The moment Chelsea’s Gianfranco Zola stunned Norwich City
- Credit: PA
It will go down as one of the all-time great FA Cup goals – just a shame Norwich City were on the receiving end.
Gianfranco Zola produced a right-foot, back-heel volley from a near-post corner which left goalkeeper Robert Green and any other Norwich City defender fortunate enough to witness it, in tatters. It was that good.
Chelsea were already 2-0 up and on their way to a 4-0 win when Zola struck. The Italian had terrorised City all afternoon, but this was outrageous.
'In the end their class shone through,' said City boss Nigel Worthington. 'I was just pleased to be here to see it – even if it was against us. If he'd scored that goal in a World Cup final people would have been raving about it for years to come.'
Indeed they would, but they still do – it is without doubt the major talking point of this third round replay.
In a way it a shame: City, a division below Chelsea, were not expected to win, but the performance in the goalless draw at Carrow Road had suggested a giantkilling was on the cards, even in west London. Only goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini had denied the Canaries in the first meeting. Could they go one better second time around?
Their hosts could be moody Blues at times – sadly, City bumped into the Chelsea which had won 3-0 at Manchester United that season, not the one that had been beaten at Stamford Bridge by Southampton.
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Mario Stanic put Chelsea ahead on 10 minutes with a header that just about got over the line before Darel Russell's despairing lunge confirmed the fact.
Frank Lampard made it 2-0 10 minutes after half-time before Zola's amazing contribution just after the hour mark.
Mikael Forssell added the fourth near the end, by which time Nigel Worthington was thinking ahead - to the league game against Millwall four days later.
They drew that game 0-0 but come the end of the season, City had done enough to reach the play-off final, defeated by Birmingham.
The FA Cup run hadn't amounted to much in terms of distance, but the fact the replay was on Sky TV did mean City pocketed around £400,000 – enough perhaps to have paid for the permanent signing of striker David Nielsen and to keep funding the manager's bid for promotion.