Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE UCD striker Sean McDonald (file pic).
On Home Soil

UCD set to fly the flag tonight in European tie with Solskjaer's club Molde FK

‘We want to represent Ireland in the right way,’ says manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki.

UCD’S U19S ARE set to kick-off their European adventure this evening as they welcome Norwegian side Molde FK in the first round of the Uefa Youth League.

The south Dublin side enter the competition along with some of Europe’s top clubs thanks to their success in the SSE Airtricity U19 League.

The current champions face the domestic champions path due to results in the Uefa Champions League play-offs and Ireland’s improved seeding.

The UCD Bowl plays host to the first leg this evening [kick-off 6.30pm], as the Students welcome former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s club — he manages the senior team.

UCD manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki believes his side are more than ready to compete in Europe.

“The team is focused and we’re ready to go,” he said. It is an important game but we want to approach it in a similar manner as we do in the league.

“We’ve had a good season so far and played really well, and we’re aiming to do the same tomorrow against Molde. We want to represent Ireland in the right way but also as a player and a coach, you want to be part of the big games.

“Since we found out about Molde, we’ve put a lot of work into looking at them. I’ve watched them twice so I know more or less what to expect from them. They’re a strong team but we know their style and now it’s just a matter of using that knowledge on the pitch.

inpho_00924488 20 / 4/2015 UCD manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki. 20 / 4/2015 / 4/2015

“To get the knowledge about Molde is one thing but as we don’t play in the same league, we’ll probably still have to find out about the opposition in the game itself.”

At the weekend, UCD narrowly missed out on topping the SSE Airtricity League U19 Southern Elte Division as they finished all square with leaders Cobh Ramblers. They have qualified for the play-offs though, pitted against Drogheda United in the quarter-finals.

The return leg will see them travel to Norway on Wednesday 18 October. The winners of the tie are set to take on either Zimbru Chișinău of Moldova or KF Vllaznla of Albania in the second round.

Tarnogrodzki continued: “Of course, it is always important to try and get a result to go into the second leg with something. But, it is more important for the players to believe in the way they play and to express that in each game.

“We like to control games in the league and I would like to see a similar approach in this competition as I believe we need to stick to our style to be successful. There is a lot of competition in the squad to play tomorrow night.

“We had to name a squad in which only three players were born in 1998 so a lot of our U19 players aren’t eligible but we still have plenty of quality in the squad.

“We’re really looking forward to it and it is definitely an experience which can only benefit the players in their long-term development.”

UCD follow in the footsteps of Cork City, who became the first League of Ireland side to compete in the tournament a year ago. They were knocked out by AS Roma after a memorable victory over Finnish champions HJK.

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