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Dublin: -2°C Saturday 17 April 2021
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Another night to forget for Derry as they leak 10 goals over two legs to bow out of Europe

Kenny Shiels’ men were outclassed by FC Midtjylland at the Showgrounds.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Derry City 1

FC Midtjylland 4

(FC Midtjylland win 10-2 on aggregate)

DERRY CITY WILL be glad to see the back of the Europa League this season after suffering yet another drubbing at the hands of classy Danish side FC Midtjylland, who racked up an emphatic 10-2 aggregate scoreline over the two legs.

Nigerian striker Paul Onuachu netted a hat-trick as the Danes blew apart their hosts at the Sligo Showgrounds — Derry’s home from home for the second leg — while substitute Gustav Wikheim netted within 60 seconds of coming off the bench.

Aaron McEneff did manage to find the net for City but that composed finish four minutes before the break simply kicked the Danish side into action.

And had it not been for several superb reaction saves from City skipper Gerard Doherty the Danes could have inflicted a much heavier defeat on the night.

It was a tough learning curve for Kenny Shiels’ troops who were heavily depleted and they will quickly look to bounce back when they resume domestic duties with the visit of Sligo Rovers to Maginn Park on Sunday.

With injuries to Conor McDemott (groin) and Aaron Barry (hamstring), 20-year-old Scott Whiteside was handed only his second start for the club while Lukas Schubert came in to replace Rory Patterson who dropped to the bench.

Midtjylland, meanwhile, were unchanged from that first leg victory as they looked to finish the job.

And the Danes were clearly intent on deciding this tie early on as they opened the scoring after just seven minutes in emphatic style.

Punishing a loose pass inside the Derry half, the ball was played with pace down the left side and swept into the box where Onuachu drifted between the City centre halves before guiding his shot past Doherty.

Ronan Curtis and Andre Romer Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Derry responded positively on 12 minutes through Nathan Boyle who raced down the right flank before drilling his cross into the penalty area but Schubert misjudged the flight of the ball before Ronan Curtis’ volley at the back post was blocked.

The Danes threatened again when Doherty’s clearance fell to Janus Drachmann who hit it first time but, fortunately for the City goalkeeper, it went the wrong side of the post on 25 minutes.

Sixty seconds later from a corner kick Rory Holden drifted his cross towards the far post and when it was headed straight into the path of Curtis, his volley was saved at the second attempt by Jesper Hanson.

Derry were growing in confidence but Midtjylland broke quickly with the dangerous Simon Kroon forcing a smart save from Doherty on 38 minutes.

Onuachu doubled the Danes’ lead six minutes before the break from a low corner as he swept the ball into the net from close range.

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The Candystripes reduced the deficit moments later as McEneff capitalised on a mistake from the Midtjylland defence.

Finding himself one-on-one with Hanson, the midfielder found the net with a composed finish through the legs of the ‘keeper.

Derry had finished the first half strongly but they were thankful to Doherty for saving them with a superb block from point blank range to deny Onuachu a hat-trick and the City skipper breathed a sigh of relief as ex-Southampton midfielder Tim Sparv somehow sent the rebound wide of the unguarded net.

Paul Onuachu celebrates scoring with Gustav Wikheim Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Midtjylland striker Onuachu again came close to netting his third of the night when he was gifted a free header but he sent his glancing effort wide of the far post.

But Derry found themselves 3-1 behind on the night on 58 minutes after another swift break from the Danes which ended with Wikheim finding the net with his first touch.

And Onuachu finally completed his hat-trick on 69 minutes following a slick move involving the impressive Midtylland skipper Jacob Poulsen.

When the ball was eventually laid back into the path of the unmarked striker, he confidently rolled his shot underneath the body of Doherty and into the net.

Doherty saved superbly with his fingertips to prevent Finnish international Sparv from adding a fifth goal but it was a night to forget for the Foylesiders who will turn their attentions to their league campaign.

Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Harry Monaghan, Scott Whiteside (Sam Todd 70), Dean Jarvis, Ben Doherty; Lukas Schubert, Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low, Ronan Curtis; Rory Holden (Mark Timlin 76); Nathan Boyle (Rory Patterson 62).

FC Midtjylland: Jesper Hanson; Andre Romer (Rasmus Nissen 70), Zsolt Korcsmar, Kristian Riis (Kian Hansen h-t), Marc dal Hende; Janus Drachmann, Tim Sparv, Jacob Poulson; Rilwan Hassan, Paul Onuachu, Simon Kroon (Gustav Wikheim 58).

Referee: Rade Obrenovic (Slovenia).

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Simon Collins

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