Lampard penalty kick leads Chelsea over United
Alex Ferguson was angry. After only the second Premier League loss by his team this season, the Manchester United manager said David Luiz should have been ejected before Frank Lampard scored the go-ahead goal in Chelsea's 2-1 victory yesterday.
Ferguson said Luiz, who already had a yellow card, should have been sent off by referee Martin Atkinson for fouling Wayne Rooney.
"You want a fair referee - or a strong referee, anyway - and we didn't get that," Ferguson said. "I don't know why he has got the game. I must say, when I saw who the referee was I did fear it. I feared the worst.
"The Luiz foul was six yards in front of the referee, maybe eight if we give him the benefit of the doubt, no obstructions whatsoever. I don't know how he stayed on the pitch."
Rooney played after escaping punishment for elbowing an opponent in an off-the-ball incident Saturday at Wigan.
Lampard converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute, shortly after Ferguson said Luis should have been sent off. The Red Devils' loss tightened a Premier League race that they have controlled for months.
Rooney scored in his third straight Premier League game for the first time in a year, putting United ahead in the 29th minute with a 25-yard shot that beat goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Luiz tied in the 54th by volleying in his first goal for Chelsea. Lampard scored the go-ahead goal when he put his kick just over the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar after Yuri Zhirkov was tripped in the penalty area by United defender Chris Smalling. Chelsea have won three straight league games against United.
"The penalty was very soft. In actual fact," Ferguson said. "Chris has taken the ball and the player's left his leg in. Very soft. Amazing."
United captain Nemanja Vidic was ejected in stoppage time when he received his second yellow card for a foul on Ramires. Vidic is suspended for Sunday's game at Liverpool.
Manchester United (17-2-9) have 60 points, four more than second-place Arsenal (17-5-5), who have played one fewer game. The Gunners host United on May 1.
Chelsea (14-7-6) moved into fourth place - the final Champions League spot - with 48 points, two back of Manchester City (14-6-8) and one ahead of Tottenham (13-6-8).
"We've still got some fight in us and we showed that tonight," Lampard said.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti isn't anticipating the Blues will win their second straight league title.
"It is too far and we are not able to fix this and arrive at the top," Ancelotti said. "But this victory is important for our confidence."
Fernando Torres failed to score and has no goals in four games since Chelsea bought him from Liverpool for about £80 million.
"I don't ask my strikers to score, I ask them to play for the team," Ancelotti said. "He played well, worked hard for the team and put pressure on defenders."