Ryan Byrne/INPHO

As it happened: St Patrick's Athletic v CSKA Sofia, Europa Conference League 3rd qualifying round

Saints take a 1-0 lead to Tallaght Stadium with a place in the final qualifying round at stake tonight.

Full-time: St Patrick’s Athletic 0-2 CSKA Sofia
(CSKA Sofia advance 2-1 on aggregate)

chris-forrester-after-his-side-conceded-their-second-goal A gutting night for Chris Forrester and his team-mates. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO


Good evening!

tim-clancy Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Hello, everyone, and welcome to live coverage of St Patrick’s Athletic’s Europa Conference League qualifier with CSKA Sofia. Pats take a 1-0 advantage into tonight’s second leg, which was relocated to Tallaght Stadium from where The42′s own Paul Fennessy will be reporting later on.

I’m Gavan Casey, meanwhile, and I’ll be providing live updates here for any of you who can’t watch the game on RTÉ News Now or the RTÉ Player.

A win or a draw tonight will see Saints into the final round of qualifying for the Europa Conference League proper. Whoever emerges from this tie will face either Brondby or Basel in that play-off round.

Team news on its way shortly!


Here are Pats:

And, I’m not going to lie to you, I’m having a hard time finding the 31-time Bulgarian champions’ official Twitter account. Please, bear with me.

We’re about to kick off, and Tallaght looks fairly packed by this Dublin 8 invasion. The ground has already seen three home wins for Shamrock Rovers in Europe this season; let’s see if Pats can make it a fourth for League of Ireland clubs and book that tie with either Basel or Brondby!


1′ - Pats get us underway and immediately gain a bit of territory with a throw-in deep in CSKA territory. Anto Breslin swings in a dangerous cross from the left but he didn’t have sufficient numbers in the box for any real threat to materialise.

4′ - Breslin, again, with a low, driven cross into the CSKA area which is put out for a corner but Eoin Doyle gave away a foul for a push as the ball came in. Positive start by Saints.

8′ - I made a huge mistake not using the bathroom before kick-off. If I gave one of you the login, could you man the liveblog for two minutes?

Update: Huge ‘no’ on this from my editor.

10′ - Pats are frustrating CSKA Sofia early, here. Winning a lot of the 50-50s and not allowing the Bulgarians to string together anything of note. Nice tempo to this one so far.


12′ - Ah, flip it. Honestly, there had been zero threat so far by CSKA but a corner from the right-hand side by Thibaut Vion is nodded simply past Joseph Anang by Maurício Garcez. Shocking marking — Tim Clancy and his staff will be fuming at that.

That’s a huge goal for CSKA, who’ll surely settle into this now. We’re all square in Tallaght, and in the tie.

16′ -Bulgarian international Georgi Yomov, who was only on the bench last week, is the first player to go in the book after chopping down Jamie Lennon on the left flank. He had been warned for a challenge on the same player only moments beforehand.

18′ - Barry Cotter has been a bit loose with his distribution down Pats’ right-hand side so far.

Sasa Ilic’s men are playing with an intensity that is unrecognisable compared to the first leg. Pats are giving as good as they get but they could do with even a period of sterile possession, here, just to settle this one.

22′ - Garcez and Yomov almost combine again to good effect and, moments later, a cross by Ivan Turitsov from the right finds the Brazilian Garcez whose volleyed effort skews wide-right. That was dangerous.

24′ - CHANCE FOR PATS! Billy King swivels and feeds the charging Adam O’Reilly, but CSKA ‘keeper Gustavo Busatto does exceptionally well: he charges out towards the edge of the area and puts himself in the way of O’Reilly’s effort. There was a dink on but O’Reilly had only a couple of seconds, and maybe two touches, to decide what he was going to do with it.

26′ - Ah, lovely play by Pats. Doyle feeds Breslin with a pass around the corner and, as the latter bolts towards the CSKA box from the left-hand side, he’s scythed down by visiting skipper Jurgen Mattheij who takes his booking on the chin.

Poor delivery by Jamie Lennon from the free-kick, unfortunately. But Pats are starting to motor.

Seconds later, an overhit cross — possibly by Chris Forrester? I didn’t quite see, apologies — is tipped over by Busatto. Again, nothing doing from the corner which was sent in this time by Forrester.

mauricio-garcez-celebrates-scoring-the-firsrt-goal Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

33′ - The game has settled, and it’s very evenly matched. Both sides continuing to probe without creating much over the last five or six minutes. Atmosphere in Tallaght sounds class.

35′ -CSKA’s Brayan Moreno cuts inside and has an effort on goal but Anang gets down to his right and holds onto it, no nonsense.

41′ -Good goalkeeping again by Anang who rushes out and clears a ball before Moreno can pounce on an exploratory pass by the Norwegian, Jonathan Lindseth.

42′ - Nice run by Cotter who, this time, gets the pass right and feeds Adam O’Reilly on the right-hand side of the CSKA box. O’Reilly gets a shot away but he was slipping over as he hit it, so the ball trickles slowly into the grateful arms of Busatto.

Half-time: St Patrick's Athletic 0-1 CSKA Sofia

47′ – Beyond the allotted minute of stoppage time, Pats have a corner which Busatto collects. And that’s us for 15 minutes.

