Dundalk defied the odds to claim a 2-2 draw in their UEFA Europa Conference League Third Qualifying Round, first leg away to Vitesse last Thursday. The prize on offer for progression is a likely tie with RSC Anderlecht as Vincent Kompany’s men lead
Dundalk defied the odds to claim a 2-2 draw in their UEFA Europa Conference League Third Qualifying Round, first leg away to Vitesse last Thursday.
The prize on offer for progression is a likely tie with RSC Anderlecht as Vincent Kompany’s men lead Albanian side Laci 3-0 ahead of their return leg. The Lilywhites will be hoping for another Dutch encounter as they look to make their home advantage count in the familiar surrounds of Tallaght Stadium on Thursday.
The match kicks-off at 8pm Irish Time and is available on LOITV for €10 - https://www.loitv.ie/en-int/playerpage/845150
Over 8,500 spectators were in the Gelredome last Thursday and it was Dundalk’s Patrick McEleney who proved to be the star of the show.
Despite being in pre-season, Vitesse showed their intent early on and the pressure paid off in the 20th minute. The home side broke following a Dundalk corner and Bero was played through to calmly slot the ball past Alessio Abibi. McEleney showed a glimpse of what was to come when his long-range effort hit the crossbar just after the opener.
Vinny Perth and his team regrouped at the interval following continued pressure and started to grow in confidence. The reward came in the 66th minute with McEleney climbing highest to head home a Raivis Jurkovskis cross. The moment of the game came just over 10 minutes later as Dundalk broke clear with Hoban feeding McEleney who ran from inside his own half to tease the defence and goalkeeper before coolly chipping the ball into the Vitesse goal.
The Vitesse pressure mounted once more with Openda grabbing the equaliser in the 88th minute before getting himself sent off at the death.
Analysis partner Wyscout provide some interesting stats from the first leg with Vitesse dominant but failing to convert their opportunities. The hosts had 68% possession and 26 shots, crucially only eight of which hit the target. Dundalk’s defensive due of Boyle and Nattestad showed their experience, both recording a 100% pass accuracy rate in the game.
Dundalk were back in Oriel Park action on Sunday afternoon and suffered a 4-1 defeat to St. Patrick’s Athletic. The home side will rue mistakes at the weekend as they look to take another European leap.
Thursday’s visitors remain in pre-season but with the Eredivisie kicking off on August 15th, they are hoping that their European campaign isn’t already over.
Dundalk vs The Dutch
With the prospect of a Fourth-Round tie against RSC Anderlecht opposition should Dundalk progress, here are some notable Dutch opposition to have faced the Lilywhites in past European encounters.
In the 2016/2017 UEFA Europa League Group Stages, David McMillan, Patrick McEleney and Andy Boyle featured in an impressive 1-1 draw away to AZ Alkmaar with the latter duo playing in the narrow 1-0 defeat in the home tie.
The Lilywhites first Dutch match-up was a successful one in the 1968/1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup with a 3-2 aggregate victory over DOS Utrecht.
The other two ties saw defeats at the hands of PSV Eindhoven in the 1976/1977 European Cup and Ajax in the 1987/1988 European Cup Winners Cup at Oriel Park. The Ajax side was managed by Johann Cruyff and included Frank Rijkaard, Danny Blind and Irishman Frank Stapleton who slotted home the fourth goal in the first leg in front of 20,000 spectators at the De Meer Stadium, Amsterdam.
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