Town go out on spot kicks
Slovan Liberec 1 Ipswich Town 0 (1-1 on aggregate, Liberec won 4-2 on penalties): IPSWICH Town bowed out of the UEFA Cup in dramatic fashion after losing 4-2 on penalties to Slovan Liberec in the Czech Republic.
Slovan Liberec 1 Ipswich Town 0 (1-1 on aggregate, Liberec won 4-2 on penalties)
IPSWICH Town bowed out of the UEFA Cup in dramatic fashion after losing 4-2 on penalties to Slovan Liberec in the Czech Republic.
After a battling defensive display Town looked set to book their place in the last 32 of the competition for the second successive year but were denied by an 88th minute goal which levelled the tie 1-1 on aggregate.
A goalless extra time meant penalties and after Jermaine Wright and Finidi George had their spot kicks saved Liberec ran out 4-2 winners.
In a game of few chances Ipswich always looked able to make it through.
Liberec rarely troubled the three-man Ipswich defence in open but did cause a threat from set-pieces. Indeed Liberec's best chance of the first half came from a corner when Baffour Gyan had a free header but put it over the bar.
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The Czech's showed more ambition after half-time but an excellent defensive display from the Blues limited Liberec to only rare chances.
A place in the third round was within touching distance as Town's resolute defending continued but with just two minutes of normal time remaining Gyan struck.
From Liberec's fifth corner of the second period the ball found Gyan in the danger area and he forced the ball over the line to snatch a lifeline for Liberec.
The match went into extra time with both sides looking tired after a hard-fought 90 minutes.
Town showed their attacking intent playing Hermann Hreidarsson up front alongside Darren Bent and George.
It nearly paid off when Matt Holland found Bent who hit an early shot which Antonin Kinsky failed to hold. As the ball rolled across the goalline Kinsky rushed back to save.
It was the closest Town came to a decisive goal and it needed penalties to separate the two sides but it was Liberec who held his nerve best.