since 1878

Ipswich Town (1) 3 - 0 (0) Barcelona

UEFA Cup 3rd Round, 1st Leg 1977-78

Wednesday, November 23, 1977

Referee: A Prokop (East Germany)

Manager: Bobby Robson

Portman Road 19:30

Attendance: 33663

Manager: Unknown

Match Number: 1636


 Eric Gates (16)
 Trevor Whymark (61)
 Brian Talbot (77)


MacizoClares (80)
HerediaRexach (42)









de la Cruz











Match Report

Ipswich Town 3 Barcelona 0

Ipswich are already as good as through to next spring's quarter finals of the UEFA Cup.

But sadly they scored this first leg success over a Barcelona whose greatest player, Johan Cruyff, left England with a performance which underlined his growing disenchantment with the football.

Ipswich's evident satisfaction from what should have been one of the most impressive victories of this European season can hardly disguise the lack of resolution from their opponents.

Cruyff's hardening resolve to retire rather than to lead Holland in next summer's World Cup was evident in each gesture of annoyance, in every half-hearted run. And Barcelona's second place in the Spanish League reflected disparagingly on the state of football there.

Ipswich manager Bobby Robson had heralded Barcelona as one of Europe's most potent teams and so Ipswich, after scoring with their only worthwhile shot of the first half, took an hour to realise they didn't have a lot to beat.

Yet though the three goal lead should see them comfortably through the return in a fortnight, the goals owed as much to the lack of commitment in Barcelona's defence as to the chance making crosses of Clive Woods.

Eric Gates, Trevor Whymark and Brian Talbot relished scoring against such celebrated opposition. And there was excitement also, surrounding the comebacks from injury by Kevin Beattie and Colin Viljoen, in front of Ipswich's highest crowd of the season 33,272.

Beattie returned to the heart of the Ipswich defence a mere five weeks after a cartilage operation. Viljoen came on as a 74th minute substitute for the injured Gates, ending two years in the wilderness because of the injuries which had cost him his England place.

It was a measure of Barcelona's shortcomings that they offered no real threat to an Ipswich defence patched up by Beattie and Hunter, neither of whom could be described as fully fit.

Gates was the only player to hit a shot on target in the first half, scoring with a neat turn and low drive in the 16th minute after Woods had swayed past Macizo.

Barcelona albeit reluctantly, introduced more typically continental skill and therefore more variation to their play just before half time, when the gifted Carlos Rexach replaced Juan Heredia, who appeared uninterested as well as injured.

But there was little this exciting player could do to activate his team and Barcelona fell further behind in the 61st minute. Goalkeeper Artola lamentably failed to hold on to Mariner's header and Whymark bundled the ball over the line.

Spanish defender Olmo was cautioned for the 65th minute foul which eventually forced Gates to make way for Viljoen before, in the 77th minute, Woods crossed again and Talbot headed the third.

Cruyff produced just one glimpse of magic, accelerating away on the left to provide a menacing low pass, but Zuviria knocked the chance wide and Ipswich were left holding a lead about which manager Robson enthused:

"This is beyond my wildest dreams. I am surprised by our result because I was so impressed when I watched Barcelona on Sunday. They did not play anything like that well but ours was still an outstanding team performance.

"Roger Osborne stuck like glue to Cruyff and although it was a risk to bring back Beattie so quickly, we needed him and Hunter to bolster our confidence."

Jeff Powell

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