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Chelsea 3-1 Ipswich


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Chelsea F.C. 3 - 1 Ipswich Town

January 24 2009, FA Cup, Fourth Round, Stamford Bridge, West London

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Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard were on-target as Chelsea brushed aside Ipswich to book their place in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.


Ballack fired the Blues home from close range after Frank Lampard's chipped ball found Ashley Cole, who crossed for the German midfielder to slot home. Alex Bruce brought Ipswich back on terms before the break, after showing excellent anticipation to fire beyond Petr Cech, but Ballack restored the lead in the second half with a fine free-kick. Chelsea booked their place in tomorrow's draw for the Fifth Round when Lampard stepped up to rocket a 40-yard free kick beyond Richard Wright.

Luiz Felipe Scolari elected to field a full-strength side against the Championship side, in spite on their recent excellent form. With John Mikel Obi suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the replay at Roots Hall against Southend United, Juliano Belletti - goalscoring hero against Stoke the week previous - started in midfield alongside Ballack and Lampard. With John Terry rested, Alex and Ricardo Carvalho continued their central defensive partnership.

Chelsea started excellently at Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard sending a shot just wide after just two minutes. The England midfielder was fed by Florent Malouda after an excellent run down the wing from the former Lyon man, but the Chelsea captain could only fire less than a foot wide. Michael Ballack later had a shot fly inches wide of the post after being played in by Lampard - the Blues were clearly on the front foot.

The breakthrough came on 16 minutes as Michael Ballack scored his second goal of the season. Lampard launched a stunning ball over the defence to Ashley Cole, who wasted no time in crossing to Ballack who slotted the ball beyond Wright from seven yards. A clinical finish from the German, who also scored in the previous round against Southend. The Chelsea number 13 went close again on 25 minutes, as the hosts looked to underline their excellent start with a second goal.

The Blues appeared to take their foot off the gas, clearly content with their single-goal lead. Ipswich were beginning to take heart as they poured forward, and were rewarded with a deserved equaliser on 33 minutes. A free kick from deep was missed by both Ballack and Carvalho, allowing Alex Bruce, son of Wigan manager and former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce, to steer the ball beyond Petr Cech and into the net. The Ipswich fans erupted with delight, and could have gone 2-1 ahead, but Cech collected Miller's effort from range with ease.

Kalou launched a shot inches wide from 25 yards after a stunning break through the middle of the park. The Ivorian's effort was so close that he kicked the ground in frustration as it fizzed past the upright, but Chelsea were clearly in the mood to avoid a repeat of their encounter in Round Three against Southend.

Didier Drogba came on for the relatively ineffectual Florent Malouda to a standing ovation after having missed the team's last two matches, as Chelsea took the lead on 59 minutes. Anelka surged forward, and was hacked to the ground 25 yards away from Wright's goal. Ballack stepped up and launched an inch-perfect free kick into the top corner that left the goalkeeper with no chance.

Kalou and Ballack tested the goalkeeper in the following exchanges, but Ricardo Carvalho was forced to retire to the dressing room after pulling a hamstring. Branislav Ivanovic joined Alex at the heart of the Chelsea defence, meaning both first-choice defenders are doubts to face Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Drogba was fouled on 84 minutes as Chelsea looked to play the game out. Frank Lampard stepped up to launch an unstoppable free kick from all of forty yards into the top corner. A stunning strike from the Chelsea captain that will surely be a contender for Goal of the Season come May.

The final whistle blew to huge cheers at Stamford Bridge as the Blues registered their third consecutive win in all competitions, and remain unbeaten at home in 16 FA Cup ties - a trend Scolari will be keen to continue.
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Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho (Ivanovic), Alex, Ashley Cole, Belletti, Ballack (Deco), Lampard, Malouda (Drogba), Kalou, Anelka.

Ipswich: Richard Wright, David Wright, McAuley, Bruce, Garvan, Miller (Quinn), Counago, Norris, Balkestein, Haynes (Lisbie), Walters (Stead)

Attendance: 41,137

The TalkChelsea.net Man of the Match was...

13. Michael Ballack


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Great report. I didn't see the game so thanks for it. Can't wait to watch the goals. And Riccy again injured?! Before the big matches it is not the best news. Hopefully it is not serious.

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