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FA Cup - Ipswich Home 24th January 2009 3-1


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Ballack and Lampard Secure Nervy Chelsea's Progress

By Alan McGuinness

The 3-1 score line betrays what a close game this was. Chelsea may have ran out 3-1 winners over Ipswich, but for a large part of the game it looked as if a replay was on the cards.

Michael Ballack connected with Ashley Cole's cross to give Chelsea the lead. But then Alex Bruce capitalised on some poor Chelsea defending to level the score.

Ballack scored his second from a free kick and Frank Lampard followed suit in the dying moments to ensure that Luiz Felipe Scolari's men will be in the mix for the next round.

The Brazilian fielded a strong side for the visit of Ipswich, with Juliano Beletti the only change from the Stoke City game last week. The scorer of the equalising goal in that game replaced John Obi Mikel in the midfield holding role.

Florent Malouda and Lampard both had early efforts on goal, but it was Ballack who had the best chance to put the home side ahead.

Nicolas Anelka's pass picked out the German international in space inside the penalty area but he arrowed his shot disappointingly over the bar.

Ballack didn't have to wait long to atone for his miss. Lampard played the ball out wide to the rampaging Ashley Cole whose first time cross found Ballack who slide the ball home.

The goal led to Chelsea sitting back and this allowed their opponents to establish a foothold in the game.

Miller's free kick caused some consternation in the Chelsea box before it cleared the crossbar.

Then, an unlikely equaliser came. Chelsea failed to clear another free kick and Alex Bruce - son on of Wigan manager Steve - thumped the ball into the back of the net in front of the away supporters.

Danny Haynes then hit a shot well over the bar as Chelsea headed for the dugout at half time dumbfounded at how they had let their lead slip.

Salomon Kalou had the first shot on goal in the second half, curling his effort wide from a Florent Malouda pass.

On 59 minutes, Ballack grabbed his second goal of the game, and it was a beauty. The German bent his free kick into the net beyond Richard Wright and eased the nerves of the Chelsea fan's inside Stamford Bridge.

Even at 2-1 Chelsea didn't look entirely comfortable. Kalou and Malouda - who was eventually replaced by Didier Drogba - found it hard to impose themselves on the game and provide the Blues with some desperately needed width.

Ballack almost completed his hat trick with 66 minutes on the clock, but his shot was kept out by Wright. Jose Bosingwa's follow up was tame and easily held by the former Arsenal and Everton goal keeper.

Kalou had another opportunity to get on the score sheet, but he was profligate, heading over from a Lampard cross.

With six minutes to go, Lampard extinguished any hopes of Ipswich snatching a replay. Again the goal came from a set piece. The midfielder caught the ball sweetly and his strike left Wright with no chance as it soared into the top corner.

Sighs of relief abounded around Stamford Bridge. It wasn't the greatest performance, but Luiz Felipe Scolari can be pleased with the fact that his side are in the draw for the next round.

Edited by Alan
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