The three surviving Airtricity League sides in European Competition continued their journey this week in the third qualifying round first leg of the Europa Conference League.
First into action on Tuesday evening were Bohemian who welcomed PAOK of Greece to the Aviva Stadium at 7.45pm. In front of an audience capped at 8.000 the ‘Gypsies’ started a little hesitantly but gradually grew into the game and took the lead after 23 minutes with a well worked goal converted by Ali Coote. The second period started in similar fashion to the opener but Coote again found the net on 52 minutes with a speculative long range shot. The visitors, with fifteen internationals in their matchday squad, did respond and pulled a goal back on 77 minutes to set up a still challenging but intriguing second leg next week.
Dundalk commenced action at 6pm on Thursday evening when they travelled to Holland where they faced Vitesse. The hosts took a 20th minute lead and dominated proceedings in the first half. The ‘Lilywhites’ responded much better in the second half and Patrick McEleney equalised after 65 minutes and stunned the Dutch side with a second goal on 76 minutes. Vitesse responded with vigour and secured an equaliser in the final minute of the contest. The second leg in Tallaght Stadium next Thursday is set to quite an interesting evening.
Tallaght Stadium hosted the meeting of Shamrock Rovers and Teuta Durres of Albania at 8pm on Thursday evening. The ‘Hoops’ dominated possession throughout but were unable to find the net until the first minute of added time when seventeen year old Aidoma Emakhu, an 83rd minute substitute, scored the only goal to secure a merited victory. The ‘Hoops’ will travel to Albania for the second leg next Thursday.