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Rediff.com  » Sports » Manchester United eye another double as FA Cup final returns home

Manchester United eye another double as FA Cup final returns home

May 19, 2007 10:57 IST

The newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium stages its first FA Cup final on Saturday with the most successful club at the old stadium playing the last club to win the Cup final there.

Manchester United, who won a record nine FA Cups at Wembley between 1948 and 1999, face Chelsea, the last winners under the Twin Towers in 2000, with the intense rivalry between the two teams adding spice to the occasion.

If they win, United will become the only club to have won the FA Cup and League double four times following their previous successes in 1994, 1996 and 1999 when they also completed the treble by winning the Champions League.

The final, back home after being staged in Cardiff while Wembley was being re-built, is only the third since League football began in 1888-89 to feature the teams that finished first and second in the league.

The first was in 1913 when champions Sunderland lost to Aston Villa and the other occasion was in 1986 when Liverpool beat league runners-up Everton to win the double.

United triumphed in the title race over Chelsea earlier this month and start as the marginal favourites with the bookmakers to beat Chelsea on Saturday.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says that the fact United ended Chelsea's two-season reign as champions adds to their determination to win the match.

"We have still got the fire in our bellies. That is what we are going to hopefully show on Saturday because that is what Chelsea are all about.

While Lampard will be hoping to win his first FA Cup medal, Ryan Giggs, who will skipper United in the absence of the injured Gary Neville, will be hoping to win his fifth winners' medal -- and the 17th major medal of his career to equal Liverpool Phil Neal's English record.

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