di Matteo made it 2-0 within minutes when Robbie Mustoe failed to pick up a low and slow corner kick.

The ball sailed over Mustoe's head after he appeared to slip and Di Matteo used the underside of his boot to knock the ball under Schwarzer for the second.

Gascoigne debut

Middlesbrough's new signing, Paul Gascoigne, came on in the 64th minute of the game in an attempt to bring some creative football to the midfield.

But he failed to make an impression on anybody but the referee who showed him the yellow card after a tangle with Gianfranco Zola.

The troubled international was clearly out of form and his contribution to the game was largely negligible - though his erratic behaviour reminded many of his sad outing at Wembley in 1991.

Hard fought game

[ image: Le Boeuf challenges Branco in front of De Goey's goal]
Le Boeuf challenges Branco in front of De Goey's goal
In the first 30 minutes both teams played strong, probing football, with Boro starting with the better possession.

But after some early testing runs, led by Paul Merson, Chelsea marshalled the defence and hit back with a volley of attacks on Mark Schwarzer's goal at the other end.

Leicester manager Martin O'Neill tells the BBC's Trevor Brooking Middlesbrough fought hard (29')
After 20 minutes, Chelsea suddenly burst out of their half with a flurry of attacks which pulled Boro's defence to pieces.

The first chance came when Hughes, playing in his 10th final, picked up a perfectly placed left wing cross from Graeme Le Saux, turned and volleyed the ball low towards the net.

Schwarzer, who deserves a consolation prize for his battle between the posts, made his first daring save of the match, diving hard and low to pick up the attempt.

Two minutes later Zola was supplied with the ball on the edge of the box and drove a shot just wide of the goal.

Chelsea's dominance grew as Boro failed to follow up on early promise and even though the second half slowed down, the Londoners continued to build momentum towards the two extra time goals.

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