PANTOMIME ON ICE AS IPSWICH SKATE INTO NEXT ROUND
Ipswich Town skated into the the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup with a highly polished display in snow bound Lodz yesterday. They had the cushion of a five goal lead from the first leg of their third-round tie at Portman Road and were prepared to defend in depth.
Icy conditions made the match a farce. Bobby Robson, the Ipswich manager, described the pitch as "downright dangerous".
Amazingly, their were no injuries, although Dutch international Arnold Muhren limped of with a recurrence of a calf muscle strain sustained in training on Tuesday night.
The Polish league leaders stood a real chance only if they could pull back a couple of early goals.
That there was no score by the interval, thanks largely to a superb performance by Terry Butcher at the heart of Ipswich's defence, gave Lodz an almost impossible second half task.
The Lodz goal came after 55 minutes when Pieta cashed in on slips by Burley and McCall to hammer a shot past Cooper from close range. After this, Ipswich called on Beattie to replace Muhren and he was immediately drafted into the back line/
It was like a pantomime on ice. The lines were marked in orange and most of the players wore tracksuit bottoms and gloves.
Only twice did Ipswich look like scoring. In the 25th minute Wark made a late run and met Muhren's cross with his head, but the ball skimmed the bar. Then Gates collected a pass from Muhren after 33 minutes, but his shot was deflected.
It was bitterly cold with occasional falls of snow throughout the game, but Ipswich gave a sound display against opponents who had already knocked Manchester United and Juventus out of the competition.
Mr. Robson said: "The standard was very high considering the conditions. I thought before the match that the players would slip and slide all over the place.
"We showed a far better attitude and at half time I felt we could have won the match. We didn't play as well in the second half, but we did not have to weather a storm.
"Now we can forget about Europe until March and turn our attention to the league scene. I am delighted and relieved that we came through this tie without serious injury."
Widzew Lodz - Klepczysinki; Plich, Grebosz, Mozejko, Romke, Tiokinski, Pieta (Lisiak, 82), Surlit, Jezewski, Rozborski, Smolarek.
Ipswich Town - Cooper; Burley, McCall, Thijssen, Osman, Butcher, Wark, Muhren (Beattie, 56), Mariner (O'Callaghan, 83), Brazil, Gates.