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'If we can get the first goal out here then the game is back on'

Cork City will aim to come from 2-0 down when they take on Roseborg in Norway this evening.

John Caulfield Cork City manager John Caulfield pictured before last week's first leg at Turner's Cross. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CORK CITY MUST achieve something they haven’t managed to do in 25 years if they’re to keep their Europa League campaign alive this evening.

Only once before have City overturned a first-leg deficit to advance in Europe. That was back in 1993, when they progressed to a Champions League clash with Galatasaray after getting the better of Cwmbran Town on away goals.

Having lost the first leg 3-2 in Wales, City looked doomed with just 16 minutes of the return leg remaining. The Welsh champions held a two-goal advantage after going 1-0 up at Turner’s Cross, but the Leesiders made a dramatic comeback as late goals from Pat Morley and Johnny Glynn sent them through to the next round.

Current manager John Caulfield scored City’s first goal in that tie, so he knows what’s required to stage a European comeback. However, the prospect that awaits his side tonight is much more daunting than what Caulfield and his team-mates faced a quarter of a century ago.

On this occasion the deficit is bigger, the opposition are better and City don’t have the advantage of home comforts. After last Thursday’s game in Cork, the Irish champions trail Rosenborg 2-0 ahead of tonight’s second leg at Lerkendal Stadion (7.45pm, RTÉ 2).

An attractive reward is on offer for the winners of this tie. KF Shkëndija of Macedonia await in the play-off round, where victory will seal a place in the Europa League group stages. However, Cork City face a monumental task if they’re to put themselves in contention to emulate the achievements of Dundalk (2016) and Shamrock Rovers (2011).

Kieran Sadlier and Marius Lundemo Cork City's Kieran Sadlier takes on Marius Lundemo of Rosenborg. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

City produced a commendable performance against Rosenborg seven days ago. They had the majority of the possession and managed 12 attempts on goal. Nevertheless, taking their recent struggles to find the net in Europe into account, the odds are stacked against them as they travel to the home of the Norwegian champions.

While Caulfield’s side failed to score for the fifth consecutive European game, Rosenborg took control of the tie thanks to a brace from Swedish U21 international Jonathan Levi.

“We were disappointed with the goals we conceded in the first game,” Caulfield said. “We felt that we could have done better there. They’re a very strong team but we took the game to them from the start and we were really good.

“They caught us out on the counter attack and that cost us. At the same time we weren’t clinical ourselves. We had them under pressure in the second half but they defended well.

“But we feel we can create chances in the second leg. At 2-0 down it’s a very difficult challenge for us, but our gameplan is about trying to get the first goal. If we can get the first goal out here then the game is back on.

“If that happens then we can look to put them on the back-foot. That’s easier said than done but the mood in the squad is good and we feel we have prepared well.”

Real Madrid v Sevilla - UEFA European Super Cup - Real Madrid Training Session - Lerkendal Stadion Lerkendal Stadion in Trondheim, where Rosenborg will host Cork City tonight. Source: EMPICS Sport

City continued their good run of domestic form in the FAI Cup first round on Sunday. Excluding European games, the 5-1 trouncing of Home Farm was their fourth win on the trot.

Rosenborg, who are in second place in Norway’s top flight, had to settle for a point at home to relegation strugglers Stabæk. Despite speculation over a move to Serie A side Atalanta, Norwegian international midfielder Anders Trondsen is expected to return for Rini Coolen’s team after he missed Sunday’s drawn game in the Eliteserien.

Caulfield has suggested that he’s likely to make changes to the City team that started last week’s loss. Having recently recovered from injury, key midfielder Gearoid Morrissey is expected to be restored to the side. Talented winger Kieran Sadlier is also in contention after making a positive impact when he was introduced at half-time in the first leg.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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