Lampard shines for Chelsea, Ramos gets winning start

Frank Lampard’s hat-trick helped League Cup holders Chelsea snatch a dramatic 4-3 win over Leicester on Wednesday.

Avram Grant’s side were slipping towards an embarrassing fourth-round defeat against the managerless Championship side — who lost Gary Megson after just six weeks to Premiership strugglers Bolton — until Andriy Shevchenko equalised with three minutes to play.

Shevchenko was initially credited with Chelsea’s stoppage-time winner as well, but his deflected shot was eventually given to Lampard after the final whistle.

Leicester had taken a shock lead when Gareth McAuley headed in Matt Fryatt’s cross after six minutes.

Chelsea equalised when Lampard claimed his first goal for two months with a neat finish in the 20th minute.

Just nine minutes later, Lampard got his second. Scott Sinclair’s cross was only half-cleared and the England midfielder drove home the loose ball.

But Leicester weren’t prepared to throw in the towel and they drew level in the 69th minute through DJ Campbell.

It got even worse for Grant’s side five minutes later when Carl Cort put the visitors ahead.

But Shevchenko equalised with three minutes to go before Lampard broke Leicester’s hearts.

Juande Ramos enjoyed a winning start to his reign at Tottenham as his new club beat Blackpool 2-0.

Goals from Robbie Keane and Pascal Chimbonda were enough to give the former Sevilla coach the perfect debut at White Hart Lane and secure Tottenham’s first win in seven matches at the expense of the Championship strugglers.

The Spanish coach named a strong side, making only two changes to the team beaten by Blackburn on Sunday, with England internationals Paul Robinson and Jermaine Jenas coming back into the side.

Keane gave Ramos a dream start when he cooly converted Dimitar Berbatov’s pass after a long punt by Robinson in the 18th minute.

French right-back Chimbonda put the result beyond doubt when he met Steed Malbranque’s corner with a thumping header in the 58th minute.

Eduardo da Silva’s double strike sent Arsenal cruising through as the Premier League leaders beat Sheffield United 3-0 at Bramall Lane.

As usual Arsene Wenger, who made 11 changes from Sunday’s draw at Liverpool, used the competition to give his fringe players a chance and they responded in style to maintain Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season.

It took last season’s runners-up only eight minutes to take the lead when Eduardo lashed in a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area.

The Croatian forward doubled Arsenal’s advantage after 50 minutes when he sprinted through to poke a shot past Ian Bennett before Denilson got on the score sheet in the 69th minute.

Wenger said: ”It was a quality first strike and technically Eduardo played well. We do not put any pressure on him; we just know when a player comes to a club it takes more or less six months.”

Steven Gerrard saved Liverpool’s blushes as Rafa Benitez’s side edged past Championship club Cardiff 2-1.

Moroccan forward Nabil El Zhar scored his first Liverpool goal in the 48th minute, but Darren Purse headed Cardiff level midway through the second half.

Liverpool, who won just one of their last five matches, could ill-afford an embarrassing defeat and Gerrard saved the day as he drove home a minute later to ruin Robbie Fowler’s return to Anfield.

There was more good news for Benitez as Australia winger Harry Kewell made his first appearance since May’s Champions League final after a groin injury.

Kewell’s compatriot Tim Cahill gave Everton a 1-0 extra-time win at League One side Luton.

Cahill pounced in the 101st minute with a close range finish to end Luton’s brave resistance.

South African striker Benni McCarthy helped Blackburn to a 2-1 win at Portsmouth.

McCarthy got his eighth goal of the season when he converted Aaron Mokoena’s pass in the 11th minute.

Mark Hughes’s side went further ahead through Morten Gamst Pedersen in the 77th minute and Nwankwo Kanu’s last minute reply for Portsmouth was not enough to deny Blackburn their seventh successive victory.

Manchester City bounced back from their Chelsea nightmare as Elano’s late penalty clinched a 1-0 win at Bolton.

Sven Goran Eriksson’s side were thrashed 6-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, but sneaked through when Elano slotted home after a handball by Lubomir Michalik in the 86th minute. — AFP



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Steve Griffiths
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