Dundalk and Levadia Tallinn played out a 2-2 thriller on Thursday at Tallaght Stadium in the second qualifying round first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
A brace from Bogdan Vastuk was cancelled out first by Will Patching and then David McMillan as both sides played out a rollercoaster match.
It was a frantic start with two goals inside the first 75 seconds.
The first went to the visitors who found space on the left with Ernest Agyiri out wide and his cross finding Bogdan Vastuk who finished expertly passed Alessio Abibi.
It wouldn’t be long though until the sides were level when Daniel Kelly found space on the right and he pulled it back brilliantly for Will Patching who fired brilliantly to the net.
Agyiri then had a chance to make it 2-1 when he fired in off the left but Abibi did well to get his fingertips to it.
The match did settle down somewhat after that with both sides having a period of possession.
David McMillan had his first effort of the night blocked down from 20 yards while at the other end it would be 2-1 just before the 20 minute mark.
Vastuk would be the one to find the net again when he got in behind and impressively lifted the ball over the on rushing Abibi.
McMillan had a chance to equalise when he got his head to Jurkovskis’ cross however it was easily gathered by the goalkeeper.
The goalkeeper, Vallner, did make a mistake for a cross and that allowed Darragh Leahy to play the ball back across goal however Kelly couldn’t direct his header on target with the goal at his mercy.
The Lilywhites would get the equaliser when Jurkovskis’ clever low cross picked out McMillan and this time he made no mistake to make it 2-2 bagging his 13th European goal in the process.
The Lilywhites had most of the ball for the remainder of the half but didn’t create an awful lot with McMillan again having the best chance to make it three but his header was deflected over the bar.
The second half began with Levadia on the front foot and Beglarishvilli forced a good save from Abibi after a low drive and Jurkovskis showed his defensive prowess to intercept at the last minute to deny Agyiri.
McMillan then had a free header from Patching’s corner which would have put us ahead for the first time in the tie however he appeared to have been pushed as he got his head to it and the ball went wide.
Substitute Greg Sloggett whipped a vicious shot towards goal however he got too much bend on it and it didn’t threaten the Levadia goal.
Sean Murray had a header from the brilliant Jurkovskis flash inches wide of the post as Dundalk searched for a later lead goal.
The lead goal almost came in the final minute of ordinary time when we saw some classic Patrick McEleney. He danced past 6 Levadia players and created the opening before shooting and forcing an outstanding save from Vallner.
That proved to be the final action and we head to Estonia next week with the tie evenly poised.
DUNDALK: Alessio Abibi; Raivis Jurkovskis, Andy Boyle, Sonni Nattestad, Darragh Leahy; Will Patching, Wilfried Zahibo (Greg Sloggett 58), Sam Stanton (Sean Murray 75); Daniel Kelly, David McMillan (Ole Erik Midtskogen 86), Patrick McEleney. Subs not used: Peter Cherrie (GK), Niall Brady (GK), Cameron Dummigan, Val Adedokun, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Han Jeongwoo.
LEVADIA TALLINN: Karl Andre Vallner; Ilja Antonov (Trevor Elhi 56), Max Ugge, Maksim Podholjuzin, Milijan Illic (Rasmus Peetson 46); Brent Lepistu; Frank Liivak (Karl Rudolf Oigus 78), Marko Putincanin, Bogdan Vaststuk, Ernest Agyiri (Mark Oliver Roosnupp 67); Zakaria Beglarishvilli (Robert Kirss 67). Subs not used: Artur Kotenko, Milan Mitrovic, Luka Lukovic, Markus Jurgenson, Amar Yunis Abdallah, Hannes Anier