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AS IT HAPPENED
As it happened: CSKA v St Pat's, Viking FK v Sligo, Europa Conference League
Revisit how Pat’s and Sligo got on in Europe this evening.

CSKA 0-1 St Pat’s

Viking 5-1 Sligo

Hello, and welcome to our liveblog on another big night for Irish sides in Europe.

We’ll be covering Shamrock Rovers in a separate liveblog later, but for now, we’re focusing on the Europa Conference League with both Irish sides’ games set to kick off at 6pm.

We’ll focus primarily on St Pat’s, as they travel to face CSKA Sofia, while also keeping an eye on Sligo’s encounter away to the Norwegian side Viking.

Both League of Ireland teams have done well simply to get this far — neither would have been favourites in the last round, as Sligo upset Motherwell and the Saints overcame Tottenham’s conquerors from last year Mura.

The goal this evening for both will surely be to just keep the tie alive ahead of the second leg back home.

It won’t be easy. Bulgarian football is a decent standard, as Shamrock Rovers found out recently when they were dumped out of the Champions League by Ludogorets. And CSKA showed their quality in the previous round with a 4-0 aggregate victory over Makedonija Gjorče Petrov.

Similarly, Viking, who beat Sparta Prague in the second round, will be very tough opponents for John Russell’s men.

Confirmation of the Pat’s and Sligo teams below…

tim-clancy-during-the-warm-up Kostadin Andonov / INPHO St Pat's coaches during the warm-up. Kostadin Andonov / INPHO / INPHO

We’re underway…

VIKING 1-0 SLIGO (TRIPIC 4)

A bad start for Sligo.

An initial shot from the edge of the area is saved by McNicholas, but it’s parried straight into the path of Zlatko Tripic, who slots home an easy tap-in.

There hasn’t been too much of note in the Pat’s game so far.

Tim Clancy’s men have largely sat back and allowed the hosts posssession.

As I type however, the Irish side break but Billy King’s shot is off target.

VIKING 2-0 SLIGO (FRIDJONSSON 8)

It’s been a nightmare start for Sligo.

Tripic is involved again. This time, his low cross finds Fridjonsson, who shows some neat footwork to evade the defender’s challenge before firing an unstoppable finish into the roof of the net.

Meanwhile, in Bulgaria, Pat’s have had a much better start than the Bit O’Red.

CSKA have not carved out any clear-cut opportunities yet, with the visitors doing well to frustrate them.

Forrester plays a clever pass through to Cotter, but he miscues his cross and it goes harmlessly out of play.

The pitch in Bulgaria doesn’t look great from this vantage and may have been a factor in that instance.

In Norway, Aidan Keena goes from the spectacular goal, but his effort from the edge of the area misses the top corner by a few inches.

Moments later, another blow for Sligo. Garry Buckley is down injured and looks like he won’t be able to continue.

Confirmation that Buckley has been stretchered off after coming off worse in a 50:50 challenge with Tripic. Nando Pijnaker replaces him.

That’s Sligo’s second enforced change of the evening, as Adam McDonnell went off injured earlier and was replaced by Max Mata.

a-view-of-the-travelling-st-patricks-athletic-fans-at-the-game Kostadin Andonov / INPHO A view of the travelling St Patrick's Athletic fans at the game. Kostadin Andonov / INPHO / INPHO

Pat’s continue to look solid in Sofia.

As expected, the hosts have dominated possession while lacking a cutting edge.

As I type though, Maurício Garcez’s shot from the edge of the area is spilt by Anang, but the goalkeeper is fouled by Thibaut Vion as he attempts to gather it at the second attempt.

Half chance for Sligo.

A corner falls into the path of Mata, but goalkeeper Gunnarsson is alert and smothers the ball before the substitute can get a clean shot away.

Another good effort from Keena.

It breaks for the striker on the edge of the area and his subsequent powerful shot goes inches over the bar.

billy-king-reacts-to-a-missed-chance Kostadin Andonov / INPHO St. Patrick's Athletic’s Billy King reacts to a missed chance. Kostadin Andonov / INPHO / INPHO

Pat’s have been under the cosh a bit more in recent minutes.

