Gallery: Chopra’s debut brace seals Ipswich victory
MICHAEL Chopra came off the bench to score twice on his Ipswich Town debut as Dutch second tier side FC Eindhoven were beaten 2-0 this afternoon.
WHAT’s that coming over the hill? It’s Michael Chopra, it’s Michael Chopra!
Ipswich Town’s much-heralded summer signing enjoyed a dream debut in Holland yesterday, coming off the bench to score both goals in a 2-0 victory over Dutch second tier side FC Eindhoven.
And it gave the 100 or so army of travelling Blues fans the perfect opportunity to sing their new striker’s ready-made song which became something of a cult at former club Cardiff City.
The 27-year-old, along with fellow summer additions Lee Bowyer and Aaron Cresswell, started the club’s first pre-season game on the bench.
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He was introduced at half-time though and took less than three minutes to open his Town goalscoring account, using his strength and pace to get beyond the last defender and squeeze a shot home via the keeper and post.
The �1.5m outlay on his signature then began to look cheaper by the minute as he continued to pop up in all the right places.
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After a series of near misses, a second goal duly arrived in the 77th minute as he showed all the instincts of a natural scorer by arriving late at the back post to tap home Lee Martin’s pull-back.
The only negative for Ipswich was that three defenders – Jack Ainsley, Tommy Smith and Damien Delaney – all had to play the entire 90 minutes due to the fact that Ivar Ingimarsson (thigh) and Carlos Edwards (hip) had both picked up knocks in training.
Left-backs Shane O’Connor and Joe Whight have both been left behind in Suffolk.
Manager Paul Jewell started just one of his five summer signings at the modest Jan Louwers Stadium – striker Nathan Ellington leading the line alongside Tamas Priskin in a traditional 4-4-2 formation.
Aaran Lee-Barratt began the game in goal behind a back four of Ainsley, Smith, Delaney and Mark Kennedy, while the midfield consisted of Jaime Peters and Luca Civelli down the wings with Grant Leadbitter – who was tellingly given the captaincy –
alongside Andy Drury in the middle.
The first half was typical pre-season fare, with Town having already been rigorously put through their paces in a training session just a few hours before the 3.30pm kick-off.
Priskin sent a dipping 25-yard effort onto the bar, while Ellington fired narrowly across the face of goal on the angle in the opening period.
Jewell predictably made numerous changes at the interval – six to be precise – with Chopra and Jason Scotland the new second-half strike partnership, Josh Carson and Lee Martin coming on the wings, Marton Fulop put in goal and Colin Healy into the midfield.
Cresswell and Bowyer, the latter who only signed hours before the team flew out on Sunday, then made their debuts around the hour mark.
Chopra continued to be a big goal threat, while at the other end the Suffolk visitors were pretty comfortable.
Town will once again train at their impressive Eindhoven base today in preparation for their second match of the tour, a 6pm (GMT) kick-off at second tier Dutch side Den Bosch on Thursday.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Lee-Barratt (Fulop 46); Ainsley, Smith, Delaney, Kennedy (Cresswell 58); Peters (Carson 46), Leadbitter (cpt) (Bowyer 63), Drury (Healy 46), Civelli (Martin 46); Ellington (Scotland 46), Priskin (Chopra 46).
Unused Subs: Hyam, Hourihane.