Chelsea strike late to force FA Cup replay

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chelsea FC 3 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Match Stats
Attendance 41517
Goalscorers for Chelsea FC Lampard (22', 71'), Kalou (86')
Goalscorers for Tottenham Hotspur Berbatov (5'), Essien (28'(og)), Ghaly (36')
Bookings (Chelsea FC) Diarra, Carvalho, Cole (Yellow (3))
Bookings (Tottenham Hotspur) Ghaly, Zokora, Lee, Stalteri, Cerny (Yellow (5))

Premiership title hopefuls Chelsea were forced to battle back for a draw earlier today at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham seemed to have a spot in the semifinals of the FA Cup all wrapped up before two late strikes from Lampard and Kalou ruined the day for Spurs. Chelsea were again without the heart of their defence, John Terry, and it showed for much of the game as Tottenham broke through the Blues lines far too easily on several occasions. Chelsea came out to win though, and nearly all their main stars were on the pitch to start the match, including Shevchenko, Ballack, Drogba, and Lampard. Martin Jol's Tottenham also fielded a strong attacking side, even without the use of the injured Robbie Keane. Defoe, Berbatov, and Lennon lead the way for Spurs instead, with Canadian Paul Stalteri and Englishman Michael Dawson on defence. Tottenham also had to use their backup keeper Radek Cerny, as their number one Paul Robinson is with Keane on the injured list.

Tottenham came out fast and hard, scoring after only 5 minutes. Jermain Defoe cut in from the left and attempted a pass to Hossam Ghaly, but Aaron Lennon pick up the ball instead and sent it in to the Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov. Chelsea keeper Petr Cech sprinted out in an attempt to block, but Berbatov spun and volleyed the ball high into the back of the net, giving the visitors the early lead. Tottenham pressed for a second, and two chances presented themselves to Defoe and Lennon, but the crossesfrom Berbatov and Defoe were out of the players reaches. Chelsea would strike back though, and the goal would be against the run of play. Ballack received a chested down ball from Shevchenko after a Drogba cross, and the German blasted the ball low and hard. The shot was off target, but Frank Lampard was able to react quickly enough to fling out his leg and deflect the ball into the back of the net. Tottenham continued to run at the shaky Chelsea defence, and were rewarded with a goal when Aaron Lennons seemingly harmless cross was knock into Chelsea's net by Michael Essien, who was attempting to cover back on defence. Tottenham then nearly gave Chelsea an own goal of their own as Michael Dawson knocked Arjen Robbens cross toward his own net, but Paul Stalteri raced back to clear off the line. After the near tying goal, Jose Mourinho made an early change by replacing Paulo Ferreira with Shaun Wright-Phillips. Another defensive error would see Chelsea two behind soon after though, as Ghaly beat three defenders to a high ball, and slotted the ball past Cech from 12 yards out. Chelsea had a few more chances as they tried to grab a lifeline before the break, but nothing truly troubled keeper Cerny.

Chelsea came out of the dressing room much more positively after the break, and had 3 chances to score from 2 Ballack free kicks, and a well taken shot by Lampard. Cerny did well to keep the game at 3-1 however. Spurs nearly put the game away on the counter attack, but Cech came out quick to stop Aaron Lennons run, and Defoe could not find the net after the ensuing cross by Ghaly. Chelsea then made 2 changes in just over 5 minutes, as Boulahrouz and Kalou took to the pitch. On the 70th minute, Chelsea earned a corner, and Arjen Robben stepped up to take the set piece. A goulmouth scramble occurred from the curving corner and the ball landed nicely at Lampard's feet. The Enlgishman blasted it home, cutting the deficit to one. Chelsea equliazed 4 minutes from time through substitute Salomon Kalou. Didier Drogba headed the ball to his fellow countryman Kalou, and the Ivorian volleyed the ball into the back of the net. Jermain Defoe had a chance to be the hero for Tottenham only minutes later as he beat out three defenders and struck the ball hard past Cech, but not past the crossbar. The game ended drawn, and the replay will be held at White Hart Lane on March 19th.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.