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28.04.2008 Sports News

Ballack -The victory was for Lampard

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle
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Chelsea's two-goal hero and Man of the Match Michael Ballack was in a buoyant mood after his side's 2-1 victory against Manchester United...

It was a huge game for the Blues, and sees them draw level with Sir Alex Ferguson's side and behind only on goal difference.

Ballack gave them the lead just before half time, heading home to cap a first half dominated by the Blues.

In the second period, the Red Devils looked stronger and determined to get something from the game and effectively end the title race.

However, they remained somewhat toothless, and Chelsea's backline was as defiant as ever. Then, in what looked to be a 'name on the trophy' moment, the usually faultless Ricardo Carvalho played a suicide pass straight to Wayne Rooney, who netted an equaliser.

That looked to be game, set and match for United, particularly as Chelsea were showing signs of internal unrest, with Ballack and Drogba arguing over who should take a free-kick, the on-field histrionics drawing far more attention to non-footballing matters than manager Avram Grant would have liked.

It was soon after when the game was turned on its head. An almost innocuous cross was handballed by a somewhat sloppy Michael Carrick, and the resulting penalty was hammered home by Ballack to seal the three points.

The German international spoke to Sky Sports 1 after the game, and dedicated the win to team-mate Frank Lampard's late mother Pat. The England star missed today's game as he is grieving, and Ballack had great sympathy for his fellow midfielder.

"The victory is for Frank [Lampard] and his family, we don't forget," said a solemn Ballack. "It's a difficult time for everybody - especially for his family - it's for him today.

"Our sympathy is with him and the family."

Regarding the on-field fracas with Drogba, Ballack was light-hearted and keen to play it down.
He answered, somewhat jokingly: "It was a good position, I thought: 'I can take it', but Didier's a strong man!"
"It was a fantastic free-kick, but I could score after, so it's okay.
"After the game it's fine. During the game, everyone wants to win. It was a great victory, everybody played very strong today, so that's not important."

On the pressures of taking such an important penalty, he said: "For me it's no problem, I can handle the pressure. It's always a good position if you're under pressure like this, and we have a lot of players that can take this situation."

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