There have been plenty of corners and balls into the box, but they have defended very well to keep the hosts at bay.

samuel-fridjonsson-celebrates-scoring-their-second-goal NTB / Carina Johansen/INPHO Viking’s Samúel Fridjónsson celebrates scoring their second goal. NTB / Carina Johansen/INPHO / Carina Johansen/INPHO

HALF-TIME: CSKA 0-0 ST PAT’S

HALF-TIME: VIKING 2-0 SLIGO

So half-time in both games.

Pat’s will be pretty happy with the opening 45. While CSKA have controlled the game, they’ve struggled to create clear-cut chances, with the Irish side defending impressively and putting in a real shift off the ball.

It’s a different story for Sligo, however. A disastrous opening eight minutes saw them concede twice with two well-taken goals from the hosts’ perspective.

John Russell’s side have calmed the storm to a degree since then while creating occasional half chances.

Nevertheless, Viking have looked the far superior side based on that first half overall, with the Bit O’Red leaving themselves with a mountain to climb as they look to get back into this tie.

The second half is underway…

garry-buckley-goes-off-injured NTB / Carina Johansen/INPHO NTB / Carina Johansen/INPHO / Carina Johansen/INPHO

Pat’s have started the second half well.

Breslin plays in a dangerous free kick that Forrester can’t quite get a decisive touch on.

Moments later, O’Reilly threatens to sprint through on goal, but the defender gets back to make a good recovery challenge.

joseph-anang-makes-a-save Kostadin Andonov / INPHO St Patrick's Athletic goalkeeper Joseph Anang makes a save. Kostadin Andonov / INPHO / INPHO

VIKING 3-0 SLIGO (TRAORE 53)

Tripic is the provider again. He makes a good run down the left before his cross finds Mai Traore, who converts with ease.

Unfortunately, that could already seal the tie for the Norwegians. It would take a minor miracle for Sligo to win it from this position.

Nervy moment for CSKA.

Forrester plays a through ball for Doyle, whose finish comes off the crossbar.

The linesman’s flag was up for offside anyway, but that’s another indication of Pat’s positive play.

VIKING 4-0 SLIGO (SANDBERG 60)

This is turning into a really bad night for Sligo.

A well-worked flowing move ends with Sandberg curling a fine finish into the corner of the net.

The Bit O’Red sadly have looked out of their depth at times this evening.

A rare nervy moment for Pat’s.

A Bamba through ball causes panic with the ball taking a few ricochets before going out of play.

Less than 20 minutes of normal time now for the Saints to hang for what would be an excellent result.

Pat’s make a change.

16-year-old Sam Curtis comes on in place of Harry Brockbank.

Another cross into the area from CSKA is overhit.

The hosts have really lacked quality in the final third this evening.

Billy King breaks and goes on a mazy individual run.

He has options to his left and right but instead shoots just over the bar from just outside the box.

It’s his last action of the game, as he’s replaced by Serge Atakayi.

Close!

CSKA lose the ball in a dangerous area.

O’Reilly then plays it through to Doyle, who shoots over inside the area.

That’s probably their best chance so far.

A free kick in a good position is wasted as Breslin puts it straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.

Pat’s are finishing strongly.

CSKA 0-1 PAT’S (ATAKAYI 87)

Pat’s are on the verge of a famous victory!

It comes from a hopeful long ball.

Donchev tries to head it back to the goalkeeper, but it’s short, and Atakayi shows great pace to get to the ball first, going past the goalkeeper and putting it into the net.

VIKING 5-0 SLIGO (AUSTBO 87)

VIKING 5-1 SLIGO (CAWLEY 89)

Two goals in quick succession in a tie that’s effectively all over.

Austbo curls in a fine finish from the edge of the area.

Then moments later, Sligo win a penalty which Cawley slots home.

FULL-TIME: CSKA SOFIA 0-1 ST PAT’S

FULL-TIME: VIKING 5-1 SLIGO

So that’s that.

A forgettable night for Sligo, as they were ultimately well beaten by a better team and appear to have no chance of going through barring a miracle.

Pat’s, on the other hand, have put themselves in a hugely promising position.

A gutsy display largely restricted CSKA to half-chances and they finished strongly, to the point that Atakayi’s winning goal, when it came, was not against the run of play by any means.

They can’t afford to get too carried away of course, with 90 minutes to play in Tallaght, but they still should savour tonight amid what is surely one of the best standalone results ever from an Irish side playing in Europe.

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

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

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