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Fulham 0-2 Chelsea - Coleman unhappy with ref

last updated Sunday 24th September 2006, 8:39 AM

Frank Lampard showed nerves of steel to overcome his penalty jinx and fire Chelsea to a 2-0 victory at Fulham.

Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman unhappy
with Ref Halsey

Lampard had missed three of his last four spot-kicks for club and country and found himself ousted from penalty duty by Michael Ballack.

But, with Ballack suspended, the England midfielder stepped up to take responsibility when Liam Rosenior handled the ball 17 minutes from time.

Lampard, who had taken a barrage of verbal abuse from the Fulham fans about his weight, smashed the ball past Antti Niemi and pumped his fist in the air.

It was his third goal of the season and number four soon followed in trademark style when he rifled a low shot into the bottom corner after a neat lay-off by Didier Drogba on the edge of the box.

A two-goal defeat was harsh on Fulham, who had battled hard to keep their illustrious neighbours at bay and occasionally threatened to take the lead themselves.

But Rosenior, outstanding in front of England assistant Terry Venables, spoiled all his good work with one moment of madness.

Chelsea substitute Salomon Kalou ran the ball into the penalty area and Rosenior stumbled as he tried to keep with him.

As the Fulham full-back hit the ground, he inexplicably reached out with his right arm and blocked the ball.

Referee Mark Halsey spotted the offence and immediately awarded the penalty which Lampard, captain in the absence of the injured John Terry, converted.

Terry injured his back in training on Friday and is a major doubt for the Champions League game away to Levski Sofia on Wednesday. He looked in agony as he hobbled around the touchline to take his seat in the stands.

With two ties against Barcelona on the horizon and Terry on a yellow card in Europe, Jose Mourinho is unlikely to risk him in Bulgaria.

Terry hates missing games, however, and his absence exposed Mourinho's lack of cover in central defence since the defection of William Gallas to Arsenal.

With Khalid Boulahrouz also absent at Craven Cottage with an illness, the Chelsea boss was forced to reshuffle his back-four. Geremi stepped in at right-back and Paulo Ferreira moved into central defence.

Match Stats Fulham Chelsea
Goals 0 2
Possession 42% 58%
Goal attempts 7 14
On Target 4 5
Corners 5 7
Off-sides 3 1
Fouls 19 9
Yellows 2 1
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet

Fulham lined his with five in midfield and Collins John alone up front.

Boss Chris Coleman had out-thought Mourinho to win 1-0 in March and he tried to repeat his success by asking Michael Brown to cut off the Chelsea supply-line through Claude Makelele.

The Cottagers, roared on by noisy fans, set out to hustle their wealthy neighbours and deny them time on the ball.

Arjen Robben and Andriy Shevchenko were among those to find themselves on the end of crunching tackles in the opening exchanges.

The Blues seemed a little rattled as Fulham forced errors in a crowded midfield and counter-attacked down the flanks.

Petr Cech was forced to save from Wayne Routledge, but Chelsea survived the early storm and hit back with a flurry of chances before half-time.

Robben unleashed a 25th-minute thunderbolt which sped past Niemi in the Fulham goal and smashed into the crossbar. It bounced down and spun back into play, but television replays showed it did not cross the line.

Chelsea keeper Cech showed great courage in 54th minute when he threw himself at the feet of Brown, when the former Spurs midfielder looked set to score.

Fulham broke down the right with Rosenior and Moritz Volz tormenting Ashley Cole, who still looks far from happy in with his role in his new team.

The ball was cut inside to Brown, who rode a challenge from Ricardo Carvalho and enjoyed a lucky ricochet off Lampard's boot.

He was clean through, but Cech had spotted the danger and pounced at Brown's feet to smother his shot. The Czech took a knee in the face but was able to continue after treatment.

Papa Bouba Diop wasted a glorious chance to give Fulham the lead in the 63rd minute when he lost his marker Didier Drogba and latched onto an inswinging free-kick from Queudrue. Diop looked certain to nod it in from six yards but glanced his header wide.

Moments later, Chelsea should have found the net.

Sub Salomon Kalou saw his initial shot blocked, but the ball fell kindly for Shevchenko. His effort was parried by Niemi but dropped at the feet of Drogba, whose left-foot volley bounced into the ground and then up onto the crossbar.

In the end, Chelsea were relieved to get a helping hand from Rosenior.

Brown also marred an excellent personal performance with a nasty high tackle on Ashley Cole.

