Featured Matches
Previous
Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Bayern Munich
VfL Wolfsburg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Evian Thonon Gaillard
Paris Saint-Germain
0
0
FT
Game Details
US Pescara
Chievo Verona
1
0
FT
Game Details
Guimaraes
FC Penafiel
3
0
FT
Game Details
FC Dallas
Real Salt Lake
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
U.A.N.L
ESPNDeportes 12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
VfL Wolfsburg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Evian Thonon Gaillard
Paris Saint-Germain
0
0
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Forest Green Rovers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
US Pescara
Chievo Verona
1
0
FT
Game Details
Heidenheimer SB
TSV 1860 Munich
2
2
FT
Game Details
RB Leipzig
FC Erzgebirge Aue
1
0
FT
Game Details
St Pauli
SV Sandhausen
2
1
FT
Game Details
AC Ajaccio
Tours
1
0
FT
Game Details
Angers
Chateauroux
1
1
FT
Game Details
Arles
Sochaux
2
2
FT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Nimes
0
0
FT
Game Details
Clermont Foot
Ajaccio GFCO
3
4
FT
Game Details
Créteil
Niort
1
1
FT
Game Details
Orléans
Brest
1
0
FT
Game Details
Troyes
Stade Laval
0
0
FT
Game Details
Valenciennes
Le Havre AC
0
4
FT
Game Details
SC Heracles Almelo
Cambuur Leeuwarden
0
1
FT
Game Details
Almere City
Jong FC Twente
0
1
FT
Game Details
FC Den Bosch
RKC Waalwijk
2
3
FT
Game Details
FC Emmen VV
Jong PSV
5
0
FT
Game Details
Helmond Sport
FC Oss
2
1
FT
Game Details
Jong Ajax
FC Volendam
0
5
FT
Game Details
MVV Maastricht
Sparta Rotterdam
0
2
FT
Game Details
NEC Nijmegen
Fortuna Sittard
5
1
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
FC Eindhoven
2
1
FT
Game Details
SC Stormvogels Telstar
Achilles '29
2
0
FT
Game Details
VVV Venlo
De Graafschap
1
0
FT
Game Details
Guimaraes
FC Penafiel
3
0
FT
Game Details
Terek Grozny
FC Arsenal Tula
3
0
FT
Game Details
Racing Genk
KAA Gent
3
2
FT
Game Details
Mjallby
Helsingborg
1
2
FT
Game Details
Sandnes Ulf
Viking FK
2
2
FT
Game Details
FC Dallas
Real Salt Lake
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
U.A.N.L
ESPNDeportes 12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Toluca
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Newi Cefn Druids
Aberystwyth
0
5
FT
Game Details
Prestatyn Town
Connah's Quay
3
2
FT
Game Details
T.N.S.
Bangor City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
1
0
LIVE 71'
Game Details
Tigre
Racing Club
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
Coras Tepic
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Oaxaca
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Correcaminos
Dorados de Sinaloa
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
América Mineiro
AA Ponte Preta
1
0
LIVE 11'
Game Details
Oeste
Boa MG
1
0
LIVE 1'
Game Details
Icasa
CR Vasco da Gama
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Santiago Wanderers
Audax Italiano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Rentistas
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Liga de Loja
Club Deportivo Cuenca
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad De Costa Rica
Pumas Generalena
3
1
FT
Game Details
Honduras Progreso
Platense
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 5 hours ago
Read
May 5, 2012

Di Matteo makes his mark

As the blue confetti flew around Wembley, as an exuberant John Obi Mikel rugby-tackled Salomon Kalou, as a jubilant John Terry drank champagne from the FA Cup and, ever the showman, Didier Drogba posed for the cameras with a knowing insouciance, Roberto Di Matteo attempted to retain his characteristic calm.

