BUTCHER STRIKES TO END THE IPSWICH AGONY
Ipswich received well-deserved compensation for their recent FA Cup and Championship disappointments in Cologne last night when a 64th minute goal by Terry Butcher carried them into the UEFA Cup final for the first time. They meet Alkmaar.
With a one goal lead to protect, Ipswich concentrated on containing their opponents and they went about this task calmly and sensibly.
Much of the battle was fought in midfield, where Ipswich were considerably stiffened by the return of Thijssen and the presence of Mills, who switched from defence to lend his vast experience and tactical knowledge to this important role.
Indeed, Mills and Thijssen brought the best out of Wark and Muhren and the four of them allowed Cologne little time or space to build up moves.
Despite the return of Bonhof to midfield and Zimmermann in defence, the Germans took a long time to find their touch and gradually the confidence of Ipswich increased.
In general, Bobby Robson's men were able to keep Cologne out of target range. When they did get through the young Ipswich defence, which had Steggles making only his second European appearance at right- back and the highly promising McCall reverting to left-back after playing in midfield at Norwich last Monday, they failed to finish.
From time to time Ipswich took the opportunity to counter-attack and on several occasions caught their opponents by surprise with quick moves instigated, usually, by Muhren and Mills.
Brazil was offered two sharp chances, volleying one yards over the bar and driving the other fiercely just wide of the far post.
Mariner, who had been doubtful because of an Achilles injury, also worked his way into the box to meet a good cross from Muhren, but he half-volleyed the ball over the top from inside the penalty box.
Towards the end of the first half, however, Cologne applied heavier pressure and twice might have snatched an aggregate equaliser. Cooper, as alert and agile as ever, frustrated the first attempt by fisting the ball away from Muller's head.
Then Engel's headed a beautifully-judged cross from Littbarski over from just a few yards out.
Ipswich had to weather a heavy storm in the opening stages of the second half. They temporarily lost control in midfield and Cologne repeatedly swarmed around the East Anglian's penalty box.
Cooper was kept busy dealing with crosses, shots and headers and Butcher and Osman worked overtime to keep the Germans out.
But if Cologne had been a little more accurate with their finishing they would surely have closed the narrow gap during this period.
Konopka drove a shot inches wide, Muller shot yards off target, Rotteron drove one over and poor Engels, who had come so close to scoring in the first half, saw another good effort bounce to safety off a post.
But eventually Ipswich began to move back upfield, regained their grip in midfield and put themselves in clear sight of the final by snatching an all important away goal.
It all began when Rotteron brought down Thijssen from behind some 25 yards out. Mills curled the free kick into the penalty box and Butcher rose above the defence to head the ball down past the surprised Schumacher.
One could almost see the spring return to Ipswich's tired limbs as they returned to the centre spot, realising that, with the away goals rule, Cologne would need to score three times to prevent their reaching the final.
The German's responded to this challenge by pulling off Zimmermann and sending on Krept.
Although Cologne refused to give up their now hopeless quest, Ipswich were in no mood to give them the slightest encouragement.
Despite determined efforts from Woodcock, Muller and Botteron to break through in the closing stages, Bobby Robson's men held firm, with Cooper making a series of agile saves whenever the back four were lured into making mistakes.
Cologne - Schumacher; Prestin, Konopka, Zimmermann, Bonhof, Cullmann, Littbarski, Botteron, Muller D., Engels, Woodcock.
Ipswich - Cooper; Steggles, McCall, Thijssen, Osman, Butcher, Wark, Muhren, Mariner, Brazil, Mills.
Donald Saunders (Daily Telegraph)