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The controversial goal that knocked Shamrock Rovers out of Champions League qualifying

Richie Towell’s stunning goal had brought Rovers level on aggregate before Vladimir Weiss struck with 18 minutes remaining.

Was Roberto Lopes fouled seconds before Vladimir Weiss struck the decisive goal?
Was Roberto Lopes fouled seconds before Vladimir Weiss struck the decisive goal?

AN IMPRESSIVE HOME display by Shamrock Rovers saw Stephen Bradley’s men claw back a two-goal aggregate deficit just after the hour mark of their home second leg against Slovan Bratislava, but their dreams of progression to the second round of Champions League qualifying were ended in controversial circumstances by Vladimir Weiss, who struck for the visitors with 18 minutes of normal time remaining.

The Slovakian international’s incursion into the Rovers’ box and subsequent finish were exquisite, but the build-up to the goal left a sour taste in the mouths of Rovers players, management and fans due to an apparent foul on Roberto Lopes moments before Weiss struck what proved to be the dagger blow.

The game was not televised in Ireland but Slovan have today uploaded highlights to their official YouTube channel, which can be viewed below (Weiss’ goal begins at the 2:53 mark):

Source: ŠK Slovan Bratislava/YouTube

“It’s a definite foul,” Rovers manager Bradley said after the game. “I know that’s easy to say when it’s the goal that knocked you out but if you get done by a bit of play from the front players with a bit of quality, sometimes you have to take it and accept that.

“But we dealt with all that really well tonight and we get done by a really really poor decision, an awful decision that cost us. Because they were done, you could sense they were done on the pitch and from their bench. Physically, they were done.

The fourth official is saying ‘foul’ as the game is going on because he sees the forward push him but the ref doesn’t listen to him. For such a big decision, it’s an awful decision.

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“There is one team going to win it then,” Bradley added. “The performance that the players gave has to be up there with one of the best Irish performances because we were playing a team who are at a really high level, a lot of internationals. We kept them really quiet, created a lot of chances, the ‘keeper made two great saves at the end. Ultimately we got done by a terrible decision and that’s a hard one to take.”

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