League of Ireland Clubs in Europe

Drogs fall just short in Sweden as St. Pats stumble at home...

Malmo F.F. 2-0 Drogheda United (agg 2-0)

It was another case of a glorious defeat for an Irish side playing against a superior quality team in European competiton.  Swedish giants Malmo faced drogheda united in the Swedbank stadium following a scoreless draw in the 1st leg last week.

On a glorious Swedish evening, malmo dominated possession creating chance after chance, piling the pressure on the Drogheda defence but the Boynesiders resisted. Captain David Cassidy led his troops with bursts through the midfield occasionally but were often put to an end as Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien was isolated upfront acting as a lone striker.

The tale of the first half was that malmo couldn't break down a resolute drogs defence despite all the possession.  The part timers also nearly took the lead when Cassidy won the ball in midfield and beat two players before lifting it over the top for O'Brien to run on to but the Malmo keeper Dahlin came out and managed to get his body inbetween O'Brien and the goal but there wasnt enough pace on the ball to carry it over the line and the malmo defenders got back to clear the ball.

Moments away from the half-time whistle the swedes broke the deadlock . Forsberg switched wings to give himself space and Tokelo Rantie picked him out with a superb pass and the striker lifted the ball over Sava from close range.


Drogheda were forced to come forward and push up the field in the second half. This played into Malmo's hands however as they really started to turn the screw and created chance after chance. In the 51st minute there was a guilt edged chance as Rantie had the goal at his mercy. The striker was one on one with Sava and somehow missed from eight yards as he dragged the ball wide. Mick Cooke's men continued to believe they could snatch that all important away goal but it wasn't going their way. They found it hard to hold onto possession in their opponents half despite O'Brien efforts up front.

The Boynesiders continued to persist and believe as the contest entered into 5 minutes of injury time but in the 92nd minute Simon Kroon weaved his way through the visitors' defence and powered his shot past Sava and that signalled the end of the road to Drogheda's European campaign. Malmo will now face Pat Fenlon’s Hibernians as Drogheda return to the reality of the League of Ireland on Sunday against UCD.


St. Patricks Ath. 1-2 Žalgiris Vilnius (agg 3-4)

Back at home it was a frustrating night for the saints as they simply did not play well enough according manager Liam Buckley. St. Pat's had the advantage coming into this 2nd leg as they had 2 away goals following the 2-2 draw 7 days ago in Lithuania. Not only that, they were playing at home in Richmond Park in front of their fans but as most of us know football isn't that simple!

In a poor first half where both sides looked edgy, few clear cut chances were created.

Killian Brennan wasted two frees in promising positions on the edge of the box. In between the free kicks, Chris Forrester hesitated when the ball came to his feet in the box and Zalgiris cleared the danger. Conan Byrne continued to cause trouble down the right wing, breaking into space again on 25 minutes, but his cross went just beyond Forrester at the back post.  Sloppy play from Brennan in midfield led to a great chance for the away side to break the deadlock. Swift link-up play left Pavel Komolov in space, but Forrester did well to get back and block the attempt on goal. Shortly after Komolov again found himself on the ball as half time loomed and the momentum of the game began to turn.

The Lithuanian's struck a telling blow in first half injury time. Komolov picked up the ball in the Saint's box and cut the ball back for Kuklys and he took one touch to open the angle and drilled the ball low past a helpless Brendan Clarke to put the away side ahead in the game and in the tie. The Saints came out for the second half with a positive outlook as they pushed for an equaliser but unfortunately for the Inchicore outfit, Zalgiris added a second on 51 minutes. Neat play from Komolov put substitute Rytis Leliiuga into space down the right, who in turn played Kamil Bilinksi through on goal. The Polish striker produced a tidy finish that Clarke could do little about.

Feeling the pressure, St Pat's manager Liam Buckley made changes on the hour mark. He took of Byrne and Forrester, bringing on striker Anto Flood and defender Aidan Price, switching to three at the back and pushing full-backs Ger O’Brien and Ian Bermingham forward. With less than eight minutes left in normal time, Flood got in behind his marker in the box and was dragged down, leaving Croatian referee Igor Pristovnik with no option but to point to the spot. Killian Brennan stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, hammering the ball into the opposite corner to give the hosts a lifeline. Pats were unable to grab the elusive second goal and Zalgiris made it through the next round 4-3 on aggregate.

Geoff Holmes
Article written by
19 year old student studying Business & Management in DIT. Football lover and Shamrock Rovers fanatic. Most of my articles are related to football particularly League of Ireland and also reports on golf and tennis. I have been writing for from the very beginning. Follow me on Twitter @geoffholmes94 for any sporting related news.

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