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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 28 January 2021

Flores scores stunning consolation goal but Molde too strong for Dundalk

The League of Ireland side were comprehensively beaten in tonight’s Europa League fixture in Norway.

ohi-omoijuanfo-celebrates-scoring-their-second-goal-with-sheriff-sinyan Ohi Omoijuanfo celebrates with Sheriff Sinyan after scoring Molde's second goal. Source: Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/INPHO

Molde 3
Dundalk 1

THE VISIT OF Arsenal to the Aviva Stadium will provide Dundalk with one last chance to get off the mark in Europa League Group B after the Lilywhites fell to a fifth defeat in as many games this evening at the hands of Molde.

Thanks to headed goals from Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Ohi Omoijuanfo and Martin Ellingsen, Filippo Giovagnoli’s side are still searching for the first point of a campaign that concludes with a game against the Premier League giants at Lansdowne Road next Thursday.

The Oriel Park outfit were rewarded for their efforts in Norway with a late goal from Jordan Flores, whose stunning strike was admittedly scant consolation with the tie already settled.

The result leaves Molde well-placed to advance to the knockout stages along with Arsenal. Ahead of next week’s decisive game away to Rapid Vienna, they hold a three-point lead over the Austrian side, against whom they were 1-0 winners at home.

With one eye on this Sunday’s FAI Cup final against Shamrock Rovers, there were six changes to the Dundalk team – one of which saw Michael Duffy temporarily held in reserve – from last weekend’s record-breaking 11-0 trouncing of Athlone Town. The attacking onus therefore rested with the novel forward pairing of Nathan Oduwa and Daniel Kelly.

Molde dictated the terms from early on, with the contest following a somewhat predictable pattern. As Eikrem pulled the strings for the hosts in their search for an opening goal, Dundalk had to defend resolutely while hoping to make the most of their opportunities to embark on counter attacks.

chris-shields-dejected-after-molde-scored-their-first-goal Dejected Dundalk captain Chris Shields. Source: Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/INPHO

The Packie Bonner-style kickouts launched deep into the opposing half by Gary Rogers had caused concern for the Molde defence on several occasions, as questions were posed of them by the pace of Kelly and the trickery of Oduwa.

Molde, whose collective aerial threat troubled Dundalk all night, went close to taking the lead through Sheriff Sinyan in the 12th minute, only for his header from Eikrem’s corner to be cleared off the line by Cameron Dummigan.

They eventually went ahead on the half-hour mark through an Eikrem header. The creator became the finisher as the Norwegian international playmaker found space in the box and glanced Birk Risa’s cross beyond Rogers.

Risa was the provider again when Molde doubled their advantage on 41 minutes. This time his delivery from the left went to the back post, where Omoijuanfo was on hand to head in a second goal.

But Dundalk certainly weren’t without chances in the opening period. Oduwa forced Andreas Linde to be alert with a long-range effort, before Kelly cut in from the right and had a shot that was too tame to bother the Molde goalkeeper.

Moments before Molde hit the front, Dundalk had them scrambling as Oduwa and Kelly broke in tandem, but the latter put too much purchase on a pass that could have created a one-on-one opening for the former Rangers man.

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nathan-oduwa-tackles-fredrik-aursnes Dundalk's Nathan Oduwa tackles Fredrik Aursnes of Molde. Source: Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/INPHO

Just before half-time, Flores found himself in a promising situation in the box and unleashed a right-footed effort that he was unable to keep down.

It was almost entirely a defensive effort for Dundalk in the second half at the Aker Stadion, where 600 fans were permitted to attend, and in truth the visitors were fortunate to concede only once more.

Sinyan somehow missed the target from point-blank range when he snatched at a rebound after Omoijuanfo was denied by Rogers. Omoijuanfo went close again shortly afterwards, his clever flick from Henry Wingo’s low cross drifting narrowly wide.

Rogers saved well from Ellingsen on 65 minutes, but moments later the Molde midfielder had his goal when he outjumped Dummigan to head in Eikrem’s corner.

Mathis Bolly, who replaced Omoijuanfo in the closing stages, bore down on goal in stoppage time but poked the ball off the outside of the post.

Nevertheless, there was still time for Flores to add to his impressive collection of spectacular goals, as he found the top corner with a ferocious strike from 25 yards out.

MOLDE: Andreas Linde; Henry Wingo, Stian Rode Gregersen (Etzaz Hussain, 68), Sheriff Sinyan, Birk Risa; Fredrik Aursnes (Tobias Christensen, 78), Martin Ellingsen; Eirik Hestad (Mattias Moström, 78), Magnus Wolff Eikrem (Leke James, 78), Erling Knudtzon; Ohi Omoijuanfo (Mathis Bolly, 86).

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle (Patrick McEleney, 60), Sean Hoare; Sean Gannon, Greg Sloggett (Dan Cleary, 60), Chris Shields (John Mountney, 68), Jordan Flores, Cameron Dummigan; Daniel Kelly (David McMillan, 73), Nathan Oduwa (Michael Duffy, 60).

Referee: Daniel Siebert (Germany). 

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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