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Barca hampered by archaic FIFA

Barcelona 22 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
6:30 PM GMT
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 22, 2008

Lampard insists Chelsea deserved Anfield draw

Frank Lampard insisted Chelsea deserved the fortunate last-gasp equaliser that put them in charge of their Champions League semi-final with Liverpool.

The Blues were heading for a 1-0 defeat thanks to Dirk Kuyt's 43rd-minute goal but John Arne Riise nodded a Salomon Kalou cross into his own net in the 95th minute.

'I think we deserved definitely to get the draw at the end,' Lampard said on ITV1.

'They had chances, we had chances.

'It was a battle and we carried on to the end.'

Goalkeeper Petr Cech, who kept his side in the tie with a number of vital saves agreed, claiming the goal made up for bad luck he believes Chelsea have suffered in their two previous semi-finals at Anfield.

'We've been quite unlucky here the last two semi-finals,' he said. 'We had our chances and we didn't take them.

'We've had a lucky goal but to be fair we've played until the last seconds and we were rewarded for that.'

Lampard hailed Cech's contribution, saying: 'He was fantastic. Big Pete's, for us, the best goalkeeper in the world and he showed that.'

Cech urged his team-mates to finish the tie at Stamford Bridge, saying: 'This is not over.

'I hope at home we can make it.'

Avram Grant believes Chelsea took a 'big step' towards the final.

It also kept Grant, under intense pressure from his critics, in contention for a Champions League and Premier League double.

He said: 'I do not concern myself with what people say, I am just doing my job to get results.

'And I know that 1-1 away from home in Europe is good result. It is a big step now towards our goal.'

He added: 'We have conceded a lot of late goals this season so it was good to see one go in our favour. I felt we deserved it. There could have been a couple of penalties for us and we controlled the game until Liverpool scored.

'Both goals came from mistakes, but I must also praise Petr Cech for his performance. He made some important saves, but we are used to that from him.

'But although the draw is good for us, we know it will be tough at Stamford Bridge. It is always difficult for teams to play at Anfield with the support Liverpool's fans create, but it can also be intimidating for teams who visit Stamford Bridge.

'We know this is a big step towards the Champions League final now, and we believe we can complete the task in the second leg.'

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez confirmed he had held brief discussions with co-owner Tom Hicks at the club's Melwood training complex ahead of the game, with the objective of setting up a meeting between the manager, Hicks and fellow owner George Gillett.

Benitez said: 'I had a short discussion with Tom Hicks, and the idea now is to set up a meeting involving both owners so we can discuss the future. I believe that is possible and can be arranged.'

Benitez was critical of Austrian referee Konrad Plautz for giving so much added time.

He was also upset by the stream of free-kicks awarded by the official - who also refereed Liverpool's group stage home defeat by Marseille - against his side.

Benitez said: 'It was a difficult match and I was very disappointed with the referee. This was not the first time.

'We knew what to expect because we'd had him before against Marseille. He gave just one minute injury-time in the first period and four in the second. It was hard to understand.

'All the free-kicks seemed to go against us. The first four free-kicks against us were for pushing, and then when one of their players (Ashley Cole) pushes one of our players in the back with both hands in the box, there's nothing.

'But we cannot blame the referee for our missed chances. We had at least four clear opportunities, and we must score those.

'But we must now be positive and clear our minds. If we play like that at Stamford Bridge next week and take those chances, we will go through.

'We have confidence in ourselves. I am confident we can do it, I will recall the first 20 minutes of the second period when we were very much on top of Chelsea. If we can do that again at Stamford Bridge, we can still get to the final.'