Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Ballack in the dock after Chelsea coast

Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 4

Passions are usually fiery down at Fratton Park and it was the same last night with Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp accusing Michael Ballack of "diving" for a penalty to give Chelsea the lead in a League Cup tie which ended in humiliation for the home side. "It was never a penalty," Redknapp complained. "He left his leg in and dived."

His sense of injustice stretched to some "joke" defending from his team which led to another of Chelsea's goals – he didn't name names but it was clearly a reference to a goalkeeping howler by David James – but it was Ballack's antics which provoked his anger. Maybe it was a smokescreen. Redknapp's complaints stretched to being down to the proverbial "bare bones" – and he is shorn of a first-choice midfield right now – but Portsmouth were, indeed, "bashed up" by a Chelsea side which oozed style and confidence.



They have somewhat appropriated headlines in this competition in recent years – from Jose Mourinho's shush gestures and then defiant salutes towards Roman Abramovich as he twice won the trophy, to Avram Grant's clueless head-scratching as he lost it last season – but all Luiz Felipe Scolari's 2008-09 version delivered was an emphatic message of superiority. The manager barely stirred himself although his players were stirring enough.



Redknapp's side are listing like a holed liner. They sank. And, in doing so, they stank. Ten goals conceded in two games without reply and an aggregate of 8-0 against Chelsea in two contests this season.



The goals came thick and fast either side of half-time. First Ballack burst onto a cut-back by Salomon Kalou to fall under Nadir Belhadj's challenge. Frank Lampard drilled the penalty low into the corner of the net.



Kalou was provider for the second, laying a simple pass in for Florent Malouda to drive a vicious shot beyond James. Chelsea's next goal was soft. A centre by Kalou was too close to the goalkeeper only for James to push it out – and straight into Lampard. The ball struck the midfielder on the thigh, just a yard out, and trickled over the line.



Portsmouth were torn apart once more when Sylvain Distin dallied in possession, Kalou stole the ball and, again, James was beaten with a low, angled shot at his near post. "Scandalous," said Redknapp. "People made mistakes who don't normally make them."



Portsmouth (4-1-4-1): James; Johnson, Pamarot, Distin, Hreidarsson; Kaboul; Utaka, Mvuemba, Hughes (Wilson, 80), Belhadj (A Traoré, 69); Crouch (Kanu, 69). Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Defoe, D Traoré, Little.



Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Bridge; Belletti; Kalou, Ballack (Ferreira, 69), Lampard (Sinclair, 74), Malouda; Drogba (Di Santo, 79). Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Mikel, Mancienne, Stoch.



Referee: S Bennett (Kent).



*Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has bolstered his squad by signing the 33-year-old Brazilian midfielder Mineiro until the end of the season.



COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre