BY STEVE MITCHELL

It’s been a bad week for British clubs in Europe with only Nottingham Forest left to fly the flag, as they head into the semi-finals of the European Cup.

On the domestic front, Liverpool got back to winning ways beating Wolves on Tuesday to consolidate their place at the top of the First Division, whilst Arsenal book their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, against the Molineux club, after two games in 72 hours against Southampton.

 

FOREST EASE INTO LAST FOUR OF THE EUROPEAN CUP:

The damage had been done in the first-leg at the City Ground two weeks ago, but Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest gave a thoroughly professional performance in Zurich to eliminate Grasshoppers after a 1-1 draw last night.

Both goals came in the first 45 minutes and there was a brief alarm for the English side when the hosts took the lead courtesy of a penalty from Sulser, after full-back Viv Anderson handled in the box.

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For a moment, it looked as though Clough’s men would come under severe pressure, but when Northern Ireland international Martin O’Neill finished off a typical sweeping Forest move on the left, order was restored.

The rest of the game was played out in a subdued atmosphere, apart from the Forest fans that had made the trip and who looked to have been enjoying the city’s hospitality prior to kick-off.

The English champions now have a real chance of making it to the final in Munich as they go into a semi-final draw that will also include the winner of Rangers vs. Cologne (which will be played at Ibrox this evening after last night’s postponement) Austria/WAC and Malmo.

WEST BROM SUFFER UEFA CUP HEARTBREAK AGAINST RED STAR:

After going down 1-0 in the first-leg in front of 95,000 people in the Yugoslav capital, West Bromwich Albion still fancied their chances in the return at The Hawthorns last night.

When striker Cyrille Regis fired them in front before the interval, the majority of the 32,000 inside the stadium thought that a semi-final spot was now there for the taking. Their hopes were dashed however, when Sestic broke through the Albion defence in the second period to slot home past Tony Godden and grab the all-important away goal.

The side from the Black Country have now exited two cup competitions in the past fortnight and manager Ron Atkinson will be left wondering that if only the snow had stayed away this winter, and his side had not been made to play three games a week for the past month, his team could now be looking at two semi-final appearances in April.

MANCHESTER CITY RECEIVE A REALITY CHECK IN GERMANY:

In all honesty, a 1-1 draw at home to Borussia Monchengladbach in the first-leg of their UEFA Cup quarter-final was never going to be enough to get Manchester City into the last four and so it proved, as Malcolm Allison’s men were comprehensively beaten in Tuesday night’s return.

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A goal from Kulik in the first-half and second-half goals from Bruns and Del Haye, saw the home side run out 3-1 winners; Polish star Kazimierz Deyna’s superb volley proving just a consolation for the English side.

IPSWICH TOWN LOSE OUT TO BARCELONA ON AWAY GOALS:

Esteban’s goal for Barcelona at Portman Road two weeks ago proved crucial as the Spanish giants won a narrow Cup Winners Cup quarter-final second-leg 1-0 at the Camp Nou last night. Migueli’s scrappy first-half strike was enough to send Ipswich Town out of the competition, despite building up a 2-1 first-leg lead.

Over 100,000 were inside one of world football’s most imposing amphitheatres to see the game, with the FA Cup holders once again giving a good account of themselves. This result effectively ends the season for Bobby Robson’s side, who sit mid-table in the First Division and who recently lost their grip on the FA Cup after being beaten by Liverpool.

FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP – LIVERPOOL BACK TO WINNING WAYS AS QPR & BOLTON EDGE CLOSER TO RELEGATION ZONE:

Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Wolves on Tuesday puts the Anfield club four points clear of city rivals Everton with games in hand. Goals in either half from Terry McDermott and David Johnson got Bob Paisley’s side back to winning ways, after their recent draw in the Merseyside derby.

West Brom look like they could be the Reds’ biggest threat, sitting eight points back in third spot, but with three games in hand on the leaders and four in hand on second-placed Everton.

As stated earlier however, Albion look to be running out of gas after a punishing schedule over the past few weeks, and it would be a brave man that bets against the First Division trophy arriving back at Anfield in May.

