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Penalty agony for Ipswich

Published: Thursday 14 November 2002, 21.50CET
FC Slovan Liberec 1-0 Ipswich Town FC (Agg: 1-1; Liberec win 4-2 on pens) Czech champions win shoot-out.
Published: Thursday 14 November 2002, 21.50CET

Penalty agony for Ipswich

FC Slovan Liberec 1-0 Ipswich Town FC (Agg: 1-1; Liberec win 4-2 on pens) Czech champions win shoot-out.

Jermaine Wright and Finidi George both missed penalties as English first division side Ipswich Town FC slipped out of the UEFA Cup 4-2 in a shoot-out against FC Slovan Liberec.

Gyan joy
The Czech champions rarely threatened a determined Ipswich, who qualified for the competition via the Fair Play draw, but Baffour Gyan struck with three minutes remaining to win them this second-leg match 1-0, and level the aggregate score at 1-1.

Squirmed in
Petr Lukas got on the end of a left-wing corner to send a looping header back across goal. Gyan rose at the back post, and his nod-down squirmed between Matt Holland and Andy Marshall and over the line.

Second-half storm
Liberec, strengthened by sweeper Petr Johana's return after six weeks out with a hip injury, looked short of ideas in attack and barely tested Ipswich in a quiet first half, but they came out with more positive intentions after the break. Martin Zboncak had already fired a ferocious effort just wide when Petr Janú drew a fine save from Marshall after 47 minutes.

Papousek miss
Still, though, Ipswich must have been confident of holding on, especially after Petr Papousek had crashed an effort over from 16 metres after a clever back-heeled lay-off from Tomás Janú.

Chances galore
But, having had the rub of the green at Portman Road two weeks ago, Ipswich were undone by Gyan's late strike. Neither side seemed to fancy the idea of penalties, and with both teams showing an attacking mindset, extra time was littered with chances.

Bent denied
Perhaps the best fell to Darren Bent, Ipswich's scorer in the first leg, just a minute in. He surged into the inside-right channel but goalkeeper Antonín Kinský got a hand to his venomous drive, and then reacted quickly to hold the ball as it threatened to spin back over the line.

Papousek again
Papousek twice went close to settling the game, driving the ball across the face of goal and narrowly wide, and then seeing a firm shot from the edge of the box scrape by the outside of the post.

Kinsky the hero
But in the end it was down to penalties. Kinsky was again the hero, saving from Wright and Finidi, before Papousek despatched the decisive kick.

Skorpil relief
Slovan coach Ladislav Skorpil showed his relief at the late equaliser, saying after the game: "I was afraid that we would be punished for missed chances in the first leg, but the substitutes revived our play and the goal came at last."

'I am proud of my players'
His counterpart Joe Royle had nothing but praise for his team despite their European exit. "I am proud of my players despite our elimination," he said. "The whole team fought together, but we were unable to score a goal. It seems finding the net is still our main problem."

Last updated: 15/11/02 0.06CET

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