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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 3 April, 2020


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Welcome along to our liveblog on a big night for Dundalk.

Vinny Perth’s side are in Slovakia for a tricky-looking tie against Slovan Bratislava in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.

Should they progress, the Lilywhites will face the loser of the PAOK-Ajax Champions League qualifier, but first they must focus on the task at hand.

In Europe, the reigning League of Ireland champions are coming off the back of a dispiriting loss to Qarabag, where after a 1-1 home draw, they were convincingly beaten 3-0 in Azerbaijan in the second leg.

The Irish side currently sit seven points ahead of Shamrock Rovers domestically with a game in hand, though they face a side that are currently top of the Slovak Super Liga after three games, having won the title last season.

Slovan Bratislava, meanwhile, had their own Champions League heartache to deal with recently, drawing 2-2 on aggregate and losing 3-2 on penalties against Sutjeska Nikšić of Montenegro.

So who do you think will progress?

Poll Results:

Dundalk (218)
 Slovan Bratislava (126)

Speaking on Eir Sport, Pat Fenlon — who oversaw that famous Shelbourne European run in 2004 — says he fancies Dundalk to go through over the two legs.

Meanwhile, Con Murphy reminds us that Dundalk would be guaranteed at least €300,000 if they progress.

We’re under way…


Dundalk certainly aren’t afraid to get bodies forward.

Hoban overhits a pass to the onrushing Duffy, but there were at least five Dundalk players in or around the box during that attack.


It’s been a bit scrappy in these opening stages, but Dundalk continue to look relatively confident, enjoying plenty of possession and pushing bodies forward.

Vinny Perth will be content enough with what he’s seen so far.


Bratislava produce a well-worked attack.

Medvedev finds himself in a promising position wide right, but Duffy shows good discipline to get back and stem the full-back’s threat.

Moments later, Mohammed Rharsalla’s curling shot from the edge of the area deflects off the head of Shields and is saved, with relative ease, by Rogers.


After a promising opening, Dundalk’s attack hasn’t really functioned too well in recent minutes.

The visitors have been a bit sloppy with their passing, with Sean Murray the latest player to give the ball away cheaply in a decent position.


Hoban finds some space on the counter, but his touch is too heavy.

Moments later, Duffy makes a positive run down the left that results in him winning a corner.

Frustratingly from a Dundalk perspective though, the whistle sounds as soon as the ensuing set piece is delivered, with Cleary penalised seemingly for an infringement on the opposition goalkeeper, Greif.


Bratislava are beginning to look more threatening now.

Mohammed Rharsalla, who has been very lively, works some space on the edge of the area and curls a shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Down the other end, Mountney plays a clever through ball inside the full-back and the onrushing Duffy forces the goalkeeper to make a good save at his near post.

From the subsequent corner, Boyle sees his header saved by Greif.


This game has become much more open in the last 10 minutes.

Ljubičić is the latest to produce an attempt — he is afforded plenty of space on the edge of the area, but shoots a few inches wide.

Shortly thereafter, Šporar gets on the end of a free kick, but he cannot steer his header from an awkward position on target.


Bratislava go close again.

After the ball is given away cheaply, Moha drives forward and shoots just wide from the edge of the area.

Moments later, Rogers comes for a corner but doesn’t deal with it convincingly. Luckily for the visitors, Abena can’t quite get a proper connection once it reaches him at the far post.


Bratislava are getting stronger as the half develops.

Dundalk, having begun positively, are increasingly being forced backwards, and have every player inside their own half as I type.



Another positive approach to the start of the half from Dundalk.

As I type, however, Hoban is penalised for being offside.

Down the other end, there are shouts for a penalty, as a ball into the box is controlled by Boyle’s arm or chest depending on your perspective, but the ref thinks it was the latter.

A minute later, a cross causes panic in the Dundalk area. Rogers initially has to make a close-range save, before Medvedev scuffs a rebound into the side-netting, as the visitors breathe a big sigh of relief.


Another half-chance for the hosts, as Vernon De Marco heads over from a corner.

Moments later, Murray’s snapshot finds the side-netting, after good work down the right by Jamie McGrath.



De Marco’s cross from the right causes another nervy moment in the Dundalk area.

Rogers and Cleary both go for the ball, with the latter ultimately clearing it to safety.


Hoban crosses for McGrath.

The attacking midfielder takes a touch to create space, before dragging the ball disappointingly wide.

It’s another moment of encouragement for Dundalk though — the visitors look well capable of scoring tonight.


Medvedev bursts forward before playing an intelligent through pass to Šporar.

The attacker’s subsequent powerful drive is well saved by Rogers at the goalkeeper’s near post.


Rafael Ratão breaks down the right, but Boyle is well positioned to cut out the cross.

There are appeals for a handball there and moments later, as Abena’s shot comes off Boyle again.

It would have been very harsh in the first instance, but the defender was a little lucky the second time around, as he had his hands up to block the attempt.

Meanwhile, the home supporters’ growing support is emphasised by the fact that a few individuals are throwing plastic containers on the pitch in the direction of Gary Rogers’ goal.


Dundalk make a change with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Murray, who has done well overall but looks a little tired, is replaced by McEleney.


The hosts have also made a change.

Dejan Drazic is on in place of Ratao.

As I type, Rogers makes a superb stop. Holman’s set piece is met by Ljubičić, but the midfielder’s bullet header is parried away to safety.



McEleney drives forward, but he can’t pick out Duffy with a lofted through ball.

The conditions are far from ideal for free-flowing football at the moment, as it’s absolutely lashing rain.



Another change for Bratislava.

Čavrić replaces Šporar. Apart from that near-post drive that Rogers was equal to a few minutes ago, the departing attacker has had a fairly quiet evening.


Dundalk are largely sitting back now and look content to settle for the 0-0 draw, allowing their opponents the majority of the possession and territory.

As I type, however, Dundalk counter, and Abena needs to make a last-ditch challenge to prevent Hoban running through on goal from McEleney’s through pass.


Bratislava finally break the deadlock.

Drazic’s initial shot from the edge of the area comes back off the post, but the ball falls kindly to Holman, who shows good composure to slot the ball home.

It’s harsh on Dundalk, who have defended so well for much of this contest.


So close!

McGrath crosses for Mountney, but Greif does well to touch the latter’s header onto the crossbar.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time.

Here’s a look at the winning goal…

And that last-gasp chance Dundalk had to equalise…

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here and we’ll have more reaction to follow.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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