UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying Rnd 2nd leg
FK Ekranas 2 Shamrock Rovers 1 (2-1 on agg)
SHAMROCK ROVERS' 2011 European adventure won't see a repeat after they lost at the first attempt in Lithuania.
Goals from Marko Andelkovic and Zilvinas Kymantas did the damage at the Aukstaitijos Stadium in Panevezys as a far from accomplished Ekranas simply had too much for Rovers.
A stoppage time penalty from Gary McCabe gave Rovers belated hope. However, truth be told, but for Oscar Jansson, who made a string of top saves, it would have been more as Rovers' season continued its decline.
Having lost the support of many fans, manager Stephen Kenny is now under increasing pressure as the 200 or so at the game once again chanted for his removal.
Kenny said afterwards that he fully understand fans' growing frustration with the Hoops' poor season to date.
"I can understand the frustrations of the fans," said Kenny
"It's a fans driven club and much has been invested in it. They have been used to success in last two seasons.
"I can understand their frustrations. That's part of life, when people put so much time and emotion into things and they can get frustrated when they don't go well. I'm not naĆÆve enough to suggest I can't understand it
"The reality is even though results haven't gone well lately, we're still in three competitions. If we win on Friday we will narrow the deficit on Sligo to seven points and we've to play them twice.
"The first goal was always going to be important. If we'd got it they would have had to score twice.
"To lose a goal before half time a blow. But we didn't' pass the ball well enough. Our passing was erratic and we made some mistake. Ekranas then scored from their first shot in second half."
Encouraged by their 0-0 draw at Tallaght Stadium, Ekranas started much the better and should have been ahead on 21 minutes.
A brilliant diagonal ball from Yani Urdinov caught out Rovers' left-back Conor Powell to put Vytautas Luksa in on goal. Jansson's positioning was excellent as he was off his line promptly to make a vital stop.
Rovers slowly worked their way into the game, enjoying some decent possession, though without seriously threatening the Ekranas goal.
And then, just went they looked their most comfortable in the match, Rovers conceded a dreadful goal from virtually the last kick of the first half.
Giedrius Tomkevicius initially won a free kick in a tussle with Billy Dennehy on the right. The ball was played into the area and back to Tomkevicius whose cross was met by the negligently marked Andelkovic with a glancing header to the net.
Rovers now had to score and they came out with the right attitude, getting at Ekranas from the resumption.
McCabe's superb cross deserved far better three minutes in than for Dennehy to completely miss it dead in front of goal.
Ekranas were happy to let Rovers have the ball and hit them on the counter. And it should have brought them a second goal on 54 minutes.
Urdnov put Aurimas Vertelis away on the left to cross for Kymantas who, thankfully for Rovers, shot tamely at Jansson.
But Kymantas made no mistake to put the tie to bed on 63 minutes. Allowed to run past three defenders without a tackle going in, Kymantas then drilled a shot to the corner of the net from 20 yards.
It should have been 3-0 on 76 minutes. A sublime through ball from Aurimas Kucys put Luksa in behind the Rovers defence. Jansson made another terrific save to take the ball of the midfielder's feet.
But for Jansson it could have been an embarrassment as the young Swede made further excellent saves to deprive Vytautas Luksa, substitute Uchenna Umeh and Egidijus Varnas.
McCabe threw Rovers a late lifeline from a 92nd minute penalty following a handball by Vitalijus Kavaliauskas.
Craig Sives had a last gasp chance to give Rovers an undeserved passage two minutes later put couldn't get enough purchase on his header from McCabe's free kick and the ball flew wide.
FK EKRANAS: Zubas; Tomkevicius, Dedura, Samusiovas, Urdinov; Andelkovic (Girdvainis 87), Kucys; Luksa (Kavaliauskas 90), Varnas, Vertelis (Umeh 80); Kymantas.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Jansson; Sullivan, Sives, Oman, Powell; Rice (Kavanagh 63), Brennan (Turner 64); McCabe, Finn, Dennehy (Kilduff 78); Twigg.
REFEREE: S VinÄ¨iÄ‡ (Slovenia).
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