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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 26 May, 2018

Kenny laments defensive errors but remains upbeat over Europa League progression

The focus of the Dundalk manager will quickly turn to Sunday’s FAI Cup final against Cork City.

The big games keep coming for Dundalk with Cork City waiting in Sunday's FAI Cup final.
The big games keep coming for Dundalk with Cork City waiting in Sunday's FAI Cup final.
Image: Dmitri Lovetsky

DUNDALK MANAGER STEPHEN Kenny remains hopeful over progression to the knockout stages of the Europa League, despite the League of Ireland champions succumbing to another late Zenit winner tonight.

Defensive errors proved costly for Dundalk, with Lilywhites defender Brian Gartland caught in possession in the closing stages of the first-half, allowing Aleksandr Kerzhakov to pounce and set up Giuliano for the first of his two goals, to give the home side the lead.

The Brazilian international, who also scored the winner in Tallaght, secured all three points with 12 minutes to go after Dundalk failed to clear their lines, to deny Stephen Kenny’s side a memorable point after Daryl Horgan equalised for the visitors.

“It’s disappointing that both goals we conceded were from having possession ourselves, and that is a big lesson for us. I think that did hurt us on the night,” Kenny told eir Sport.

“But our players are very brave and they gave everything of themselves, and created some chances on the night. We hit the woodwork twice.”

Indeed, Kenny feels the quality finish from the recently crowned PFAI Player of the Year deserved to earn Dundalk a point.

“Daryl Horgan’s goal deserved to get a result tonight. It definitely deserved to get a result. It was a brilliant indiviudal strike. But unfortunately we lost the game, and that’s the way it goes.

Horgan use 1

“We are disappointed to lose tonight. We felt once we got the equaliser, we’d have a chance to get at least a point, but it wasn’t to be.

“But that’s where we wanted to be – still in contention with two games to go, the fact it is still in our own hands,”

The focus of the county Louth club will now quickly turn to Sunday’s FAI Cup final against Cork City, with the Dundalk manager aiming to claim a second consecutive double, before they host AZ Alkmaar in three weeks time.

“It will be tough to be ready for Sunday. We will be energised by the fact we are playing in our national stadium, and the fact that there’ll be a huge travelling Dundalk support.

“We’ve won the league title, we’re second in the group, we can win the FAI Cup. It would be amazing. We have it all to do on Sunday, but we’ll dust ourselves down and try to get ready.”

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Horgan shows class with individual goal but Dundalk edged out in Russia

Watch: This superbly taken goal from Daryl Horgan not enough for Dundalk as Zenit snatch all three points

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