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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Chelsea 3-1 Ipswich

Michael Ballack celebrates his first goal
Michael Ballack celebrates scoring Chelsea's opening goal

Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of dogged Ipswich thanks to a Michael Ballack brace and a spectacular Frank Lampard free-kick.

Ashley Cole crossed to Ballack for the first-half opener before Alex Bruce levelled after calamitous Chelsea defending at a set-piece.

Chelsea were comfortable after the break and a 25-yard Ballack free-kick put the home side ahead once again.

Lampard sealed the win with a dipping 35-yard free-kick into the top corner.

The midfielder's goal made for a comfortable scoreline but for all the home side's dominance it was nervy viewing for the Chelsea fans until Lampard's strike five minutes from time.

Before the game, Ipswich's assistant manager John Gorman had said his team would take inspiration from Burnley's Carling Cup victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in November.

Yet when Florent Malouda and Lampard both tested Richard Wright in the opening minutes an upset - or even the first-half drama which was to unfold - seemed unlikely.


A strong Chelsea line-up began with gusto and seemed intent on erasing memories of their Carling Cup humiliation and the difficult replay against Southend in the previous round of this competition.

Chelsea full-backs Cole and Jose Bosingwa were getting plenty of space to surge forward down the flanks, with the England defender instrumental in the opening goal.

Lampard found his England colleague, who was acting more as a left-winger, and Cole then cut the ball back to Ballack who atoned for an earlier miss to give Chelsea the lead.

Bizarrely, considering Chelsea's experiences with lower-league opposition in cup competitions this season, the Blues then took their foot off the pedal and were made to pay.

Chelsea's inability to deal with set-pieces came to the fore again as Owen Garvan's free-kick found the unmarked Bruce at the back post and the defender hit home to level matters.

That goal sparked an Ipswich resurgence as Danny Haynes and Tommy Miller both went close to giving the visitors the lead before the break.

But Ipswich were made to rue their first-half profligacy when Ballack bent his free-kick over the defensive wall for his second after Garvan had felled Nicolas Anelka.

Unlike the first half, Chelsea continued to attack after going ahead with Salomon Kalou forcing a fine save from Wright.

Two minutes later Ballack came close to claiming his hat-trick with a 25-yard shot which was palmed away by Wright.

Chelsea were playing high-tempo football, with Lampard instrumental in midfield - and the England international capped off a fine performance with a stunning strike to rubber-stamp his team's progress.

Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins on Michael Ballack:
"It was very doubtful whether Michael would make it. He took a nasty kick in training, he was scanned on Friday and was very doubtful.

"He turned up still feeling extremely sore, but he really wanted to play. When he goes forward he is extremely dangerous and the work he puts in for the team is untouchable.

"It was a really tough game for us but I felt that on the chances we created, we deserved to win it."

Ipswich boss Jim Magilton:
"This result won't define our season.

"We had some really good opportunities and played better in the first half. We scored a good goal from a set-piece and I am very pleased with the players overall.

"Chelsea have got world-class players and when you give them opportunities on the edge of the penalty box, they will hurt you and that is what they did."

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho (Ivanovic 70), Alex, Ashley Cole, Belletti, Ballack (Deco 79), Lampard, Malouda (Drogba 58), Kalou, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Ferreira, Mancienne, Stoch.

Goals: Ballack 16, 59, Lampard 85.

Ipswich: Richard Wright, David Wright, McAuley, Bruce, Garvan, Miller (Quinn 81), Counago, Norris, Balkestein, Haynes (Lisbie 60), Walters (Stead 71).
Subs Not Used: Supple, Bowditch, Shumulikoski, Thatcher.

Booked: Bruce, Garvan, Lisbie.

Goals: Bruce 34.

Att: 41,137

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Chelsea's Michael Ballack 8.25 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Live text - FA Cup fourth round
24 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
FA Cup photos
24 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Lawro's predictions
22 Jan 09 |  Football

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