since 1878

Chelsea (1) 3 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Cup 4th Round 2008-09

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Referee: AG Wiley

Manager: Felipe Scolari

Stamford Bridge 15:00

Attendance: 41,137

Manager: Jim Magilton

Match Number: 3290

Goals

Home
 Ballack (16)
 Ballack (59)
 Lampard (85)
Away
 Alex Bruce (34)

Substitutions

Home
MaloudaDrogba (58)
CarvalhoIvanovic (70)
BallackDeco (79)

Cards

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Away
 Alex Bruce (18)
 Owen Garvan (59)
 Kevin Lisbie (85)

Teams

Home

Cech

Bosingwa

Carvalho

Alex

Ashley Cole

Belletti

Ballack

Lampard

Malouda

Kalou

Anelka

Substitutes

Home

Cudicini

Ivanovic

Drogba

Ferreira

Deco

Mancienne

Stoch

Match Report

Lampard thunderbolt lights up Stamford Bridge

EVEN when Michael Ballack turns in an imperious match-winning display Frank Lampard comes along and steals the German’s thunder.

Having given Chelsea an early lead, Ballack then put his side back in control following an Alex Bruce equaliser.

Just when it seemed Ipswich might force a replay or even pull off a shock and win the game, Ballack produced a stunning 59th-minute free-kick that would have been the highlight of most games.

Ballack, who hadn’t exactly pulled all the strings but was Chelsea’s most influential player, soon took his bow.

Until then Lampard had been very low key by his standards.

His shooting had been wayward and quite frankly after his emotionally-charged match-saving display against Stoke the previous week, the adrenalin wasn’t pumping.

But in the 85th minute Didier Drogba, who had come in from the cold and off the bench, won a free-kick more than 35 yards out and right of centre.

It was so far out that Ipswich didn’t feel the need for a full wall. Surely, Lampard would send over a cross. But no. He strode up and unleashed a savage thunderbolt.

The shot was so hard and true that even the tiniest of deflections barely altered the trajectory as it flashed way beyond the reach of Richard Wright and into the far corner.

Ballack’s dead-ball effort had oozed class but Lampard’s simply had the greater wow factor.

When Ballack arrived on a free transfer from Bayern Munich three years ago earning £130,000 a week, many suggested Lampard would be left in the shadows — or even forced out.

Lampard responded not only by becoming Chelsea’s talisman but also their top earner, with Ballack playing second fiddle.

And with the German’s contract up at the end of the season, he may have to face the prospect of taking a pay cut or moving on.

Certainly, on the face of it, Ballack has done little so far this season to make a case that Chelsea would be foolish to let him go on a free.

He has yet to score in the Premier League, his only strike before yesterday having come in the 4-1 replay win at Southend in the previous round.

Assistant coach Ray Wilkins admitted: “Yes, that’s surprising but a lot of people don’t always see the contribution Michael makes.

“He covers more acres than anyone, in that regard he is untouchable.”

Untouchable? Maybe for Germany but not for Chelsea. Yesterday, though, he made his most significant contribution this season.

Phil Scolari had put out a strong side and it appeared as though it would be a cakewalk when Ballack slid home a low Ashley Cole cross in the 16th minute.

But while Ballack looked up for more, the rest around him — Lampard included — took their foot off the gas.

Gradually, Ipswich worked their way back and in the 34th minute punished Chelsea, not for the first time this season, for lax defending at a set-piece.

An Owen Garvan free-kick bounced off Ricardo Carvalho, who later suffered a hamstring injury, to Steve Bruce’s son Alex and he lashed the ball home from close range.

Either side of half-time Ipswich showed flashes they might pose Chelsea problems with striker Pablo Counago producing some deft and threatening touches.

But just before the hour Ballack curled home a glorious free-kick from 22 yards.

After Jon Stead then Kevin Lisbie went agonisingly close to nicking a replay, Lampard made sure he retained the free-kick bragging rights with that stunning late strike.

It was bliss for him and the Chelsea punters but, er, a kick in the Ballacks for their German midfielder.

Rob Shepherd (News of the World)

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