Ballack brace sees Chelsea through

Chelsea 3 Ipswich 1

Chelsea 3 Ipswich 1

Chelsea earned a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a double from Michael Ballack and a terrific 35-yard free-kick from Frank Lampard.

But the Premier League side again made hard work of overcoming lower-league opposition in a domestic cup competition.

Chelsea had already been bundled out of the Carling Cup on penalties by Burnley and were taken to a replay in this competition by Coca-Cola League One side Southend.

It had looked like being an easy afternoon for the Blues against Championship side Ipswich when Ballack put dominant Chelsea in front in the 16th minute.

But their failure to defend at set-pieces cost them again when Alex Bruce levelled matters before the break.

But while they find it difficult to defend set-pieces, Chelsea have no problems scoring from their own.

Two slices of pure free-kick magic from Ballack and Lampard ensured they will feature in the next round.

Chelsea began in a confident mood and could have opened the scoring in the first minute.

Lampard found Florent Malouda with a long ball and the France winger cut inside from the left before unleashing a shot which Richard Wright did well to save at his near post.

But there was a scare for the hosts in the sixth minute when an error from Jose Bosingwa allowed Ipswich to fashion their first chance of the game.

A cross from Jon Walters caused enough mild panic in the home defence for David Norris to nip in and head over from six yards.

In the ninth minute Ballack was guilty of a glaring miss when Nicolas Anelka found him unmarked inside the penalty area.

The Germany captain only had to find a way past goalkeeper Wright but inexplicably sent his left-footed volley wide.

Ballack made up for his miss in the 16th minute when Chelsea took the lead with a flowing three-man move.

Lampard fed Ashley Cole on the left flank and the England defender's cross was turned in by Ballack from six yards.

Ballack almost grabbed a second goal in the 20th minute but his long-range shot was high and wide.

Chelsea's inability to defend set-pieces has been one of their faults this season and they were punished again in the 34th minute when Ipswich levelled.

A free-kick from Garvan was deflected twice before hitting Ricardo Carvalho on the chest. The ball fell for Alex Bruce to fire home from close range.

Moments later Danny Haynes sent an 18-yard shot over the bar as Ipswich began to run Chelsea ragged.

Cech then had to be alert to stop a shot from Tommy Miller, and Scolari's side were beginning to visibly wilt under Ipswich pressure.

Chelsea began the second half more brightly and Salomon Kalou almost found the net when he tried to curl a 20-yard shot around Wright and into the far corner.

Despite intense pressure, Chelsea could not create another clear-cut opening and Scolari replaced the ineffective Malouda with Didier Drogba in the 57th minute.

Two minutes later Ipswich's Garvan was booked for bringing down Anelka as the striker burst towards the penalty area.

The offence provided Chelsea with a chance to go back in front and Ballack punished Ipswich in style when he bent his free-kick over the defensive wall and beyond Wright for his second goal of the game.

In the 64th minute, some intricate approach play from Chelsea saw Lampard and Ballack combine to set up Kalou.

The Ivorian beat the offside trap but saw his low shot superbly saved by Wright.

Two minutes later and Ballack almost grabbed a hat-trick goal when he was invited to shoot by the Ipswich defence.

Ballack's 25-yard strike was pushed away by Wright who also managed to recover in time to save a follow-up effort from Bosingwa.

Ipswich were having to do some dogged defending as Chelsea increased the tempo.

Lampard, who had shone throughout, looked certain to make it 3-1 but his shot was deflected for a corner which Chelsea wasted.

The visitors were tiring visibly but wasted a fine chance when a cross from Bruce evaded everyone in the six-yard box.

Worringly for Chelsea, Carvalho had to be replaced by Branislav Ivanovic in the 69th minute.

But Chelsea ended Ipswich's resistance in sensational style five minutes from time when Lampard sent a 35-yard free-kick dipping into the top corner.

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