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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 16 January 2021
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Molde 3-1 Dundalk

Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

Dundalk travel to face Molde in their penultimate Europa League game this season.

The Lilywhites have already been eliminated from the group stages having failed to pick up a single point.

And they go into this game with one eye on the weekend’s FAI Cup final against Shamrock Rovers, which is clearly the more important game and so they have understandably rested a couple of key players.

It would still put a bit of a dampener on things if they lost tonight.

This game is seemingly their last realistic chance to pick up points, with Arsenal, by far the best team in the group, awaiting them in the final game.

Molde, meanwhile, are second in the group only on goal difference, with Rapid Vienna their rivals for the all-important runners-up spot.

They will consequently feel a win tonight is vital for their hopes of progression.

Confirmation of the Dundalk team for tonight…

The Molde team is as follows:

1. Linde
20. Wingo
6. Gregersen
5. Sinyan
3. Risa
17. Aursnes
7. Wolff Eikrem
11. Ellingsen
19. Hestad
99. Omoijuanfo
14. Knudtzon

Substitutes:
9. Moström
10. James
12. Craninx
15. Christensen
16. Hussain
22. Brynhildsen
26. Ranmark
27. Holmgren Pedersen
30. Bolly

Who do you think will win tonight?


Poll Results:

Molde (418)
Dundalk (188)
Draw (86)



We’re underway…

Molde have started this game in the ascendancy. 

Andy Boyle has already had to be alert to clear a cross into the area.

Dundalk are under the cosh here.

Boyle again is in the right place to clear a cross into the area from Hestad.

Risa’s effort from the edge of the area goes over the bar.

Molde remain the dominant side, but there was one promising break spearheaded by Oduwa, although he ultimately failed to pick out anyone with a cross.

As I type, Sinyan’s header from a corner is cleared off the line by Dummigan.

Rogers does well to find Oduwa with a kickout.

Dundalk then can counter-attack, though it ends abruptly, as Dummigan badly overhits a cross that goes straight out of play.

Arsenal are already 2-0 up in the other game in this group.

Here’s a look at one of the goals…

The hosts break menacingly down the left through Knudtzon.

However, Gannon does really well, making an excellent recovery tackle before winning a free kick.

Molde are still controlling the game.

However, Dundalk have looked more comfortable, with their opponents rarely threatening of late.

As I type though, Rogers needs two attempts to gather Aursnes’ dangerous cross.

Dundalk take the lead.

Eikrem gets between Gartland and Boyle, heading home a perfectly delivered cross.

That’s a shame for the Irish side as they appeared to have weathered the storm.

Another worrying moment for Dundalk.

Rogers has to parry a cross before making a save from Eikrem.

Molde double their lead and it’s a poor goal from a Dundalk perspective.

Omoijuanfo peels away unmarked at the far post and powerfully heads home Risa’s inch-perfect cross.

If they didn’t have a mountain to climb before, Dundalk certainly do now.

A chance for Dundalk to reply instantaneously.

Flores wriggles away from a couple of defenders before blasting it over the bar, when he would have been better off squaring it to Oduwa.

gregory-sloggett-and-erling-knudtzon Dundalk's Gregory Sloggett and Erling Knudtzon of Molde. Source: Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/INPHO

The second half has begun…

nathan-oduwa-speaks-with-daniel-siebert Dundalk's Nathan Oduwa speaks with referee Daniel Siebert. Source: Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/INPHO

There’s a palpably slower tempo to this second half.

Molde are playing like a team who know they are in complete control of this game.

Gregersen cynically takes down Oduwa to stop a Dundalk counter-attack and gets booked as a result.

The forward has been lively tonight, causing the hosts some problems.

As I type, Hoare tries an audacious attempt from about 30 yards out that goes well over.

Eikrem’s corner finds the head of Omoijuanfo.

Rogers makes a good save, before Sinyan drags the rebound from close-range wide.

Wingo finds space wide right.

A low cross finds Omoijuanfo, who backflicks it just wide.

Meanwhile, Dundalk make a couple of changes.

McEleney, Duffy and Cleary are on, as they replace Boyle, Oduwa and Sloggett.

Eikrem plays a clever through pass to Omoijuanfo, whose low shot is saved by Rogers.

Molde remain comfortably the better team.

A corner finds Ellingsen at the far post, and he heads home powerfully for his seventh goal of the season.

Dundalk haven’t dealt with Molde’s aerial threat — that’s their third headed goal.

The visitors respond to that setback by taking off Shields and replacing him with Mountney.

Omoijuanfo attempts an acrobatic overhead kick, but Rogers gets down well to make the save.

This could get very ugly if Dundalk aren’t careful.

Dundalk make another change.

McMillan replaces Daniel Kelly, who has been energetic, but has had little in the way of service up front.

McEleney plays a lovely through pass to Mountney.

His cross is towards McMillan, but the striker can’t quite get proper contact on it.

Down the other end, Omoijuanfo is played through, but Rogers rushes off his line and does enough to ensure the Molde man’s finish is wayward.

martin-ellingsen-scores-their-third-goal Molde's Martin Ellingsen scores their third goal. Source: Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/INPHO

A free kick is only half-cleared and a Flores attempt from distance goes just wide.

If that went in, it would have rivalled his Puskas-nominated goal.

Meanwhile, Brian Gartland has taken a knock after going up for a header and landing awkwardly. He is currently receiving treatment.

It’s been a pretty scrappy last few minutes.

As this game approaches its conclusion, both sides look tired.

Hoare gives it away.

The substitute Bolly then nutmegs Cleary before turning it just wide when one-on-one with Rogers while under pressure from Dummigan, who lunges at the ball from the side.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time…

Dundalk get a consolation goal in stoppage time.

A corner falls to Flores, who is about 30 yards out, yet produces an unstoppable effort that finds the top corner.

Well that’s that.

Molde were worthy winners. They were much the better team over the course of the 90 minutes, controlling the play and dominating proceedings.

Dundalk can’t argue with the result and it was never going to be easy, with a number of key players left on the bench with Sunday’s FAI Cup final clearly prioritised.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the performance is the manner of the goals they conceded — all three were headers, and they were certainly each avoidable.

It’s another harsh lesson for Dundalk amid a group campaign where they have yielded few rewards.

While they were unlucky in the two Rapid Vienna games, they were thoroughly outplayed tonight in what was probably their worst performance of the campaign.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to follow.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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