Until he was hoisted and thrown into the air by his players, he succeeded. Except in the immediate aftermath of the most improbable of victories over Barcelona, Di Matteo prefers the understated approach. He is a man who appears quietly amused by the world around him. And yet, rather than being the detached bystander he can seem, he is changing Chelsea. Not so much by winning the FA Cup - this is the happiest of habits, with four triumphs in six years, each with Didier Drogba on the scoresheet but a different manager in the dugout - but by reviving a club in the midst of a messy civil war two months ago.

This is where comparisons with the previous interim coach to guide Chelsea to a Champions League final, Avram Grant, fall down. The Israeli inherited a team that ran on autopilot; Di Matteo was bequeathed one that was in a state of disrepair.

But by encouraging and alternating, he has transformed them. Victory at Wembley may have been secured by the finest of margins - Andy Carroll's header appeared a matter of millimetres from crossing the line - but it had Di Matteo's mark on it.

Management is about many things but, whether team talks, training or tactics, it is about judgement. The Italian's has been impeccable, as Chelsea's goals illustrated. Every participant in both strikes owed something to Di Matteo. They have been recalled, relocated and rejuvenated by him. They have responded to him.

First Juan Mata, moved from the left wing into a central playmaking role by Di Matteo, guided a pass past Jose Enrique for the rampaging Ramires, moved from the middle to the right. The Brazilian is banned for the Champions League final; he has already had his Roy Keane moment, scoring in the Nou Camp a matter of minutes after collecting the costly caution. This was his Paul Scholes moment, the FA Cup final goal of a man deprived of a bigger stage.

For the second, Mikel and Frank Lampard, two who fell out of favour with Andre Villas-Boas, combined before, with the old guard in perfect harmony, the latter picked out Drogba to drill his shot past Pepe Reina. As he was against Barcelona, Drogba remains a Chelsea manager's go-to guy on the major occasion. Or, at least, he does if he respects the manager in question and Di Matteo has earned the Ivorian's approval. So, too, that of the other Chelsea pensioners. The axis of Lampard and Drogba, the scorers last time the Londoners faced Liverpudlian opponents in an FA Cup final, remains intact, no matter how often an era without either is mooted.

But Di Matteo's success means that, as they often do, Chelsea have postponed the future. They are a club consumed by the present. The revolution has been put on hold by a group of players seizing their last opportunity. Ageing legs tired in the final half hour, when Liverpool launched an onslaught, but none are busier right now, none playing for a greater prize.

While denying Liverpool a cup double, Chelsea hope for two trophies of their own. Some 26 years ago, they were the vanquished side on the day the Merseysiders capped Kenny Dalglish's first season in charge by securing the Division One title (the FA Cup was to follow later). It provided one of the abiding images of the Scot's career, the player-manager-cum-scorer sitting with a smile born of exhaustion and exhilaration in the Stamford Bridge dressing room. When the final whistle went, he offered another impression; older, obviously, but shaken and saddened, a man struggling to deal with his disappointment. He seemed to be looking back in sadness.

Management is about decision-making and Dalglish made the game-changing substitution. The introduction of Carroll may not quite have turned his team from insipid to inspired, but it came close. Liverpool threatened little without their premier Drogba impressionist and a lot after his introduction. And yet, in its own way, that invited criticism: why did he not start?

The answer, perhaps, lay in a cautious approach. A counter-attacking gameplan had served Liverpool well against Chelsea during Dalglish's second reign; here, however, there was little threat on the break.

The principle of safety in numbers may have been dictated by the personnel available: Steven Gerrard apart, it was not a distinguished midfield. Too many lack the quality of their Chelsea counterparts, whether the invention of Mata, the dynamism of Ramires or the goalscoring habit of Lampard. It may have provided food for thought for the watching owner John W Henry, the man who authorised the £20 million move for Stewart Downing and the £16 million signing of Jordan Henderson.

With piercing honesty, Gerrard had said Liverpool's season would be analysed after - and, in effect, on the basis of - the FA Cup final. With endearing but misplaced modesty, Dalglish had said that his debt to Liverpool is too great for him ever to fully repay it. Now iconic club, legendary player and manager face a decision: what more do they have to give each other?

Follow Richard Jolly on Twitter @RichJolly

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.