Aidomo Emakhu is congratulated by Aaron Greene following his first-leg goal for Shamrock Rovers against Teuta Durrës. Tommy Dickson/INPHO
upper hand

'No excuses' for Bradley as Shamrock Rovers primed to advance in Europe

The Hoops have taken a one-goal advantage to Albania for tonight’s clash with Teuta Durrës.

A CLEAN SHEET will see them through, but Shamrock Rovers won’t be taking a conservative approach into this evening’s meeting with Teuta Durrës (7pm).

That’s according to Rovers manager Stephen Bradley ahead of the second-leg fixture in the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.

Thanks to a stoppage-time goal in last week’s first leg, the Hoops have taken a 1-0 advantage to Albania’s Elbasan Arena.

“We go to win the game,” Bradley said. “We have to approach it like it’s 0-0. We have to go with that mindset – to win the game. We don’t go anywhere to settle for a 0-0, we go to win every game and this is no different.”

Seven days ago in Tallaght, Teuta set out to frustrate a dominant Rovers side in the hope of returning to Albania with the tie still in the balance.

They looked set to achieve that aim until the League of Ireland Premier Division champions were rescued in dramatic fashion by 17-year-old substitute Aidomo Emakhu.

Bradley, who expects a “totally different” strategy from Teuta this evening, believes the removal of the away goals rule has discouraged teams from showing attacking ambition on the road. 

“You watch a number of games in Europe, not just our game, and you can see that’s had an effect of the away team going and sitting in and not needing that away goal. I think that definitely played its part in their tactics.”

With the exception of long-term absentee Neil Farrugia, Rovers have taken a full-strength squad to Elbasan, where highs of 39 degrees celsius are forecast for today.

stephen-bradley Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley. Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

“No excuses,” Bradley said of playing in such extreme temperatures – a challenge his players got a taste of during last month’s trip to Slovakia to face Slovan Bratislava.

“We knew what we were coming into. The fact we faced it in Bratislava will help us. We know what we’re facing in terms of the heat and what it’s going to be like at kick-off time, so no excuses.”

Having suffered a 5-0 aggregate defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova in the first qualifying round of the Champions League, Teuta advanced to a meeting with Shamrock Rovers courtesy of a 3-2 win over two legs against Andorra’s Inter Club d’Escaldes.

Bidding for success in a European tie for the fourth time as Rovers boss, Bradley has previously overseen victories at the expense of Stjarnan (Iceland), SK Brann (Norway) and Ilves (Finland).

Flora Tallinn of Estonia await the winners of this tie in the play-off round, where a place in the group stages of the inaugural Europa Conference League will be at stake.

“I think from experience as a player and now as a manager, this group has played a lot of European games together and it’s that know-how and understanding as a group,” said Bradley. “I think that is really important.”

He added: “We’ve got a big job to do [tonight] and if we do that right, then we can fully look towards Flora Tallinn.”

A live stream of this evening’s game can be purchased for €10 by visiting this link.

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