Sligo Rovers bowed out of Europe on a optimistic observe, restoring delight because the Bit O’Crimson beat Viking 1-0 at The Showgrounds within the second leg of their Europa Convention League third qualifying spherical tie.
he Norwegian facet received the primary leg 5-1 in Stavanger in Norway final week to just about seal their place within the play-off spherical.
An personal aim simply earlier than half-time gave Rovers the lead, whereas it may have been extra because the hosts missed a penalty within the second-half.
However, it was job achieved actually as Rovers boss John Russell had requested his gamers to carry out at dwelling to reward followers for his or her help, they usually did simply that with a effective efficiency that noticed them decide up their fourth European win of the 12 months.
Even with the rating 5-1 in Viking’s favour earlier than the house leg, the Rovers followers packed The Showgrounds to indicate their appreciation for the Rovers facet that created historical past this 12 months.
John Russell’s facet has given followers well-known days out, and even elevated the membership’s profile alongside the best way.
Russell has needed to take care of a variety of accidents in latest weeks, and needed to make 4 adjustments to the facet that beat Bohemian on Sunday.
Star striker Aidan Keena missed out by means of damage, whereas David Cawley and Niall Morahan had been solely match sufficient for the bench.
Karl O’Sullivan was additionally named on the bench, whereas Max Mata, Robbie Burton, Adam McDonnell and Lewis Banks got here into the staff.
It was a really open begin to the sport, with the Bit O’Crimson trying most certainly to attain, though the guests had been holding onto possession properly and for longer intervals.
Luke McNicholas was not often troubled in targets, whereas Patrik Gunnarson was saved on his toes by the Rovers assault.
Greg Bolger’s nook after eight minutes was nearly cleared off the road, earlier than Paddy Kirk and Mata linked up properly with an important interception placing an finish to that transfer.
Mata obtained on the tip of Kirk’s cross, nodding straight into the arms of Gunnarsson who made a cushty save.
Mata, who scored twice in opposition to Bohs final Sunday, nodded extensive from Liivak’s cross, earlier than Rovers felt they need to have been awarded a penalty when Mata was taken down, however the Serbian referee waved play on.
Simply earlier than half-time, Rovers went forward.
A cross from Will Fitzgerald wasn’t handled by Viking, and it deflected off Sondre Flem Bjorshol to loop over Gunnarsson.
Rovers had been by far the extra spectacular staff within the first-half and deserved to go in forward on the break.
Russell knew although that he must be considerably cautious, though Viking may loosen up realizing that Rovers must rating one other three to a minimum of pressure extra-tme.
Bolger fired a shot extensive after the re-start, with Kailin Barlow’s volley simply flashing extensive of the targets.
A golden alternative to increase the scoreline arrived on 74 minutes when Liivak was taken down and a penalty was awarded this time.
The Estonian worldwide himself stepped as much as take the penalty, however the goalkeeper learn it properly and went the best technique to make the save.
Russell’s facet had been piling the strain on in direction of the tip, and once more Viking loved the majority of possession however had been actually not troubling the Rovers rearguard an excessive amount of.
Ultimately, Rovers held out to win the sport, however misplaced the tie 5-2 on combination.
It was a optimistic finish to what’s been a historical past breaking European marketing campaign for the Bit O’Crimson, and one which followers will always remember.
Viking will now transfer onto the play-off spherical the place they may meet FCSB of Romania.
For Rovers, the main focus switches shortly to league motion, with St Patrick’s Athletic up subsequent on Sunday in Inchicore.
Sligo Rovers: Luke McNicholas, Lewis Banks, Nando Pijnaker, Shane Blaney, Paddy Kirk, Adam McDonnell (Kailin Barlow, 61), Greg Bolger (Niall Morahan, 55), Robbie Burton, Frank Liivak, Max Mata (Cillian Heaney, 75), Will Fitzgerald (Karl O’Sullivan, 75).
Viking: Patrik Gunnarsson; Sondre Bjorshol, David Brekalo (Kris Lokberg 78), Viljar Vevante, Shayne Pattynama; Samuel Fridjonsson, Markus Solbakken, Harald Tangen (Fredrik Torsteinbo 83); Kevin Kabran (Niklas Sandberg 61), Zlatko Tripic (Edwin Austbo 78), Mai Traore (Daniel Karlsbakk HT).
Referee: Novak Simovic (Serbia).