The former Spurs midfielder escaped without a booking, but it may be one for the Football Association to look at.

Frank Lampard admitted it was a huge relief to see his penalty hit the net against Fulham after missing three of his last four.

Lampard stepped up to fire home from the spot and put Chelsea on the way to three points against neighbours Fulham, who had beaten them in March.

The England midfielder missed a penalty against Charlton earlier this season and Michael Ballack took Chelsea's last spot-kick against Werder Bremen - but the German was suspended today.

Lampard said: 'A lot has been said about penalties, especially because Ballack took the last one and scored for us.

'But it's not important who takes them, it's important that they hit the back of the net.

'When we got it, I took responsibility and was pleased when it went in.

'There's always pressure and I suppose there's more pressure when you've missed the last one.

'It felt good to score two important goals because the game was very tight, a difficult one.'

Lampard, acting captain in the absence of the injured John Terry, opened the scoring from the spot in the 73rd minute and added Chelsea's second to take his tally for the season to four.

Boss Jose Mourinho said: 'The penalty came at a crucial moment, with about 20 minutes to go. It was a penalty to give us victory.

'He was playing so well, I felt he couldn't miss that one.

'Frank is at a level where he has nothing to prove.

'He has made himself one of the best players in the world, with his professionalism and quality.

'He missed a penalty but he is still one of the best players in the world.

'When you get to a level and do something wrong, you don't lose that level and that status.'

Terry is doubtful for Chelsea's midweek Champions League away to Levski Sofia.

Mourinho said: 'He felt something in his back after training - a spasm or tightness.

'The medical people looked at him. I don't think it's anything special but it was getting worse and this morning, he almost couldn't move. The muscle was very tight.

'I've no idea if he will travel to Bulgaria. Today was worse than yesterday. Maybe tomorrow it's the same, maybe better.'

Mourinho praised the efforts of Paulo Ferreira, forced to play as an emergency centre-half because Khalid Boulahrouz was ill.

He was also pleased with the impact of substitute Salomon Kalou who won the penalty, forcing a handball from Liam Rosenior.

Mourinho said: 'This game is a normal game for Chelsea and the game of the season for Fulham.

'This means you have more chance to lose because passion makes miracles happen.

'Last season, the team wasn't ready. We were almost champions but this time we needed the points and we knew it meant something more to the fans.'

Fulham boss Chris Coleman had no complaints about Chelsea's penalty but thought his team deserved one too after Petr Cech saved at the feet of Michael Brown.

The ball spilled out and Cech grabbed Brown's foot to stop him reaching it but referee Mark Halsey gave a free-kick to Chelsea for the challenge on the goalkeeper.

Coleman said: 'I asked Mark about it after the game and he said he had to protect the keeper.

'Why should the keeper be protected more than anybody else? It's a 50-50 challenge.

'Petr Cech knows it's a penalty because he grabs Michael. If he thought he had a free-kick he wouldn't have done it.

'I could not believe the decision. I've seen it 10 times on the slow-mo. It's a 50-50 ball and he lost it.'

Coleman thought his team could have had another penalty, when the score was 2-0 for a foul by Didier Drogba.

The Fulham boss added: 'It's not Chelsea's fault. They are a great team and great champions.

'It's Mark Halsey's fault. I'm disappointed with him. It's not the first time.

'When we played Arsenal two years ago he killed us. He's a decent referee Mark Halsey but he's not decent when he comes to us.

'We were terrific for 70 minutes. Our attitude was superb. It killed when three decisions went against us.

'I had to calm the lads down in the dressing room because they weren't very happy. But there you go, no points.'

Coleman claims he will ask the Football Association not to send Halsey to Craven Cottage again.

He said: 'I will ask not to have Mark Halsey again. I will ask because there's always a bit of controversy when Mark comes to the Cottage.

'I'll ask and we'll probably have him in another six weeks' time.'

Niemi, Rosenior, Knight, Pearce, Queudrue, Volz,Bocanegra (Helguson 77), Diop, Routledge, Brown,John (McBride 77).
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Radzinski, Claus Jensen.

Booked: Volz (55,f), Queudrue (83,f).

Cech, Geremi, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira,Ashley Cole, Makelele, Essien, Lampard (Bridge 90),Robben (Kalou 57), Drogba, Shevchenko (Mikel 76).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Wright-Phillips.

Booked: Ricardo Carvalho.

Goals: Lampard 73 pen, 80.

Att: 24,290

Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).







Source Soccernet
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