At half-time, CSKA Sofia lead 1-0 through Mauricio Garcez’s sixth goal in eight games this season.

mauricio-garcez-celebrates-scoring-the-firsrt-goal Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

It’s all tied up on aggregate and it’s perfectly poised for a massive second half at Tallaght Stadium!

Second half

46′ - Back at it at Tallaght Stadium. What a huge 45 minutes we have ahead.

49′ - Great defending by Harry Brockbank who sniffs out a pull-back by Yomov. CSKA’s corner amounts to nothing.

52′ - A lovely diag — yeah, gonna go for the abbreeve — by Forrester lands on Billy King’s lap at the edge of the CSKA area, but King can’t quite get it out of his feet and CSKA get themselves sorted.

56′ - Yellow for Tom Grivosti, who leapt into a 50-50 challenge and won the ball, but also cleaned out his opponent — I’m not sure who it was.

The CSKA players all surrounded the ref and Grivosti looking for more, but it wasn’t an especially dangerous or high challenge. Just high-speed and forceful.

59′ - Pats have been the better side in the second half so far but there’s nothing really sticking in the final third where they’ve lacked a bit of crucial penetration all night.

Still, the place is rocking.

Amos Youga becomes the third CSKA player booked for a cynical foul on Forrester, who has started to dance a bit in the last couple of minutes.

62′ -First sub for CSKA, as 20-year-old midfielder Stanislav Shopov replaces Georgi Yomov.

By the way, Basel and Brondby are gone to penalties in the other half of this Europa Conference League bracket.

64′ - Barry Cotter has been doing a bit of play-acting after a couple of recent challenges and the referee just isn’t enjoying the show at all.

Meanwhile, last week’s hero, Serge Atakayi, has replaced Billy King. To be honest, Atakayi’s raw pace seems like exactly what Pats have been missing in attacking areas so far tonight.

72′ -BIG CHANCE FOR PATS! Wonderful delivery from the right-hand side by Forrester drops at the feet of Breslin but he can’t connect properly from seven yards out. Ohhh, that was a real opportunity in a game in which there have been few of them for either side. Breslin just couldn’t get the connection right.

Meanwhile, Gefferson and Lazar Tufegdszic replace Jonathan Lindseth and Thibaut Vion respectively.

76′ - OHHHH HOW ARE PATS NOT AHEAD?! It seemed written in the stars for Atakayi, who bore down on goal but whose left-footed shot was tame. Busatto couldn’t hold it, however, and after the ball spilled back out to the charging O’Reilly, the 21-year-old Cork man skewed his effort wide right. Credit to Busatto who partly made up for a bit of a spillage by making himself big and narrowing the target for O’Reilly.

The referee has given CSKA a couple of very soft fouls, here, and the place is going buts. CSKA are feeling it.

Penalty for CSKA Sofia!

80′ - I don’t believe it. Handball against Brockbank and out of absolutely nothing, CSKA have a penalty with just over 10 minutes to go.

It was a long ball into the Pats area which seemed to be half-controlled by Garcez, but the ball ricocheted onto Brockbank’s arm as he attempted to close Garcez down.

Goal for CSKA Sofia!

81′ - Goal. Ivan Turitsov sends Anang the wrong way and rolls the ball into the bottom-right corner. That is an absolute sickener for Pats. A scarcely deserved goal for the visitors and they’re about eight minutes plus stoppage time from booking a tie with Basel, who beat Brondby on penalties a while ago.

84′ - OHHHHH SO CLOSE FOR PATS! Forrester’s corner is glanced a yard wide by Doyle, who had Busatto beaten.

Doyle is still searching for his first European goal. What a time it would have been to get it.

86′ - Yellow cards for Pat’s boss Tim Clancy and one of the CSKA coaches, who I presume exchanged words as CSKA attempt to run down the clock here.

88′ - CSKA are seeing this game out expertly, to be fair. Completely cynically, but expertly. Constant fouls, play-acting when they’re fouled themselves, remonstrations and theatrics to beat the band.

Added time: Four minutes

92′ - Anang’s free-kick is lofted into the CSKA area but the ball is nodded meekly towards Busatto. Pats struggling to create anything now as CSKA continue to do a great job of killing the game.

94′ - Throw-in for Pats high up the pitch on the right-hand side. Atakayi throws it to Cotter, but his pass back to Atakayi goes out of play. Poor stuff. That’ll probably be that.

95′ - Free-kick to Pats. Central. About 40 yards from goal. Last chance.

Full-time: St Patrick's Athletic 0-2 CSKA Sofia

That is absolutely galling for Pats.

Oh, it’s kicking off! Jamie Lennon and Bradley de Nooijer had some sort of exchange after the final whistle and both sets of players started pushing and shoving. It eventually fizzles out and CSKA head for their sizeable support to celebrate.

Pats applauded off warmly for what was a great effort. But to be honest, they were good enough to go through and they actually should have gone through — that’s what will sicken Tim Clancy and his men.


ivan-turitsov-scores-his-sides-second-goal-from-a-penalty Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

That’s all from me. Paul Fennessy will have a match report and follow-up from Tallaght Stadium on The42 shortly.

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday nights, all.

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