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The BBC's Alan Green
"di Matteo pounced from a couple of yards"
 real 28k

Aston Villa manager, John Gregory
"I cannot fault David James"
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Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Chelsea triumph in Wembley finale
Chelsea fans celebrate beneath the twin towers
Chelsea fans are revelling in the glory of winning the 2000 FA Cup with a 1-0 triumph over Aston Villa - the last club to do so beneath the famous twin towers of Wembley.

A mass of fireworks greeted the two teams as they stepped out onto the pitch - but it took until the second half to prompt a sparkle from the bookmakers' favourites, Chelsea.

It is the best possible way for us to finish a season

Gianluc Vialli

The deadlock was broken in the 73rd minute by Roberto di Matteo, who three years ago had scored the quickest goal in an FA Cup final.

Chelsea's victory is the club's second in four years.

Fan stabbed

It later emerged that a supporter was stabbed shortly before the kick off for the final.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said the 37-year-old Chelsea fan from London was stabbed in the back in Engineers Way.

He was taken to nearby Northwick Park hospital but later discharged, she added.

No one was arrested in connection with the incident. A total of 33 people were arrested for alleged minor offences, the spokeswoman added.

Villa started as underdogs

Hopes of an exciting match had been high as Aston Villa and Chelsea, both in the top six of the Premiership, had everything to play for.

Gianluca Vialli's side were determined to secure a place in next season's Uefa Cup.

Gianluca Vialli
Di Matteo scores: Chelsea fans celebrate behind the club's manager

Villa boss John Gregory knew his Midlands team were starting as underdogs but was confident his team had enough talent to secure their first FA Cup win since 1957.

However the strain showed after 30 minutes as he took his place on the touchline instead of his usual seat in the stands.

Chelsea turned up the pressure in the second half with two blasts on goal by George Weah and a disallowed goal by captain Dennis Wise.

Roberto di Matteo punished Villa's lack of ideas as he got on the end of a free kick ball from within a scrum of players gathered at the goalmouth.

Celebrations expected

"It is the best possible way for us to finish a season," said Vialli.

"Now we can go on holiday and rest."

Claret and blue: Aston Villa fans will be drowning their sorrows

Captain Dennis Wise, the only English player in Chelsea's starting line-up, said he was pleased for the fans who will be out in force on the Fulham Road on Sunday.

"It is fantastic for the punters and us as a club," he said.

"The first half was very scrappy but we're over the moon about it."

Chelsea players grabbed family and friends out of the crowd to join them in the celebrations with the sought-after silverware.

Crowd join in swan song

The 79,000-strong crowd were in high spirits throughout the game, which many had expected to go on to extra time.

Before the match, they joined opera singer Lesley Garrett in the Wembley anthem Abide With Me, accompanied by the Mass Military Bands.

They were also in good voice for the National Anthem, unfamiliar to most of the Chelsea squad.

The match is the final FA Cup clash at the ground before it is torn down to make way for a controversial 475m national stadium.

Fans wanting to see the landmark towers after the redevelopment may have to console themselves with the 150,000-brick scale-model at the Legoland theme park near Windsor.

But Wembley will perhaps be remembered for more sparkling games than the 2000 FA Cup final.

Paul Gascoigne's England goal against Scotland, or Sir Geoff Hurst's vital goal against Germany in the 1966 World Cup would have been more fitting tributes to the ground's swan song.

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See also:

13 May 00 | FA Cup
Aston Villa squad guide
13 May 00 | FA Cup
Roads to Wembley
13 May 00 | FA Cup
Chelsea squad guide
20 May 00 | FA Cup
Chelsea claim FA Cup glory
20 May 00 | FA Cup
Wembley clockwatch
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