League of Ireland Clubs in Europe

Sligo and Derry outclassed as Europe comes to an end for LOI clubs


Sligo Rovers' and Derry City's European campaigns both came to and end this week, signalling the end of LOI involvement in Europe for another year. Sligo headed to the Aker Stadion in Norway on Tuesday to play their Champions League 2nd round Qualifier against Molde FK. Trailing 1-0 on aggregate from the first leg, the Bit O' Red knew they had to score to cancel out Molde's away goal or else they would be facing elimination from the competition. Meanwhile last night at home Derry were in action against Turksish giants Trabzonspor in the Europa League at the Brandywell. The away side have recently signed the likes of Florent Malouda, symbolising the gulf in financial stature between the two clubs. The candystripes trailed 4-2 on aggregate from the 1st leg but two priceless away goals gave them a chance.

    Molde FK 2-0 Sligo Rovers         (3-0 agg)


Gavin Peers and Daniel Chima Chukwu contest the ball as Joseph Ndo looks on...

There was cause for optimism after an evenly-matched first leg in the Showgrounds but any chance Sligo had to cause an upset suffered a major setback after just five minutes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side tore Sligo's defence apart with a slick passing move down the right where Norwegian international Jo Inge Berget played in right-back Martin Linnes who's shot squirmed under Gary Rogers.


Ian Baraclough's men responded well, as a sustained period of pressure earned them some half-chances but couldn’t find a way through as efforts from Kieran Djilali and David McMillan went close. On 12 minutes McMillan had another chance as he saw his header from a Joseph Ndo cross flash wide.

The game settled into a midfield battle following the frantic start. Errors were plentiful with some sloppy passing on show from both sides. Solskjaer's men seemed happy with their lead, and were unwilling to commit too many men forward. Midway through the first half Molde had a chance to double the lead came when a calamitous ball across midfield from Ross Gaynor was latched onto by the goal-scorer from the first leg Chukwu. He found himself in acres of space but he couldn't pick out his team mate Tripik with an easy pass. Alan Keane was the last man back and did incredibly well to cut out a clear goal scoring chance for the Norwegians.

Molde players celebrate one of their goals on the night!

Rafael Cretaro and Danny North both came off the bench in the second half as Sligo pressed in search of a lifeline. However Molde did look stronger after the break, boosted by two half-time changes, and they upped their game with substitute Aliou Coly. After forcing a save from Rogers a minute beforehand, Coly wasn’t to be denied again and finished off Chukwu's pass on 77 minutes securing his team's passage through to the next round. Sligo did try to come back again as an injury time breakdown in the home side's play afforded a chance to sub North but his effort was hit straight at the 'keeper and Djilali flashed wide from the rebound.

It is now back to the Airtricity League for Sligo now as they take on Shamrock Rovers on Saturday as they hope to continue their efforts to retain their title.



     Derry City  0-3 Trabzonspor        (2-7 agg)


Derry City's Patrick McEleney battles to win the ball off the Turkish opponents...

Derry had a tough task on their hands against Trabzonspor as they attempted to come back from a two goal deficit. Before the match even took place the Turkish side had to deal with a 'culture shock' as they trained in the Brandywell the previous night. The players and backroom staff believed it was Derry's training ground they were preparing in - showing us the high standards of facilities their club is used to.

The home side started the brighter and they nearly had a half chance on six minutes, but Olcan Adin did well to deny Simon Madden a certain goal, after Trabzonspor keeper Onur Kivrak had only half cleared Ryan McBride's initial left-wing centre. Minutes later, Shane McEleney stepped out of defence, beat two men on a marauding 80 yard run, with  Onur Kivrak having to be alert to pick out his cross.

With 30 minutes on the clock Derry nearly broke the dead lock. Patrick McEleney back-heeled the ball into the path of Eoghan Osborne and his teasing cross from the left was met by the Ruaidhri Higgins whose header was just within the grasp of Kivrak. Trabzonspor had a glorious chance to take the lead right on the stroke of half-time when Henrique played a teasing defence-splitting pass to release Volkan Sen, but his side footed effort was parried by the out-rushing Gerard Doherty and Simon Madden got back onto the line to make sure the loose ball didn't cross the line. Derry manager Declan Devine knew his men were mightily lucky to go in level at half-time and still be in the tie.


Eoghan Osborne and Volkan Sen wrestle to win the ball!

In the second half Derry continued to come forward and put pressure on the questionable Trabzonspor defence. In the 54th minute Paddy Kavanagh whipped in a corner which found Ruaidhri Higgins but his header was touched over the bar by Kivrak. 60 seconds later down the other end of the pitch, Derry's hopes were shattered as the Turks scored from another defensive mistake like in the 1st leg. Patrick McEleney appeared to play a stray pass when attempting to clear the ball which fell to Simon Madden. Unfortunately he only managed to slide the ball away from the out-rushing Doherty and into Henrique's path and he calmly poked the ball beyond the reach of Doherty from close range.

The candystripes nearly equalised in the 77th minute when Higgins’ drilled free-kick flew narrowly wide of the target with substitute Barry McNamee lurking. Trabzonspor made it two in the 82nd minute when Sen got in behind the out-of-position Osbourne to cross for Henrique, who calmly slotted underneath Doherty. In injury time, Henrique set up Ozdemir who took a touch and rifled the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, ending the match with a flourish.

Derry must now turn their attentions back to the league where they clash with Limerick at Thomand Park on Sunday.


Derry City vs Trabzonspor Highlights:



Other Results:

Champions League

Celtic 2-0 Cliftonville (5-0 agg)

Europa League

Linfield 1-2 Skoda Xanthi AET (2-2 agg)

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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