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Ramsey raid crowns Arsenal comeback in FA Cup final


Jason Burt, London

Gunner glory: FA Cup hero Aaron Ramsey is swamped by teammates after scoring the deciding goal in extra time at Wembley ...

Gunner glory: FA Cup hero Aaron Ramsey is swamped by teammates after scoring the deciding goal in extra time at Wembley Stadium. Photo: AFP

Arsenal 3 Hull City 2

No longer is it 3283 days and counting; no longer is it a nine-year weight that has grown heavier and heavier. Arsenal has its trophy. But after such a long, painful wait it was inevitable this dramatic, raucous FA Cup final went all the way into extra-time. Defeat was cruel on Hull, who could not hold on to its two-goal lead, but ultimately a deserved triumph for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.

There had been an air of dangerous inevitability and assumption about Arsenal in the days leading up to this final; a sense perceived, perhaps unfairly, that the win would be simply claimed and the trophy quest ended. It was not about booking victory parades - as of course it had to provisionally - but about claiming superiority.

After all Arsenal could not, surely, let another one slip away and especially against Hull, in the first final in its history, comfortably beaten twice in the Premier League, and depleted without its two January signings in strikers Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long.

Hull looked defensive with three central defenders but what a trick that proved to be as all three of those centre-halves were involved as Steve Bruce's side scored two precious goals inside an astonishing, stunning opening eight minutes.

The first came as Ahmed Elmohamady sprinted down the right with his cross deflected for a corner. Stephen Quinn took it, swinging the ball deep to Tom Huddlestone on the edge of the penalty area only for the midfielder to miscue his volley. It was squirting wide but the ball ran to James Chester who adjusted his feet to divert it with a smart side-footed shot back across Lukasz Fabianski and into the net. There was disbelief - from all sides of the stadium - and then the celebrations began. Wenger turned on his heels, shaking his head.

He was stunned into angry protests soon after as, extraordinarily, Hull scored again. Once more Arsenal was chaotic, disorganised and lacking any impetus. A disputed free-kick came in, it was headed back by David Meyler and retrieved by Quinn who worked his way to the byline and crossed. The ball was met by Alex Bruce whose header beat Fabianski and came back off the post - and there was Curtis Davies to steer it home from an acute angle. The celebrations this time were instant and even more exuberant.

Arsenal was reeling and almost fell even further behind from another corner. Again it was met by Bruce who headed it back across goal with Fabianski rooted only for Kieran Gibbs to clear off the goal-line. Another goal then and the capitulation would have been complete and the contest over before it had even begun. The recriminations would have been deep.

How Arsenal needed a response. How it then found it. A free-kick was earned 23 metres out and Santi Cazorla stepped up to arc a powerful right-footed effort around a Hull wall which fell away. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor appeared to react late and he was clawing at air as the ball struck the net.

Suddenly the dynamics of a final that was threatening to engulf Arsenal in further trauma had changed. Doubts now surrounded Hull. It made for the most open, unpredictable, chance-laden and, error-strewn final. It was entertaining, but defences were most definitely not on top and it was all the more glorious for that. Both sides sensed goals with Arsenal trying to capitalise on the supremacy it established with Cazorla's strike and its superiority in terms of talent.

Hull were hemmed back, pushed deep, unable to clear cleanly. Corners were accrued and wasted by Arsenal with Olivier Giroud shooting into the side-netting and an Aaron Ramsey effort blocked. But eventually Hull, with Jake Livermore snapping into tackles, found a response and began to push back and Huddlestone drove fiercely over from distance.

Half-time was reached and Hull deserved its advantage. It appeared simply to want this more but the issue would be whether it was physically able and mentally prepared to continue to press and harry and push high up the pitch.

Its intent remained the same even if it was quickly breached when Mesut Azil found space down the left and cut the ball back. No Arsenal player was there with Lukas Podolski arriving late and Giroud continuing to struggle to match the pace of the encounter.

Huddlestone drove another shot over as a reminder that Hull would not easily be cowed. It was becoming increasingly tense with Bacary Sagna demanding more movement ahead of him while Giroud implored the referee for a penalty when he went to ground as Huddlestone threw his arm across him. The angry demands were waved away. Huddlestone was perhaps fortunate.

Shortly afterwards the Hull midfielder was cautioned as he brought down Cazorla and Wenger sensed it was time to try to press his side's advantage, introducing another striker in Yaya Sanogo. The ineffective Podolski gave way.

From a corner Laurent Koscielny rose but headed wastefully wide; from another the ball appeared to strike Livermore's arm while the Arsenal fans began to accuse Hull of time-wasting. There was 25 minutes to go and that tension was rising.

Again Arsenal demanded a penalty. Again it was waved away. Davies challenged Cazorla as the Spaniard cut inside. The ball bounced off him but the follow-through brought down Cazorla. Lee Probert was unmoved and Wenger was furious.

Driven by desperation and a sense of injustice Arsenal came forward again and, finally, it did score. Another corner was earned as Sanogo's near-post flick was deemed to have deflected off a defender - but it had not. It proved a crucial decision. The ball came in and Sagna's powerful header ricocheted off Giroud dropping for Koscielny who turned it beyond McGregor from close range.

Hull looked beaten and the chances racked up with Gibbs skying over from only six metres. The chance came as Sanogo's raw strength held off defenders and he rolled the ball across. Gibbs even had time to control it. He had time to tee it. But over it sailed.

Arsenal agonised yet again when the ball dropped to Giroud on the edge of the box and his drive was superbly turned away by McGregor as it threatened to bounce beyond the goalkeeper. The Scot was stretching once more soon after only for Sanogo's shot to veer narrowly wide.

