A brace from Jamie Romero either side of a goal from left-back Ailton saw the Azerbaijan champions progress to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League over Dundalk. While the Irish champions will look at the 4-1 scoreline and wince
A brace from Jamie Romero either side of a goal from left-back Ailton saw the Azerbaijan champions progress to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League over Dundalk.
While the Irish champions will look at the 4-1 scoreline and wince at little they can be rest assured that until that second goal went in this evening they were very much in the tie.
In the end, the class of Qarabag just shone through and will progress to the next round. Qarabag learning a lot from last week knew to take the game to Dundalk was the way forward and Croatian forward Filip Ozobic got past Andy Boyle in the opening seconds and hit a shot just wide, these were worrying times and the warning signs were there to see.
Qarabag kept pushing before Dundalk got a series of corners that they couldn't capitalise. The breakthrough came when Romero receiving a pass from the ever-talented Zoubir to slot it past Rogers.
Dundalk continued to push but influential players such as Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney were well marshalled. It was not a night for the Derry men as they were thwarted at every turn.
Sean Hoare did have an opportunity from a corner but it was well held by Vagner. The second half saw a much more pressing game from Dundalk and the looked as if they had made the breakthrough when Hoban latched onto a Sean Gannon cross, his backheel, however, was well saved.
That was as good as it got for the away side. Ailton headed past Rogers as Dundalk pulled in too deep from a corner initially cleared by Duffy. It was game over and Dundalk needed to look for a consolation goal, it never came.
Romero slammed a late goal home and in some respects, based on the 180 minutes the final scoreline flattered to deceive.
But on this level, you have to take your chances and Qarabag had the quality to do so. Bratislava next for Dundalk - two rounds to Europa League dreamland.