UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Rnd first leg
NK Ĺ iroki Brijeg 1-1 St Patrick's Athletic
DESPITE the concession a stoppage time equaliser, St Patrick's Athletic gave themselves every chance of making the third round of the Europa League with an impressive display in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
With Romanian referee IstvĂˇn KovĂˇcs' watch into the third minute of added time, veteran Brazilian striker Wagner headed home a deep cross from Mateo Bertosa to give Ĺ iroki Brijeg a scarcely deserved draw on the night.
Christy Fagan's early goal had looked more than enough to give St. Patrick's victory as Liam Buckley's side never wilted in the 27 degree heat.
St Patrick's keeper Brendan Clarke, one of the heroes of their display away to IBV in the first round, made an early save from Sandro Bloudek before the visitors' positive start was rewarded with a vital away goal on 12 minutes.
The goal should have come a minute earlier but for John Russell's weak penalty, after Ĺ iroki Brijeg captain Verdan Jese handled a Sean O'Connor cross, being saved down to his right by Luka Bilobrik.
But Russell promptly played his part in the lead goal. Fagan, who scored the winner in the first leg against IBV, made a telling return to the side, winning the ball near the halfway line to surge forward.
He fed Russell whose shot was parried by Bilobrik. Fagan, with clinical striker's instinct, followed up to drill the ball home.
St Patrick's skipper Conor Kenna was relieved five minutes later when he lost possession to give Bloudek another sniff of goal. But the striker put his effort wide.
Bloudek was proving Ĺ iroki Brijeg's chief threat and he just failed to get enough purchase on a cross on the half hour which went past a post.
It then got better for St. Patrick's three minutes before the break when home defender Mladen Jurcevic, booked for a handball on seven minutes, received a second yellow for a rash challenge on Fagan and was sent off.
St Patrick's remained comfortable into the second half and Chris Forrester worked Bilobrik eight minutes in.
Forrester then made space for himself on the right-hand edge of the area six minutes later to curl a left-foot shot against a post.
Substitute Darren Meenan had a late chance to all but put the tie to bed, but the winger put his 82nd minute lob wide.
NK SIROKI BRIJEG: Bilobrik; Jurcevic, D. Dzidic, Jese, Bertosa; Zlomislic (Baiano 67), Serdarusic (I Dzidic 46); Coric, Wagner, Bloudek; Roskam (Kordic 55).
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: Clarke; O'Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Russell, Chambers, Bolger; Forrester (J Kelly 86), Fagan, O'Connor (Meenan 75).
REFEREE: IstvĂˇn KovĂˇcs (Romania).
UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Rnd first leg
Spartak Trnava 3-1 Sligo Rovers
SLIGO ROVERS will have a major hurdle to overcome after suffering a 3-1 loss in Slovakia in their UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round first-leg clash with Spartak Trnava.
Ian Baraclough's side had weathered the first half storm from the Slovaks until the 38th minute when they went on to concede three goals in quick succession before the break.
The tie remains alive as Gavin Peers found the Spartak net in the 68th minute and Rovers fans will be looking from a major performance from the Bit O'Red in the second leg at the Showgrounds next week.
Raffaele Cretaro had given Sligo a glimmer of hope early when he had a shot just off target but the home side raised the ante with Patrik Gross forcing Rovers keeper Gary Rogers into a fine save before Miroslav Karhan opened the scoring when he headed in a corner kick from Vlastimil Stozicky.
Martin Mikovic extended the home side's lead when as a cross from the left found him unmarked in the penalty area and he curled a shot past Rogers from the edge of the box.
It got worse for Sligo as they were 3-0 down within less than a minute. Mikovic grabbed his second of the night when he raced onto a stray pass, lured Rogers from his goal-line and squeezed his shot in from an acute angle.
Rovers came close to pulling one back when Cretaro hit the upright with a powerful shot while Joseph Ndo forced keeper Miroslav Filipko into a save from a free-kick in the 64th minute.
Four minutes later Peers ensured Rovers still retain hope of turning the tie around when he headed home from a cross from Danny North.
SPARTAK TRNAVA: M Filipko; M Habanek, M Janecka, P Cvirik, V Stozicky; P Gross, M Karhan; M Gasparik, M Mikovic (I Schranz 70), M Bicak (J Koubsky 84); L Tomacek (K Pavelka 60).
SLIGO ROVERS: G Rogers; S Conneely, G Peers, J McGuinness, R Gaynor (J Henderson 90); D Ventre, D Cawley; R Cretaro (P Millien 77), J Ndo, R Boco; D North.
REFEREE: T Skjerven (Norway).
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