since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 1 - 1 (1) Torpedo Moscow

UEFA Cup 1st Round, 1st Leg 2001-02

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Referee: Unknown

Manager: George Burley

Portman Road

Attendance: 21,201

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 2908


 Titus Bramble (85)
 Viazmikin (14)


ViazmikinKamoltsev (89)
ShirkoSemshov (82)

























Match Report

Bramble's late strike preserves unbeaten home record

Ipswich's return to European football didn't quite provide the result we were all expecting, but at least it was an entertaining match. A first half Torpedo goal was cancelled out in the final five minutes by a Titus Bramble strike...

This was the sort of game where you experience almost every type of emotion possible in the short time of 90 minutes. It had everything; in between the good and bad periods of play, we had goals, disallowed goals, missed penalties, chances smacking the woodwork, play acting that would make Robbie Savage proud, and even a skirmish among the players as tempers boiled over. Our return to Europe did not bring the victory we were all hoping and expecting for, and in fact we now face a mountain of a task in Moscow if we are prolong our European tour to more than one round. We don't have any goal advantage to take to Russia, and have given them a priceless away goal into the bargain. We now must score in the away leg. In the end, this was a game we were agonisingly close to stealing. But we can't complain too much, as we could have lost by a couple. As it is, we should be thankful that at 1-1, we are still in it, and stand every chance of going through. Ipswich's first half display was a disjointed affair, and frustration grew in the crowd as it looked like we were going to blow our big night. After a good opening five minutes, Torpedo seemed to easily cope with the Ipswich tactics, and looked conspicuously dangerous on the break. Martijn Reuser was dropped to the bench, as Burley took the strange decision to play Finidi left wing, with Jermaine Wright being accommodated on the right. Torpedo stunned Portman Road by taking the lead in the 14th minute. They capitalised on a terrible mistake from Titus Bramble, and punished Town fully. Bramble's one downfall as a player has been his tendency to make errors at vital moments, and the big defender was at it again. His pass from the back went astray and found Alexander Shirko, who immediately pounced, and fed Vyasmikin. The Russian striker's shot flew in between Sereni's sprawled legs, and into the back of the net. Disbelief took hold of Portman Road as Town were unable get their game together. This was not in the script, and fears grew that we were about to embarrass ourselves on national TV. And these fears were not reduced when, after being handed a golden opportunity to get back into the game, we chucked it away. Pablo Counago somehow won a penalty in the 36th minute - for what, I'm not sure, possibly shirt pulling. Up stepped Marcus Stewart, only to whack the spot kick wide of the goal. I don't know if he changed his mind at the last minute, but it seemed to sum up Town's current form. We can't take chances at the moment when they are handed to us on a plate. But the players did try to rally after the miss. Counago so nearly levelled, when he headed Magilton's cross onto the bar. But overall, you couldn't deny the Russians their first half lead. They were superbly organised, and things did not look bright for us at half time. John McGreal was replaced after the break for Jamie Clapham. I doubt this was a tactical decision, and an injury to the defender is a big concern. But Clapham did provide more width down the left, and was soon whipping in some creative crosses that Jermaine had been unable to provide. Gradually, Town began to turn to screw in the search for an equaliser, but it looked like it was going to be one of those days. Something seemed to be missing from Town's play, and understandably, the Russians defended resolutely in numbers. They even had the ball in the net a second time, when they countered swiftly from an Ipswich attack. Fortunately it was given offside, but had counted, it would definitely been game, set and match to Torpedo. Martijn Reuser came on for the final twenty minutes, and the Dutchman immediately had an impact down the left flank. He quickly formed an impressive partnership with Clapham, and the two rained in crosses. Finidi switched to his preferred right wing, and soon Town were looking back to their irresistible best. Finidi George looked to have scored, but typically, Torpedo's keeper Berezovsky produced a heroic save. The breakthrough finally arrived in the 85th minute, and brought relief all round. It was Titus Bramble who turned hero from villain, when he swept the ball in from a Clapham cross. With five minutes, Town searched for the last gasp winner that would have brought the house down. And they nearly found it on a couple of occasions. Berezovsky denied Finidi again when he somehow stopped the ball on the line, and then the ball bounced twice off the woodwork pinball style from Naylor and Clapham. It just wouldn't go in. The final whistle was met with subdued applause, as Town failed to win the game. At least we had preserved our proud unbeaten home record. There are also some positives to be taken from this match. This was the Ipswich late show, and we did get better as the match went on. Torpedo, while well organised, can be penetrated. I'm not quite sure what to make of the tactics. It was rumoured Reuser was injured, but he looked fine when he came on for the final twenty minutes. I don't think playing Finidi on the left worked that well, and I think it would have been better to play Clapham on the left from the word go, instead of Jermaine Wright. Although Torpedo do have the advantage, they are now in the position where have to decide if it is best to defend at home, a dangerous tactic, or attack, and leave gaps for us. It's certainly all there to play for, and if we can stop giving away stupid goals for just one match, we've got a chance.

From The Terrace

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