Shamrock Rovers have progressed to the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round after a dramatic victory over SK Brann at Tallaght Stadium. The hosts started well, pressing from the front through Ronan Finn and Sean Kavanagh, with the latter deliv
Shamrock Rovers have progressed to the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round after a dramatic victory over SK Brann at Tallaght Stadium.
The hosts started well, pressing from the front through Ronan Finn and Sean Kavanagh, with the latter delivering two excellent crosses into the danger area.
Although the visitors dominated possession early on, Rovers looked that more dangerous going forward, with Jack Byrne picking up some nice little pockets of space in the midfield.
The best chance of the game came for the home side, again from the high pressing of Finn, who robbed last man Acosta Evans. The Rovers skipper quickly shifted the ball forward but could only strike straight at Hakon Opdal in the SK Brann net.
The encounter became a war of attrition as the half wore on, which suited the home side at the time, but the visitors wouldn't give up without a fight and got their rewards just before the hour mark.
Substitute Karamoko Daouda Bamba showed tremendous pace to latch onto to a flicked header from last weeks goal scorer Velon Berisha , rounding the on-rushing Alan Mannus before calmly slotting home to make it 3-2.
The visitors almost doubled their lead just ten minutes later when Berisha hit a clever low drive through Joey O’Briens legs, but Mannus was well placed to stop. The game then turned on its head with the introduction of Dan Carr making an almost instant impact.
The big front man battled well in the air from a long high ball, helping it down to Finn who brilliantly played in Byrne and with one of the touches of the game, swivelled and finished expertly past Opdal to equalise.
Carr was instrumental in the second, chasing a lost cause over the top to keep the ball alive. Showing great strength, he cut the ball back to Byrne who played in Gary O’Neill first time, and the ex-UCD man’s deflected effort made it 2-1 on the night, 4-3 on aggregate.
Stephen Bradley’s men held firm to progress to the second round of the UEFA Europa League, were they will now face Apollon Limassol.