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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 25 October 2020
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Dundalk 3-1 KI Klaksvík

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

This evening is without a doubt the biggest game involving an Irish club side in quite some time.

Dundalk go into the match knowing a win will see them reach the Europa League group stages and secure a minimum of €2.9 million in prize money, and an additional €500,000 for each subsequent win.

It won’t be easy, however. While the Lilywhites required penalty kicks to beat Sheriff previously, KI earned a remarkable 6-1 victory over Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi in the last round.

Victory for Filippo Giovagnoli’s men would see an Irish side reach the Europa League group stages for just the third time in the competition’s history, following on from Shamrock Rovers in 2011 and Dundalk in 2016.

The feat would also put Giovagnoli — who most Irish football wouldn’t have heard of before this season — in esteemed company, alongside Stephen Kenny and Michael O’Neill, both of whom have seen their careers soar since those respective achievements.

Who do you think will progress tonight?


Poll Results:

Dundalk (397)
KI (73)


I have a few knives in my back still, that I want to take away. It’s going to come some day. I will never have regrets. I work so hard, so focused on the tasks. It is what it is. This is soccer, this is life. You have to accept people, you have to accept they are sceptical about you.  They were right. I came here. Nobody knows me. I accept it.” 

– Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli spoke to the media yesterday ahead of tonight’s game.

Confirmation of the Dundalk team…

And here’s how KI line out…

We’re underway…

KI have started on the front foot.

A Bjartalid in-swinging free kick is easily cleared by Dundalk.

Moments later, a Midtskogen cross is scrambled away.

Then, Dundalk break, and Hoban heads just wide from a Colovic cross.

Good play from McEleney.

The midfielder finds space, before his curled attempt is parried away by Joensen.

Dundalk are coming more into this game now.

Another dangerous cross from Colovic.

However, Hoban can’t get a clean header away and the visitors clear their lines.

The game has settled down after a somewhat frantic opening.

Dundalk have the better possession and territory, with KI largely playing on the counter attack.

Hoban does really well to head away Bjartalid’s dangerous corner.

The striker picks up a bit of a knock as he does so, but looks like he’ll be okay to continue.

Leahy and McEleney have both overhit passes to end promising attacks in recent minutes.

Dundalk have been a bit sloppy and need to be more composed in the final third.

Duffy curls in a dangerous free kick.

Hoban is in there, but it appears to come off a KI head last and goes out for a corner.

The goalkeeper has been less than assured on set pieces so far, so set pieces could well be an area of joy for the Irish side.

Dundalk take the lead.

It’s a long ball from Hoare into the box, Hoban flicks it on and Murray steals in ahead of the goalkeeper to head home.

It’ll be interesting to see whether KI change their defensive approach now.

KI break down the left and Brinck’s cross is cleared.

The visitors have offered very little going forward so far, but there they are coming more into the game in recent minutes.

Half-time and it’s been tight and nervy as expected.

KI have been well organised and relatively solid without causing their opponents many problems in attack — Gary Rogers has yet to make a save of note.

Dundalk have been the better side and deservedly lead. The Irish team have had the better possession and territory.

Joensen, the KI goalkeeper, has looked uncomfortable with set pieces and balls into the box, and it was no surprise when the latter led to Sean Murray’s well-taken goal.

It’s so far so good for Filippo Giovagnoli’s men, but there is clearly no room for complacency, with the visitors likely to adopt a more adventurous approach in the second half in reaction to going behind.

sean-murray-celebrates-scoring-their-first-goal-with-michael-duffy Dundalk’s Sean Murray celebrates scoring their first goal with Michael Duffy. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Duffy puts in a dangerous delivery.

The goalkeeper flaps at the cross and it deflects into the path of Cleary, who blasts it home from close range.

KI are clearly stepping it up now.

Gartland does well to get in the right area and deflect Brinck’s cross out for a corner.

KI make a change.

It’s a straight swap in attack, with Klettskard replaced by Dosljak.

Duffy finds himself in a promising position on the edge of the area, but his tame shot goes wide.

Dundalk are sitting deep now and trying to hit their opponents on the counter-attack.

Sloggett gives the ball away in a dangerous area when trying to play out from the back.

The ball then falls to Johannesen, whose curled effort is tipped wide by Rogers.

Moments later, an Andreasen shot is cleared off the line by Gartland.

The hosts are really under the cosh here.

Brinck crosses for Dosljak, who can’t hit the target with his volley.

Colovic hasn’t been tracking back enough, with KI often having an overlap out wide.

KI are very much back in this game and you can’t say it’s undeserved.

Bjartalio lays it off to Midtskogen, who takes a powerful shot from the edge of the area. It takes a slight deflection off Cleary and Rogers gets a hand to it but can’t keep it out.

It looks set to be a very nervy final 20 minutes for Dundalk.

A poor clearance from the goalkeeper finds its way to Duffy.

However, the winger’s pot shot can’t trouble the goalkeeper unduly.

As I type, McMillan and Daniel Kelly replace Colovic and Hoban in a double change for Dundalk.

Dundalk have done well to calm the storm a bit in recent minutes.

KI haven’t had any real clear-cut chances since their goal.

Bjartalio’s swerving shot is parried by Rogers.

Johannesen then blazes over the rebound, allowing Dundalk to breathe a sigh of relief.

After another nervy moment in the Dundalk box, the Irish side break.

Murray plays an incisive through ball to Kelly, who uses his pace to get away from his marker and slot it home with aplomb.

Is that the €3 million goal?

Dundalk respond by making another change — Mountney replaces McEleney.

KI look a beaten team now.

They had a penalty shout right after Kelly’s goal, but otherwise they haven’t really threatened.

As I type, they make a change, with Johannesen replacing Pavlovic.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time…

Dundalk defend two corners before Kelly does well to carry it down the other end and win a corner for the Irish side.

The Lilywhites are on the verge of the group stages.

Well that’s that.

Dundalk are in the Europa League group stages and have secured a minimum of €2.9 million for qualifying.

Despite a second-half flurry from KI, Dundalk were the superior team and deserved it in the end, given that they dominated the majority of the contest and played the better football.

It’s quite a story for a team who have had a far from vintage domestic season and looked in disarray at one point, with the recent appointment of little-known Filippo Giovagnoli hardly assuaging the doubters.

Yet the Lilywhites have silenced more than a few critics by emulating Stephen Kenny’s 2016 side and sealing an improbable place in the group stages.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to follow and you can read our match report here.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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