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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 8 May 2021


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Hello, again. To make your voice heard, e-mail, tweet us @thescore_iefind us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

Key fixtures:

Birmingham 1-3 Braga (FT)

Fulham 1-1 Twente (FT)

Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Stoke (FT)

PAOK 0-0 Tottenham (FT)

Shamrock Rovers 0-3 Rubin Kazan (FT)

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Celtic (FT)

Hello, and welcome to our Europa League coverage, coming from Tallaght Stadium.

And we’re off…

GOAL! Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Rubin Kazan: Straight away. Obafemi Martins, the ex-Newcastle man finds himself free on the edge of the area and slots it into the corner. Terrible start for Rovers.

Sorry, never got the chance to bring you the Rovers team.

Shamrock Rovers: Ryan Thompson, Pat Sullivan, Dan Murray, Craig Sives, Enda Stevens, Stephen Rice, Conor McCormack, Stephen O’Donnell, Rohan Ricketts, Ronan Finn, Gary Twigg.

And here’s the visitors side:

Rubin Kazan: Sergei Ryzhikov, Salvatore Bocchetti, Vitali Kaleshin, Cesar Navas, Roman Sharonov, Gokdeniz Karadeniz, Bibras Natkho, Christian Noboa, Aleksandr Ryazantsev, Obafemi Martins, Nelson Valdez

Rovers are really under the cosh at the moment. A cross right across the goal is cleared nervously by their defence.

Great atmosphere here in Tallaght Stadium. The crowd have not been too disheartened by Rovers poor start.

Some nice passing from Rovers at the moment. They’ve yet to really threaten Rubin’s goal, but are at least looking a bit steadier following their disastrous start.

Lovely ball in by Rovers new boy Rohan Ricketts right onto the head of Stephen O’Donnell, who heads it over under pressure from the keeper. He should have done better there.

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the visitors, check out our brief guide here.

People like Harry Redknapp may question the relevance of the Europa League, but it’s worth it for nights like these. It’s a brilliant atmosphere in Tallaght Stadium, and Rovers are beginning to come more into the game, with the possession stats over the last five minute in their favour.

Gary Twigg fails to win another header. The big man is finding it difficult on his own up front at the moment.

Anyone who doubts the class of Rubin need only take a look at their performance against Barcelona below:

There’s no doubting Rovers are up against it on that evidence.

Here are the teams in the other group game for anyone who’s interested:

PAOK Salonika: Kresic, Malezas, Contreras, Lino, Etto, Pablo Garcia, Fotakis, Arias, Vieirinha, Athanasiadis, Salpingidis. Subs: Chalkias, Balafas, Robert, Papazoglou, Ivic, Sznaucner, Tsoukalas.
Tottenham: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Walker, Livermore, Townsend, Carroll, Pavlyuchenko, Giovani, Falque, Kane. Subs: Gomes, Fredericks, Nicholson, Pritchard, Parrett, Stewart, Barthram.

It’s a very unfamiliar looking Spurs team, which tells you all you need to know about what Redknapp thinks about the competition.

A Rubin player falls to the ground following a challenge by Ricketts. Meanwhile, an animated gentleman to my right continually says to the injured player: “Get up, there’s f*** all wrong with you!” That’s Irish hospitality for you.


Penalty for Rubin!!! Clumsy challenge by the Rovers defender on Martins, who was through on goal.

SAVED!!! Brilliant stop from Rovers’ Ryan Thompson, who dives to his left to save what was a well-struck penalty.

ANOTHER MISS!!! This time Lino’s spot kick is saved by Cudicini. Still, Spurs 0-0 PAOK. Apparently it had to be retaken after Lin0 scored the first penalty, only for it to be disallowed.

Craig Sives was the man who pulled Martins down for the penalty. Rovers are really pushing their luck at the moment, with Rubin causing them all sorts of problems through the middle of the pitch.

Following Valdez’s spot kick, Dan Murray did extremely well to react quickest to the rebound and clear it away.

HALF-TIME: SHAMROCK ROVERS 0-1 RUBIN KAZAN Phew! The referee brings an end to the first half of what has been a lively game so far.

