FC Avenir Beggen 0-1 Ipswich Town FC
A stoppage-time goal for Ipswich gave them a slender advantage after their UEFA Cup qualifying round first-leg tie against Beggen tonight.
Marcus Stewart's last-gasp strike spared the English first division side's blushes after they were made to struggle against the battling part-timers of Beggen. Ipswich, relegated from the FA Premiership last season, will certainly not take the team from Luxemburg for granted in the return leg at Portman Road in two weeks' time.
Ipswich dominated possession for long periods but simply could find no way past Beggen's well-drilled defensive unit. The visitors' best chance of a rather unproductive first half came in the 29th minute but Thomas Gaardsøe's effort was saved by the excellent Kevin Hartert in the Beggen goal.
Although George Burley introduced regular first-team midfield players Matt Holland and Jim Magilton at the interval, Ipswich could find no way past the courageous amateurs until Stewart popped up in the last minute to break the deadlock when he volleyed home from Magilton's throughball. There was still time left for the visitors to create another scoring chance, but Stewart's header from close range was saved by Hartert.
'Two minutes too long'
"Nobody involved in this club could ever believe we could achieve this sort of result," said Beggen coach Gilbert Dresch. "The match was simply two minutes too long for us in the end. We really dug deep and showed a moral resolve as a team that almost got us a draw. We showed that we are a combative outfit against a professional side who were made to suffer for their victory."