In an astonishing game at Highfield Road on Tuesday, Coventry City beat Manchester United 4-3, despite looking in control at the interval. Barry Powell, Garry Thompson and Tommy Hutchison looked to have put the game beyond the visitors, but a goal from Steve Coppell gave United hope going into half-time.

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When Coppell doubled his tally in the second-half, the home side were wobbling, but Bobby McDonald calmed the nerves by scoring a fourth before Sammy Mcllroy got a third for Dave Sexton’s side.

On the same night, Aston Villa pushed Queens Park Rangers closer to the relegation trap-door following a 3-1 win at Villa Park. Allan Evans, John Gidman (penalty) and Dennis Mortimer got the home side’s goals, young striker Clive Allen grabbing Rangers’ consolation.

Derby County eased their relegation worries after a comprehensive 3-0 win at the Baseball Ground against Bolton Wanderers last night. A brace from Roy McFarland and one from Gerry Daly left the Trotters just one point above the drop-zone, but with games in hand on the teams around them.

 

RESULTS:

MONDAY MARCH 19:

FA CUP QUARTER-FINAL:

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Hayes; Price)

 

TUESDAY MARCH 20:

UEFA CUP QUARTER-FINAL SECOND-LEG:

Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 Manchester City (Kulik, Bruns, Del Haye; Deyna)

FIRST DIVISION:

Aston Villa 3-1 Q.P.R (Evans, Gidman pen, Mortimer; Allen)

Coventry City 4-3 Manchester United (Powell, Thompson, Hutchinson, McDonald; Coppell 2, Mcllroy)

Liverpool 2-0 Wolves (McDermott, Johnson)

 

WEDNESDAY MARCH 20:

EUROPEAN CUP QUARTER-FINAL SECOND LEG:

Grasshoppers 1-1 Nottingham Forest (Sulser pen; O’Neill)

Rangers v Cologne (postponed)

UEFA CUP QUARTER-FINAL SECOND-LEG:

W.B.A 1-1 Red Star Belgrade (Regis; Sestic)

CUP WINNERS CUP QUARTER-FINAL SECOND-LEG:

Barcelona 1-0 Ipswich Town (Migueli)

FA CUP QUARTER-FINAL REPLAY:

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton (Sunderland 2)

FIRST DIVISION:

Derby County 3-0 Bolton Wanderers (McFarland 2; Daly)

League Division One table after close of play on 22 March 1979

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 29 20 6 3 61 11 50 46
2 Everton 31 15 12 4 43 27 16 42
3 West Bromwich Albion 26 16 6 4 53 25 28 38
4 Arsenal 30 15 8 7 47 27 20 38
5 Leeds United 30 14 10 6 54 35 19 38
6 Nottingham Forest 26 11 13 2 31 18 13 35
7 Coventry City 32 11 11 10 41 52 -11 33
8 Aston Villa 27 10 11 6 35 24 11 31
9 Manchester United 28 12 7 9 43 47 -4 31
10 Ipswich Town 30 12 6 12 39 36 3 30
11 Norwich City 31 6 18 7 41 45 -4 30
12 Tottenham Hotspur 29 10 10 9 31 43 -12 30
13 Southampton 28 10 9 9 34 32 2 29
14 Bristol City 32 10 9 13 36 40 -4 29
15 Manchester City 28 8 10 10 40 36 4 26
16 Middlesbrough 30 9 7 14 42 41 1 25
17 Derby County 30 9 6 15 33 51 -18 24
18 Bolton Wanderers 28 7 7 14 34 52 -18 21
19 Queens Park Rangers 31 5 10 16 30 49 -19 20
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 29 8 4 17 26 51 -25 20
21 Chelsea 30 4 7 19 30 62 -32 15
22 Birmingham City 29 4 5 20 25 45 -20 13

UPCOMING FIXTURES:

SATURDAY MARCH 24:

FIRST DIVISION:

Arsenal v Manchester City

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur

Bolton Wanderers v Southampton

Chelsea v Wolves

Derby County v Everton

Liverpool v Ipswich Town

Manchester United v Leeds United

Middlesbrough v Birmingham City

Norwich City v Bristol City

Nottingham Forest v Coventry City

W.B.A v Q.P.R

FOLLOW THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WITH STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler

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