A superb textbook header from substitute Alun Armstrong eleven minutes from time gave Ipswich Town FC a valuable one-goal cushion to take to Milan for their third round second leg UEFA Cup tie against Internazionale FC.
'Attitude and character'
Ipswich coach George Burley had been unsure whether to play Armstrong, as the striker had been suffering with a stomach virus but the decision to use him as a late replacement paid dividends. "We produced last season's form tonight and our attitude and character shone throughout," Burley said.
Ipswich have yet to lose a European match at Portman Road stadium and extended their record to 28 matches unbeaten after this first-leg victory. They looked threatening from as early as the fifth minute. Mark Venus's delivery was perfect as Titus Bramble stormed in but put his effort wide from five metres out.
Héctor Cúper's side fired a warning only four minutes later when Nicola Ventola spurned a superb opportunity. The striker over-elaborated by rounding the Ipswich goalkeeper Matteo Sereni, who to his great credit, made up the ground and spread himself to parry the shot.
Stream of pressure
Sixto Perlata and Pablo Couñago were showing some neat skills as Burley's side had Inter well and truly on the rack for the last 15 minutes of the first half. Captain Matt Holland fired in a venomous shot two minutes from the break but his effort was too central and Francesco Toldo parried.
It was a case of déjà-vu as within four minutes of the restart Ipswich created another outstanding chance. Peralta threaded a delightful ball for Couñago who took it on brilliantly but could not apply the final touch.
Armstrong had only been on a few minutes but his sharpness in front of goal was a joy to behold as the 26-year-old powered an unstoppable header from a signature Jamie Clapham cross into the net in the 81st minute.
Ipswich could not afford to let their guard slip as Cúper's team did manage to carve out one final chance on 85 minutes when Seedorf and Kallon combined majestically, the Sierra Leone forward dragging the ball back and unleashing a rasping drive which Mark Venus somehow blocked.
Inter's Argentinian coach Cúper was content with the way his side replied after conceding the goal. He said: "We responded well after going a goal down. Hopefully we can turn it round at the San Siro."