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Drogba's goal clinches FA Cup, double for Chelsea

WEMBLEY, England (AP) — Didier Drogba scored his 37th goal of the season Saturday to give Chelsea a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup final and complete the Premier League champion's first domestic double.

Chelsea hit the frame of the goal five times and Portsmouth missed a penalty before Drogba curled a free kick in off the post in the 59th minute.

"It's fantastic we achieved the double — it was difficult to come back and stay focused for this game because last week we celebrated the title," Drogba said. "You start to think that you won't score ... I saw a little gap. I hit the post again, but it went in this time."

Chelsea's Salomon Kalou missed an easy chance in the first half, hitting the ball against the crossbar six yards in front of an open goal.

Portsmouth could have gone in front just before Drogba's opener when Kevin-Prince Boateng's weak penalty kick was saved by Petr Cech's legs.

But Frank Lampard also missed a late penalty for Chelsea, with the England midfielder dragging the ball wide.

That Portsmouth went so long in this tournament, in this game, was unexpected.

The 129th final pitted one of English football's wealthiest clubs — Roman Abramovich-bankrolled Chelsea — against Portsmouth, which has been relegated from the Premier League and is still fighting for its very existence while in bankruptcy protection.

"It's a day that I am very proud and very sad — proud because we could win the game," said Portsmouth manager Avram Grant, who is set to leave the club. "We closed them (down), we played tactically very well, we gave everything."

Recent demolitions by Chelsea, which ended the championship-winning league season with a 8-0 rout of Wigan, prompted fears that this could be the most one-sided final in decades.

Chelsea was unchanged from last weekend and took less than four minutes to threaten the Portsmouth goal.

Lampard struck just wide from the edge of the penalty area and he unleashed a dipping strike that hit the goal frame 10 minutes later.

Having survived intense Chelsea pressure for 20 minutes, Portsmouth was only prevented from taking a shock lead by Cech's reflex save.

Boateng's deflected volley reached Frederic Piquionne, but the resulting shot from yards was blocked by Cech.

While fine goalkeeping denied Portsmouth, Chelsea only had itself to blame for not going in front in the 27th.

Ashley Cole had forced goalkeeper David James to the near post before squaring to the unmarked Kalou, who had a completely unguarded goal to tap into from close range, but explicably managed to lift the ball against the bar.

The woodwork also denied John Terry when the Chelsea captain headed against the bar from Florent Malouda's free kick after 30 minutes.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack appeared to injure his right ankle in a late challenge from Boateng — a month before he is set to appear for Germany at the World Cup.

While Ballack was receiving treatment off the pitch — he was eventually replaced by Juliano Belletti — Drogba thought he had given Chelsea the lead with a long-range free kick that just missed.

And the goal frame denied Drogba again just before the break when hit the bottom of the post from a tight angle under pressure from James.

Ten minutes into the second half came Portsmouth's chance to upset the free-scoring champions of England when Belletti was called for bringing down Dindane.

But while Cech wrongly dived early to his right, Boateng's weak penalty shot down the center was blocked by the Czech goalkeeper's legs.

It proved to be a costly miss as Drogba struck the post with a curling free kick within minutes and — unlike on the previous five occasions for Chelsea in the first half — this time the ball went into the net beyond the outstretched James.

"I thought our luck was running out but Didier hit a great free kick," Terry said.

With The Football Association using the match to promote its bid to host the 2018 World Cup, the FIFA voters won't have been impressed to see the national stadium's uneven sandy pitch no better after being relaid for the 11th time in three years after the semifinals.

"It's probably the worst surface I've played on this year," said Terry, whose England team will be hosting Mexico here in a World Cup warmup match on May 24.