Soccer

Lampard scores 200th Chelsea goal in win over West Ham

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Associated Press
3/17/2013 3:57:41 PM
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LONDON -- Chelsea seized the third automatic Champions League qualification place from Tottenham on Sunday as Frank Lampard netted his 200th goal for the west London club.

Lampard set Chelsea on its way to a 2-0 victory over former club West Ham, while Dimitar Berbatov also punished his old team as Fulham inflicted Tottenham's second successive loss with a 1-0 victory.

While Manchester United has the title effectively wrapped up, the chase for the Champions League spots is still tense with Tottenham now just four points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal after having seen a 12-match unbeaten run end at Liverpool last Sunday.

Chelsea is four points behind second-place Manchester City, whose faint title hopes appeared to end by losing at Everton on Saturday to fall 15 points behind United.

The most heated game on Sunday was Wigan's 2-1 victory over Newcastle, with coaches from both teams sent to the stands after a halftime scuffle over an ugly tackle on Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara that went unpunished.

There was a sending off, however, at Sunderland where Norwich held on for a 1-1 draw despite playing an hour with 10 men after goalkeeper Mark Dunn saw red.

It was a more sedate match at Stamford Bridge, with the only flash point coming when West Ham fans appeared to throw coins at Lampard after he scored, but failed to hit the midfielder.

Lampard, who left West Ham in 2001, opened the scoring in the 19th minute by rising to meet Eden Hazard's dinked ball and head past goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Lampard's 12th goal of the season put him just two behind Bobby Tambling's Chelsea record of 202, but his future after this season remains uncertain with no offer of a new contract.

"Everyone keeps talking about the goal-scoring record," the 34-year-old Lampard said. "I would rather people kept quiet. The important thing is trying to score goals to win games."

The second goal came five minutes into the second half, with Hazard completing a neat interplay with Juan Mata and rounding off a successful week for Chelsea.

A comeback at Manchester United in the FA Cup last Sunday to force a replay was followed up by a Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest to reach the quarterfinals on Thursday.

"We are in good form," Lampard said. "There is a good feeling around the place and we need to carry it on until the end of the season."

Tottenham needs to rediscover the form that propelled it to third if it is to capture one of the four Champions League spots.

Berbatov found the net seven minutes into the second half with a mis-hit shot that flew past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

"The effort and commitment were there," Tottenham manager Andre Villa-Boas said. "Probably the organization wasn't, and it is down to us to get to business and correct that."

While Tottenham is looking to the Champions League, Wigan is trying to avoid dropping into the League Championship as it sits in the relegation zone, three points from safety with a game in hand over Aston Villa.

Arouna Kone boosted Wigan's survival prospects by slotting in a stoppage time goal to clinch the victory over Newcastle.

Newcastle players had been appealing for handball on Maynor Figueroa but they were more furious in the first half when Callum McManaman's wreckless knee-high challenge on Haidara was not punished by referee Mark Halsey.

Haidara had to be carried off on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and Newcastle's anger spilled over into a halftime scuffle with assistant manager John Carver sent to the stands along with Wigan coach Graham Barrow.

Wigan had gone in front in the 18th through Jean Beasejour, with Davide Santon equalizing for Newcastle in the 72nd.

"The tackle was awful, and we've lost the game in the last minute to what I think is a handball, and also got a boy going to hospital," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.

At Sunderland, Norwich was leading 1-0 through Wes Hoolahan's close-range header when Bunn was dismissed on the half-hour for handling outside his area.

It got worse for Norwich five minutes before halftime when defender Sebastien Bassong conceded a penalty, and Craig Gardner levelled from the spot. Norwich is now 10 points above of the relegation zone and Sunderland is seven points clear.

Frank Lampard (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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