FOR MILAN in two weeks read Munich of a month ago because Norwich City will have to produce another miraculous away victory to continue their European adventure after Dennis Bergkamp gave Internazionale the advantage in last night's absorbing Uefa Cup third round, first leg with a penalty nine minutes from time.
A certain G Taylor aside, Bergkamp is English football's public enemy No 1 this year but until his late strike he had been generosity personified, his spot-kick a partial atonement for three clear openings previously wasted. More conviction from the master Dutchman who packs talent valued at pounds 8m into his shooting boots and this could already have been a case of 'Arrivederci City'.
As it stands, the task confronting Mike Walker's team in the San Siro is difficult enough and became more hazardous with every booking of a tense occasion. Three of their major influences, the skipper Ian Butterworth, the sweeper Ian Culverhouse, and Ian Crook, their chief orchestrator, are ruled out of the second leg.
'It's going to be tough out there of course but we are certainly not out of it,' said a defiant Walker afterwards. 'We are capable of scoring twice over there as we showed in Munich and if they think it's all over they might just be in for a surprise.'
Another full house and an atmosphere to warm frozen hearts; Carrow Road could get used to these glamour occasions and the citizens of Norfolk were rewarded with another performance of great character and endeavour.
In a fast and furious opening the Canaries traded skill for skill with their illustrious Italian opponents, absorbed some heavy punching and then came on strong again, smacking the crossbar through Jeremy Goss with Crook unable to keep the rebound on target.
There was something ominous in the failure of Goss, the unlikely goalscorer who had brought about Bayern's downfall in the previous round, to repeat his magical touch and sure enough within four minutes Bergkamp, who had scored in successive games against England in 1993 and also for the Netherlands in their clinching victory over Poland last week, realised the worst fears as he profited after Rob Newman had halted Ruben Sosa's charge.
Time still remained for Norwich to threaten and Walker was upset when the substitute, Lee Power, went down in the area but penalty appeals were turned down by the Swiss referee. 'We are learning all the time about the game at this level. What I can't understand is that we have now been booked 11 times in five ties and yet received just two cautions in the Premiership,' Walker said.
For once the Canaries had centre stage all to themselves while they were also expected to reclaim domestic pride after the World Cup debacle. Walker's belief in a progressive passing game has lifted him into the list of candidates to succeed Taylor and Norwich did as he demanded and set about Internazionale from the off.
Ruel Fox, pushed inside, was a constant handful and Massimo Paganin was cautioned for stopping him illegally. Before half-time, however, Butterworth and Crook had joined him in the book as the Italians began to ask the more serious questions. Bergkamp, free of his markers, dallied and Bryan Gunn was able to extend a leg to save. Then, past the hour, Bergkamp underhit his effort and allowed Culverhouse to clear off the line. Back he came again for another try and this time Newman's bustling presence forced him out of a clear scoring opportunity.
Norwich City (1-4-3-2): Gunn; Culverhouse; Polston, Butterworth, Newman, Bowen; Sutch (Power, 76), Cook, Goss; Fox, Sutton.
Internazionale (1-4-3-2): Zenga; Battistini; Bergomi, M Paganin, A Paganin, Orlando; Dell'Anno, Jonk, Fontolan (Schillaci, 90); Sosa (Ferri, 89), Bergkamp. Referee: S Muhmenthaler (Switzerland).
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