The English F.A. Cup Final
Craig Fleming – G Festa – Gary Pallister – Robbie Stockdale – Christian Ziege
Paul Gascoigne – Paul Ince – Andy Townsend
Brian Deane – Hamilton Ricard
Alvaro Recoba – Emile Heskey
Francesco Totti – Steven Gerrard – Pavel Nedved
Roberto Carlos – Alessandro Nesta – Rio Ferdinand – Fernando Hierro – John Arne Riise
Leicester City (5-3-2)
So well done, Middlesbrough, the only team brave enough to meet us toe to toe all season. Most teams this season played with a 4-4-2 with the exception of Ferguson’s Manchester United who lined up with a 4-2-3-1. None were brave enough to match us stride for stride. They hadn’t done so in our previous two meetings.
It made for a niggly, tetchy affair.
No effort in anger was made until Hamilton Ricard skimmed the outside of the post on the stroke of half-time. We were feeling our way into it, with good reason: Middlesbrough’s three-man midfield that lapsed into a four with Brian Deane dropping deep when Boro didn’t have the ball, it was hard work for us, especially with a more offensive sitting midfield.
Our first meaningful effort on 54 minutes zipped past the crossbar from a long-range strike courtesy of Alessandro Nesta. He was in a marauding mood and with us susceptible to a Boro midfield we sat deep until the right moment.
Unfortunately it took Hamilton Ricard striking from a poor defended corner to spark us into life. Pavel Nedved took it upon himself to turn the game on its head. A cross for a perfectly timed Emile Heskey header and a teasing shot that resulted in the fumbling and subsequent own goal from Mark Schwarzer won us the cup.
The third goal was just a work of art from Steven Gerrard. Add that to your silverware, Leicester City.
Middlesbrough (1:3) Leicester City
Hamilton Ricard 62’
Emile Heskey 77’
Mark Schwarzer own goal 88’
Steven Gerrard 90’