Dundalk 2-1 Levadia Tallinn
Dundalk secured a hard fought win over FCI Levadia Tallinn in Oriel Park on Thursday night in Oriel Park.
Magnificent goals from Patrick Hoban and Michael Duffy gave Dundalk a 2-0 lead before Roman Debelko pulled one back just before the break. Dundalk produced a disciplined second half performance to win 3-1 on aggregate.
Levadia had the first opening of the game when Yuriy Tkachuk fired at goal however he pulled it wide.
Hoban responded with an effort of his own but he also failed to find the target before he rose highest to meet Benson’s cross however his header came crashing off the crossbar.
The lead goal came on the half hour mark. A clever run by Dylan Connolly created space for Sean Gannon to cross for Hoban and the striker guided his header expertly to the bottom left hand corner to net his 22nd goal of the campaign.
It was 2-0 moments later when Jamie McGrath’s superb looping cross to the back post found Duffy. He unleashed what was quite simply a stunning strike on the volley from an impossible angle to find the net past the despairing Sergei Lepmets to put the Lilywhites 3-0 up on aggregate.
That sprung the visitors into life and Marcellin Gando looked like he had pulled one back when he headed past Rogers however he was deemed to have been in an offside position.
They would get their goal when Debelko waltzed through the defence and fired low past Rogers to make it 2-1 at the break.
The second half was a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to keep hold of possession initially.
Krisztián Adorján had a shot well saved by Lepmets from close range while at the other end Nikita Andreev fired wide from just outside the box when space opened up for him.
Svaka then got a shot away but Rogers was equal to it and Tkachuk had a shot blocked by a combination of Hoare and Gartland as the game approached the final 20 minutes.
Andreev then looped a header over the bar when he found himself free inside the box before Benson should have added the third goal for Dundalk when he got in a great position to convert Hoban’s cross however he couldn’t connect and the ball went wide.
That proved to be the final action of note as Dundalk advance to the next stage to face Cypriot outfit AEK Larnaca over two legs.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Dylan Connolly (Krisztian Adorjan 62), Chris Shields, Robbie Benson, Michael Duffy (Karolis Chvedukas 83); Jamie McGrath, Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 90+2).
Levadia Tallinn: Sergei Lepmets; Markus Jurgenson (Rasmus Peetson), Igor Dudarev, Maksim Podholjuzin, Dmitri Kruglov; Marcellin Gando (Mark Oliver Roosnupp), Yuriy Tkachuk, Muamer Svraka, Jevgeni Harin (Krill Nesterov); Roman Debelko, Nikita Andreev.
Referee: Adrien Jaccottet (Switzerland).