Given that it’s playing in Tallaght Stadium at the moment, I might as well stick this up:

Rovers showed some good endeavour in the first half and will rue the missed O’Donnell header (see 18.18), but in all honesty, they have rarely threatened. Rubin have lived up to their billing and look a class apart I’m afraid. But then again, with the score at only 1-0, anything’s possible.

Meanwhile, it’s also 0-0 in the other game in the group between Spurs and PAOK. Despite conceding a penalty, the Spurs youngsters have looked impressive apparently.

We’re underway in the second half now…

And thank God we are. I was beginning to lose my mind on account of that dreadful Russian music being played on the tannoy

There’s been one change for Rubin. Bystrov has replaced the ex-Newcastle man Martins. It’s strange considering how dangerous he looked. He may have been injured.


A ball into the Rovers area is only half cleared, and Christian Noboa is on hand at the edge of the box to strike the ball sublimely into the top corner.

Good response from Rovers. A ball into the box finds the head of Twigg. However, the Scottish striker’s header is weak and the keeper manages to palm it away.

Michael O’Neill has a dilemma. If he wants to have any chance of rescuing this game, he will need to play two up front. However, doing so would leave his side open to a potential thrashing.

SUBSTITUTION: Just as I typed that last post, Ciaran Kilduff replaced Ronan Finn – one ex-UCD boy for another.

Billy Dennehy has also come on for Conor McCormack.


Gokdeniz Karadeniz (try pronouncing that) with a wonderful turn on the edge of the area and a consummate finish into the top corner, leaving Ryan Thompson with no chance.


SUBSTITUTION: Ricketts has been replaced by Chris Turner.


Penalty was hit straight down the middle, but Sergei Ryzhikov saved it with his legs despite diving to his left.

Stephen O’Donnell missed it by the way.

Very odd that Michael O’Neill opted to make a substitution right before the penalty was taken. That can’t have helped O’Donnell’s nerves.

Elsewhere Stoke have gone 1-0 up with a goal from Cameron Jerome. But it’s still 0-0 in the Spurs game.

Cesar Navas wins another header against Twigg. The striker hasn’t had his most productive of days, as he’s been well marshalled by the Rubin back four.

A surging run through on goal from Billy Dennehy is well dealt with and cleared for a corner by the Rubin defender, whose tackle on Dennehy is inch perfect.

Rovers are still fighting admirably and threatening the visitors’ goal, despite having no hope of getting anything from this game now.

Credit to the Rovers fans, they haven’t stopped singing all night, despite not having much to cheer about. Could you imagine what they’d be like if they were winning?

Free kick to Rovers roughly 30 yards out. Can they grab a consolation?

Dennehy’s low shot is prevented from going in at the near post by an acrobatic save from Ryzhikov. Rovers deserve a goal for the great character and persistence they’ve shown.

Rovers have been much the better team since Rubin’s third goal. Have the Russians taken their foot off the pedal, or are Rovers only now playing the type of football they’re capable of producing?

The game has hit a bit of a lull (for once) as Rubin look to keep hold of possession until the final whistle. It generally has been played at a breakneck pace though, and some of the players, unsurprisingly, look shattered.

Three minutes of added time.

Looks like the Spurs game is set to finish 0-0, which is a good result for Rovers… Yes, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel for positives, but still, it’s good to have an optimistic outlook in life.


A loud round of applause and a chorus of “We love you Rovers, we do” from these terrific supporters, as the final whistle sounds. As I said before, imagine if they’d won.

“Not bad for a part-time team,” shouts a Rovers supporters as he leaves. Hear, hear!

This song is now playing from the stadium tannoy:

Rovers have certainly earned a lot of people’s respect this season.

Ultimately though, even the most ardent Rovers supporter will find it difficult to deny that they were outclassed tonight.

GOAL!!! Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Stoke (Ognjen Vukojevic)

Those other games have now ended. Tottenham have drawn 0-0 with PAOK, while Dynamo Kiev’s late goal has earned them a point against Stoke.

Right, the game is over and my hands are freezing out here, which means it’s time to go home.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out our numerous Rugby World Cup liveblogs in the coming days, not to mention the All-Ireland final on Sunday.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy