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League Cup: Ipswich stun Arsenal

January 13, 2011 10:09 IST

Ipswich Town, thrashed 7-0 in the FA Cup by Chelsea three days ago, produced a memorable display to shock Arsenal 1-0 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final at Portman Road on Wednesday.

It might not have quite matched their FA Cup upset win over the Gunners in the 1978 final but the Championship (second division) side, who sacked manager Roy Keane last week, can dream of a Wembley return thanks to a 78th-minute goal by Hungary striker Tamas Priskin.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, without a trophy since 2005, decided this was too good an opportunity to miss and fielded just about his strongest available side.

Cesc Fabregas was, as ever, at the heart of most of Arsenal's probings but the Premier League title-chasers were guilty of their usual sin of over-playing and struggled to carve out clear chances.

Fabregas did set up Andrei Arshavin early in the second half but the Russian shot badly wide with just keeper Marton Fulop to beat.

At the other end Connor Wickham, a burly 17-year-old forward, gave Arsenal's defenders a tough time and must have had Wenger wondering if a muscular presence such as his could be the missing link that would complete his neat-passing jigsaw.

Fellow front man Priskin found the net with an overhead kick but the goal was ruled out for offside.

The longer the game went on the more Ipswich grew in confidence and, having lost in the semi-finals twice in the 1980s, their fans began to wonder if this could be third time lucky.

That began to look possible 12 minutes from time when Ipswich's pounding of Arsenal's soft centre finally paid off.

Colin Healy played a long ball that caught out Johan Djourou and Priskin ran on to slot the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal increased the pressure in the dying minutes but could not find an equaliser, setting up a fascinating return leg at The Emirates on Jan. 25.

In the first leg of the other semi-final, played on Tuesday, West Ham United beat Birmingham City 2-1 at Upton Park.

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