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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 09:58 GMT
Carvalho sorry for red card lunge
Ricardo Carvalho
Carvalho was the first of two Chelsea defenders to be sent off
Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho has apologised to Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor for the two-footed tackle that led to his red card on Boxing Day.

"I didn't see him after the game to apologise but I asked for a message to be passed on to him," said Carvalho.

But Blues boss Avram Grant said the defender did not deserve to see red, claiming he "went for the ball".

Villa's Zat Knight and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole were also dismissed in a thrilling match that ended 4-4.

Cole was dismissed for a handball that resulted in a late penalty which skipper Gareth Barry converted to earn Villa a point - and Chelsea have confirmed that they will appeal against the defender's dismissal.

Carvalho, 29, was dismissed with 10 minutes of the match remaining.

And he added on the club's website: "It was never my intention to hurt Gabriel Agbonlahor with the tackle.

"I was going for the ball and I don't want people to think that I tried to hurt another player."

I don't like to speak about the decision of the referee. It was not a penalty but this is his decision even if it's wrong.

Avram Grant

Grant insisted there was nothing sinister in Carvalho's challenge and was unhappy with Cole's red card, which the club have now appealed against.

"I don't like to speak about the decision of the referee. It was not a penalty (for Villa) but this is his decision even if it's wrong," he said.

606: DEBATE

"Carvalho didn't have any intention to harm the player. He went for the ball but again it was the decision of the referee."

Aston Villa led 2-0 when Chelsea were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time following an incident that saw Knight sent-off for a foul on Ballack.

And Villa boss Martin O'Neill was unhappy with the performance of the referee.

O'Neill felt the first-half penalty and the free-kick from which Ballack put Chelsea 4-3 up should not have been awarded.

"There wasn't one decision we got. If we get the next 15 it will only semi-make up for it," he insisted.

"We were playing brilliantly. We deserved to be 2-0 in front but the penalty was really dubious and it's a major point in the game.

"Suddenly it's 2-1, we've got a man sent off and play the whole of the second half with 10 men.

"It was never a free-kick (before Ballack's goal). Amazingly, I thought the referee might give it but never in a month of Sundays was it a free-kick and they scored from it."

O'Neill was also unhappy about Phil Dowd's role in the last-gasp penalty awarded to Villa for Cole's handling on the line.

"The referee didn't see it and the linesman spotted it - I'm grateful for him spotting a straightforward decision and I'm so grateful linesmen have spotted things they should spot," the Villa manager added.

"We were absolutely terrific and deserved it and even now I don't know if I'm delighted to get a point in the last minute of the game or whether I'm disappointed that we haven't won."

SEE ALSO
Cole and Knight contest red cards
27 Dec 07 |  Premier League
Referees' body denies 'clampdown'
27 Dec 07 |  Premier League
Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa
26 Dec 07 |  Premier League


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