Extra-time brought more opportunities as Giroud met Aaron Ramsey's cross only for his superb diving header to cannon off the bar. Like Giroud, Ramsey's influence was growing and he exchanged passes with Cazorla then swerved his shot into the side-netting.

Finally the breakthrough came and Ramsey claimed it. Again Hull could not clear and Giroud cleverly back-heeled for the Welshman to prod first-time past McGregor.

But it was not quite over Sone Aluko beat Fabianski to the ball as he charged from goal and from the tightest of angles, outside the area, shot. The ball swung across goal and oh so narrowly wide.

The Sunday Telegraph

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs BRI 3 Stats
Fri, 09 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 0vs VIC 0 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs PER 2 Stats
SYD 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs NEW 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 16 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs WSW 1 Stats
Sat, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs SYD 1 Stats
VIC 3vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI 2vs CCM 1 Stats
PER 1vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 23 OctTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs VIC 0 Stats
Sat, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 3vs BRI 2 Stats
SYD 1vs WSW 0 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3vs CCM 1 Stats
PER 3vs ADE 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 30 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2vs NEW 3 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs SYD 3 Stats
BRI 3vs ADE 0 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1vs PER 0 Stats
Mon, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 3vs WEL 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Thu, 05 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs MCY 4 Stats
Fri, 06 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs BRI 0 Stats
Sat, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs WEL 1 Stats
Wed, 16 DecTimes shown AEDT
PER 1vs VIC 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 13 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4vs ADE 2 Stats
MCY 0vs WSW 3 Stats
Sat, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs CCM 1 Stats
SYD 2vs VIC 4 Stats
Sun, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs PER 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Thu, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 20 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2vs WEL 1 Stats
PER 0vs SYD 0 Stats
Sun, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 0vs NEW 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Thu, 26 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 0vs WEL 0 Stats
Fri, 27 NovTimes shown AEDT
MCY 5vs PER 1 Stats
Sat, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs BRI 1 Stats
VIC 2vs ADE 1 Stats
Sun, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs WSW 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs MCY 5 Stats
Fri, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1vs NEW 0 Stats
Sat, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2vs VIC 0 Stats
WSW 2vs BRI 1 Stats
Sun, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs PER 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 11 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs SYD 1 Stats
Sat, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI 2vs WEL 1 Stats
WSW 2vs VIC 0 Stats
PER 2vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs MCY 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 18 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs ADE 0 Stats
Sat, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs SYD 1 Stats
MCY 2vs VIC 1 Stats
PER 2vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 0vs BRI 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 24 DecTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2vs NEW 0 Stats
Sat, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 3vs WEL 0 Stats
SYD 4vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 3vs MCY 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs WEL 1 Stats
Fri, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 0vs ADE 0 Stats
Sat, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
BRI 2vs PER 1 Stats
MCY 2vs SYD 2 Stats
Sun, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
NEW 0vs VIC 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 09 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2vs NEW 0 Stats
MCY 3vs WSW 2 Stats
PER 1vs ADE 3 Stats
Sun, 10 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs BRI 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 15 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4vs BRI 0 Stats
Sat, 16 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 3vs CCM 1 Stats
WSW 1vs SYD 2 Stats
PER 2vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 17 JanTimes shown AEDT
NEW 3vs WEL 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 22 JanTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1vs ADE 4 Stats
Sat, 23 JanTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1vs PER 6 Stats
Mon, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3vs WEL 1 Stats
Tue, 26 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1vs SYD 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 29 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 4vs MCY 3 Stats
Sat, 30 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1vs CCM 3 Stats
SYD 1vs BRI 3 Stats
PER 3vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 31 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1vs NEW 0 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 05 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2vs SYD 2 Stats
Sat, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI 4vs CCM 0 Stats
VIC 1vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 0vs PER 1 Stats
NEW 2vs MCY 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 12 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NEW 20:00Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 17:15Allianz Stadium
MCY vs VIC 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 15:00Central Coast Stadium
WSW vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 19 FebTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs ADE 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WEL 17:15Hunter Stadium
SYD vs WSW 19:30Allianz Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:40nib Stadium
Sun, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY vs CCM 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MCY 17:30Westpac Stadium
WSW vs PER 19:40Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 17:15Coopers Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs NEW 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WSW 20:00Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 17:15Westpac Stadium
MCY vs SYD 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
PER vs NEW 20:00nib Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MCY 19:40Coopers Stadium
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 17:15Allianz Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30Suncorp Stadium
PER vs CCM 21:40nib Stadium
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WSW 17:00Hunter Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY vs BRI 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs SYD 17:15Central Coast Stadium
WSW vs ADE 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs PER 15:00Westpac Stadium
VIC vs NEW 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WSW 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs PER 17:15Hunter Stadium
BRI vs SYD 19:30Suncorp Stadium
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 17:00Coopers Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY vs WEL 19:30AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM 19:40Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs VIC 17:15Westpac Stadium
SYD vs ADE 19:30Allianz Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 17:00Suncorp Stadium
PER vs MCY 19:00nib Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
MCY vs ADE 19:40AAMI Park
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
CCM vs NEW 17:15Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs BRI 19:30AAMI Park
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs WSW 15:00Westpac Stadium
SYD vs PER 17:00Allianz Stadium
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W L +/- Pts
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 18 10 4 10 34
Brisbane Roar FC 18 10 4 9 34
Melbourne City FC 18 8 6 11 28
Melbourne Victory 18 8 6 6 28
Sydney FC 18 7 4 5 28
Adelaide United 18 7 5 3 27
Perth Glory 18 6 8 -1 22
Newcastle Jets 18 5 9 -12 19
View all

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