Skip to main content

Arsenal upset in cup semifinal; Liverpool beaten again by Blackpool

Ipswich hero Tamas Priskin, left, holds off a challenge from Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny at Portman Road.
Ipswich hero Tamas Priskin, left, holds off a challenge from Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny at Portman Road.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Second division strugglers Ipswich upset Arsenal 1-0 in first leg of semifinal
  • Tamas Priskin scores only goal in the 78th minute against Premier League side
  • Liverpool's poor run continues with 2-1 defeat away to Blackpool in Premier League
  • Promoted club complete the double over 18-time English champions

(CNN) -- Arsenal's hopes of reaching the English League Cup final for the seventh time suffered a blow on Wednesday when second division strugglers Ipswich won the first leg 1-0.

Beaten 7-0 by Chelsea in the FA Cup on Sunday, the home team bounced back in the final game under caretaker manager Ian McParland as new boss Paul Jewell watched in the stands.

Jewell, who twice led Wigan into the Premier League, will hope to guide Ipswich to the final when he takes the team to London on January 25 -- but his main aim is to keep the club from dropping into the third division.

The result, courtesy of striker Tamas Priskin's 78th-minute winner, brought back memories of Ipswich's famous 1978 victory over Arsenal in the final of the FA Cup -- a victory which started the club's glory days under the late Bobby Robson, which culminated in two league runner-up finishes and a UEFA Cup triumph.

We had no spark, Ipswich were sharper than us and we made a defensive mistake which they took advantage of
--Arsene Wenger
RELATED TOPICS

"I'm delighted for the boys. It shows their character," McParland, who stood in after Roy Keane was sacked last Friday, told reporters.

"They kept their shape tonight and worked hard, we might have had three goals and limited Arsenal to a couple of shots. I'm dead proud of them -- now they have to carry on that hard work under the new manager and they'll be fine."

Priskin was recalled by McParland after being dropped following an eight-game goalless run, and the Hungary international striker repaid that faith with a vital goal.

Having had an earlier effort ruled out for offside and then faltering when clean through on goal, the 24-year-old made no mistake after gathering Colin Healy's throughball as he guided the ball calmly past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

It was Premier League title hopefuls Arsenal's second setback in five days, having been held 1-1 by second division Leeds in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Captain Cesc Fabregas scored a stoppage-time penalty to earn a replay in that third-round tie, but the Spain midfielder missed a chance from close range shortly before Priskin struck as he could only divert a cross over the bar with his thigh.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has traditionally used the competition to blood young players, but named a strong side as he has all season as he seeks his first silverware since 2005.

"Ipswich defended very well and we were caught out. We had no spark, Ipswich were sharper than us and we made a defensive mistake which they took advantage of," the Frenchman told reporters.

"But we're at home in the second leg and that could make all the difference."

Meanwhile, Liverpool's new manager Kenny Dalglish suffered a second successive defeat on Wednesday night as promoted Blackpool did the double over the ailing 18-time English champions.

Dalglish has won eight of those as player and manager, but saw his team lose 2-1 in a repeat of the home fixture in October -- which was one of the low points of the tenure of his predecessor Roy Hodgson.

The result left Liverpool in 13th place, behind city rivals Everton on goal difference, while Blackpool moved up to ninth -- joining Blackburn and Newcastle on 28 points, having played fewer games than both those clubs.

With captain Steven Gerrard suspended after his red card in Sunday's FA Cup defeat by Manchester United, Spain striker Fernando Torres put Liverpool ahead in the third minute from young rightback Martin Kelly's pass.

But Blackpool forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher leveled nine minutes later as he burst through the visitors' defense, and fellow striker D.J. Campbell headed the winner with 21 minutes to play.