CSG Grevenmacher 3-3 Dundalk: Europa League
Dundalk returned to European action in Luxembourg City tonight against CS Grevenbacher. Ian Foster called up Nathan Murphy to left back with Wayne Hatswell moving into the centre of defence alongside Garry Breen. Matt Gregg continued to deputise in goal for the injured Peter Cherrie.
The hosts kept possession well in the opening minutes of the match.After five minutes Sahir shot high and wide from 10 yards. Within seconds Dundalk forced their first chance of the match when Kuduzovic shot shot wide from a narrow angle. Gabriel Gaspar had Matt Gregg backpeddling in the 14th minute when his mis-directed cross went wide of his back post.
Marc Thome, CSG manager, was becoming very upset with the sloppy passing of his team when Dundalk nearly grabbed the lead after 12 minutes. Faz gained possession 20 yards out from goal and his powerful effort went a yard over the bar. Shortly afterwards there was a nervous moment in the Dundalk goalmouth when a cross into the box almost reached Adrien Baur but Gregg cut out the danger.
Sahir Lovadj almost gave CSG the lead after 16 minutes when his superbly struck swerving effort from 25 yards went inches over the bar. Faz had an opportunity to get a shot out goal but delayed long enough to allow a defender to clear.
Both teams were having trouble in the heat and during an injury break both sides went to the sideline for water. After 21 minutes SCG won a free kick on the left which caused chaos in the Dundalk box before the ball broke to Lovadj on the edge of the area. His shot was heading goalwards before a deflection took the ball wide.
After 25 minutes came the moment to send the Dundalk fans into raptures. Faz gained possession at the edge of the box and struck a perfecly placed low shot past Plehling in the SCG just inside his left hand post. It was a beautifully controlled shot and typical of Faz in his recent form.
The match became scrappy after the goal with neither side creating a worthwhile shot until the 36th minute when Baur forced Gregg into an excellent save with a curling effort from 25 yards. Dundalk should have gone further in front in the 39th minute when Neale Fenn produced some magic to send Faz through on goal. Unfortunately Faz’s effort was well saved by the advancing goalkeeper. Ross Gaynor then picked up the loose ball on the left and struck a fierce drive across the face of Pleihling’s goal.
Dundalk switched off slightly in the closing minutes of the half and had a very lucky escape after 43 minutes. The impressive Baur split the defence wide open and laid the ball off for Sabastian Hartung to strike the post with a low shot with Gregg well beaten.
CSG started the second half brightly by forcing a corner within the first minute. After 49 minutes Christian Muller advanced deep into Dundalk territory but the German shot well over the bar. However, the early CSG pressure was nullified when Dundalk forced a corner in the 49th minute. Ross Gaynor’s delivery was perfect for Wayne Hatswell to rise high to power home a header from 6 yards.
Wayne Hatswell picked up a yello car for a foul on the edge of the box when he was adjudged to have dragge down Baur. CSG played a well worked set piece that ended with Matt Gregg being happy to pick the ball up after Baur failed to get a decisive touch.
Nathan Murphy was forced off due to injury after 61 minutes. With the referee not allowing the substitution of Ciaran McGuigan as a replacement Matt Gregg was forced into a stunning save from a close range header. However, from the resulting corner Tim Heinz found himself free in the six yard box to head powerfully past Gregg.
CSG raised their game and Dundalk were on the back foot. After 68 minutes Baur was played clean through but his first time shot was well over the bar. Dundalk retreated deep into their own half rarely getting into CSG territory. Disaster was to occur in the 73rd minute when Gabriel Gaspar equalised. Soon afterwards, it got worse. A tremendous long range drive from Almeida Da Silva beat Matt Gregg.
Michael McGowan replaced Ross Gaynor in the 78th minute and was unlucky with a low shot that was blocked en route to goal. However, in the 79th minute a corner was headed goalwards. It looked a simple clearance but the CSG defender sliced it horribly. The ball rebounded off another CSG player and ended up in the net possibly with the aid of a Garry Breen touch. However, poor Garry may need to concede that it was own goal from Benichou.
Both sides looked like they could score as the game entered the last five minutes. Dundalk came close in the 88th minute when Fenn set up McGowan with a perfect through ball. McGowan elected to pass to Faz but his effort was cleared. Dundalk finished the game the stronger of the two teams. After a few moments of injury time the referee brought this crazy game to a conclusion. The Dundalk fans gave their team a warm ovation at the end of the game. Roll on the 2nd leg!