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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 19:55 GMT
Arsenal lift FA Cup
Thierry Henry celebrates with Freddie Ljungberg after the Swede scores for the second final in a row
Ljungberg created a piece of FA Cup final history
Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea

Arsenal produced two moments of stunning quality to seal part one of a domestic double by lifting the FA Cup against Chelsea in Cardiff.

Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg scored spectacular second-half goals out of keeping with a disappointing final in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to sink their London neighbours.

Parlour struck a brilliant opener after 69 minutes and in-form Ljungberg unleashed an even better strike nine minutes later to clinch Arsenal's victory with a flourish.

The Swede is the first man to score in successive Cup finals since Bobby Smith for Tottenham 40 years ago.

The win allowed Arsene Wenger's men to ease the disappointment of last year's FA Cup final defeat against Liverpool.

It also puts Arsenal on the brink of total domestic domination as they stand just one point away from the Premiership title and a repeat of their 1998 Double.

Chelsea, in contrast, were left devastated and reflecting on a failed fitness gamble on main marksman Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Hasselbaink was a major doubt in the build-up with a calf injury and cut a desolate figure as he struggled before being substituted in the second half.

Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri endured mixed medical bulletins as he finalised his team selection.

Hasselbaink and Graeme Le Saux were passed fit but John Terry was only able to fill a place on the substitutes' bench after waking up with a virus that affected his balance.

Henry escapes Chelsea's Desailly and Petit
Wenger predictably restored goalkeeper David Seaman in place of Richard Wright, while fit-again Sol Campbell got the nod over Martin Keown in central defence.

Le Saux showed there were no lingering after-effects from his calf strain by clattering into Lauren with a head high challenge in the second minute to deservedly earn a booking from referee Mike Riley.

It was a rare moment of passion in a desperately poor opening 45 minutes which saw two of the Premiership heavyweights failing to trade any meaningful blows.

Dennis Bergkamp should have scored after 21 minutes when he headed over the top from Patrick Vieira's pass with Carlo Cudicini stranded.

Parlour strikes home Arsenal's opener
Arsenal created the best chance of the half after 37 minutes but Sylvain Wiltord's cross was headed over by Lauren.

Chelsea goalkeeper Cudicini demonstrated why he is so highly rated with a brilliant close range save from Thierry Henry seconds after the interval, as the game finally came to life.

It was the signal for Chelsea to finally put Arsenal under serious pressure, with Eidur Gudjohnsen forcing a brilliant save out of Seaman with an angled drive.

We are delighted - and now we must concentrate for two more games

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Hasselbaink was little more than a passenger and it was no surprise when he was removed in favour of Gianfranco Zola after 67 minutes.

But it was Arsenal who took the lead two minutes later, courtesy of a magnificent strike from Parlour.

Adams and Wiltord paved the way, but there was still much for Parlour to do when he received the ball.

Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri: Animated in defeat
He raced forward and sent the Arsenal fans into ecstasy by curling a stunning right foot drive into Cudicini's top corner from 25 yards.

And Arsenal effectively got their hands on the trophy when Ljungberg scored a goal that topped even Parlour's for quality.

The Swede ran from the half-way line before arriving on the edge of the penalty and curling a precision finish past Cudicini.

Arsenal conceded a late lead against Liverpool last season but there was no mistake this time as they survived comfortably to lift the trophy.

Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Campbell, Adams, Cole, Wiltord (Keown 90), Parlour, Vieira, Ljungberg, Bergkamp (Edu 72), Henry (Kanu 81).
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Wright.

Booked: Vieira, Henry.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot (Zenden 76), Gallas, Desailly, Babayaro (Terry 45), Gronkjaer, Lampard, Petit, Le Saux, Gudjohnsen, Hasselbaink (Zola 68).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Jokanovic.

Booked: Le Saux, Terry, Gudjohnsen.

Att: 73,963

Ref: M Riley (Leeds).

BBC Five Live's Mike Ingham
"It was harsh on Chelsea"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"The team has character"
Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri
"We had chances to win"
Who scored the best goal for Arsenal?

Ray Parlour

Freddie Ljungberg

18591 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
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Glory for Arsenal

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The road to Cardiff


See also:

08 Oct 01 | Arsenal
01 Feb 02 | Chelsea
04 May 02 | Photo Galleries
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.

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