Michael Chopra brace seals pre-season win at Cambridge United

MICHAEL Chopra scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Cambridge United last night, the Blues’ first victory of pre-season.

The striker – who looks sharp following an intensive summer training camp in California – had several efforts blocked and saved during the opening hour of a match.

And he got his due reward when a curling effort from the edge of the area was helped in by the aid of a deflection, before poking home from an Andy Drury through ball a short while after.

It took the front man’s tally to three goals in three games this summer, with this his second successive brace against Blue Square Premier side Cambridge United following last year’s 2-2 draw.

After getting some fitness into their legs during two draws against Dutch second tier opponents last week, Town looked a lot sharper in possession last night.

And Tottenham loanee Massimo Luongo – playing at the base of a diamond midfield – was a particular bright spot with his calmness on the ball.

Ahead of the Australian was Drury on the left, Ryan Stevenson on the right and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas just behind strike duo Michael Chopra and Jason Scotland. Keeper Scott Loach also made his first appearances in a Blues shirt following his transfer from Watford last week.

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Triallists Plasir Bahamboula and Marian Kello were not included in the 18-man squad, suggesting that they Jewell will not be taking his interest any further.

Town dominated but were restricted to half-chances in the opening period. Cresswell saw a cross-cum-shot spilled, while Michael Chopra saw two efforts blocked by defenders and another cannon back of the keeper’s chest.

Cambridge rarely threatened, but they could have got their noses in front after the break had big striker Tom Elliott made more of a Luke Chambers mistake.

Delaney headed a Stevenson cross just wide soon after the break, but he was fortunate that a sluggish lunge didn’t connect with his man in his own box moments later.

Chopra continued to pop up in all the right places and he twice came close around the hour.

And he finally got his reward in the 63rd minute when, following a neat one-two with Emmanuel-Thomas on the edge of the box, his curling effort found the back of the net via a deflection of off defender Blaine Hudson. His second came 10 minutes from time, the goalpoacher latching onto Drury’s perfectly weighted pass.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-2-1-2): Loach; Edwards (cpt), Chambers, Delaney, Cresswell; Luongo; Stevenson (Lawrence 67), Drury; Emmanuel-Thomas; Scotland (Martin 59), Chopra.

Subs: Lee-Barrett, Ainsley, Whight, Hyam, Thorsteinsson.

CAMBRIDGE UTD (4-4-2): Hedge (Norris 81); McAuley, Garner, Hudson, Jennings (Brighton 46); Moke, Berry (Jarvis 46), Wellard (Shaw 46), Dunk (Willmott 34); Elliott (Rodney 77), Marriott.

Subs: Eades, Tait

Attendance: 2,184 (852 away).