Lilywhites Lose To Qarabag
Dundalk’s UEFA Champions League journey came to an end on Wednesday evening as they were defeated 3-0 by Qarabag FK at the Dalga Arena.
A brace from Jaime Romero was added to by Ailton to see the Azerbaijani champions go through 4-1 on aggregate.
Qarabag almost got off to the ideal start inside 30 seconds when Emrelli found himself through on goal however Gary Rogers brilliantly tipped the ball around the post.
Mammadov had a header from the resulting corner flash just inches wide as he got up over Rogers before Romero fired from distance but it cleared the crossbar.
Dundalk did manage to break the hosts pressure and forced a series of three corners with the final one from Michael Duffy finding Sean Hoare but his header didn’t have the power to trouble Vagner.
Ozobic’s corner was on to the head of Michel then who hit the bar with Rogers beaten all ends to bring a close to a fairly frenetic opening 10 minutes.
Qarabag would get the goal that their opening deserved when Zoubir found Romero and he got inside Dane Massey to excellently finish past the despairing dive of Rogers.
Emrelli had a chance to make it 2-0 when he fired from the edge of the area but it was just outside the left hand post.
Richard Almeida had a shot from the edge of the area on the half hour mark and the game settled down as we moved to half-time.
Dundalk began to see more of the ball and looked comfortable in Qarabag’s half. McEleney had a half chance with a strike from distance but he fired well over.
The half finished with Dundalk pressing more but it was 1-0 to Qarabag at the break.
Substitute Quintana had the first effort after the re-start however his shot was deflected wide of the target.
Qarabag had an even better opportunity to get their second when a Lilywhite attack broke down and they were through on goal.
Emerelli forced a brilliant save from Rogers as he denied the striker and from the loose ball, Zoubir looked for all the world that he would finish it to the net however Daniel Cleary brilliantly recovered to deny him.
Ailton was next with the chance and his header was excellently tipped over by Rogers to prevent the goal and Michel shortly had another header however it went well wide.
Dundalk had their best effort of the night with just under 25 minutes left on the watch.
A good passage of play finished with Sean Gannon showing his pace and his cross was flicked towards goal which had Vagner scrambling but he saved at the vital moment.
The Azerbaijaini champions would net their second though with 77 minutes on the watch when Medvedev found space on the right and his superb cross to the back post was headed home by Ailton.
Quintana nearly made it 3-0 when he fired towards goal from distance but it was somehow blocked on the line.
There was no mistake when Romero got his second of the night when Zoubir found him on the edge of the area and he finished to the net.
Almeida was next to try but Rogers produced an excellent stop to keep it out.
That was the final action of note as Qarabag went through.
The Lilywhites now transfer to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round to take on Slovan Bratislava for a place in the playoff.
QARABAG FK: Vagner; Maksim Medvedev ( Abbas Hulseynov 83), Rashad Sadygov (capt), Rahil Mamadov, Ailton; Michel (Simeon Slavchev 74), Richard Almeida; Jaime Romero, Filip Ozobic (Dani Quintana 25), Abdellah Zoubir; Mahir Emrelli.
Substitutes not used: Shakhrudin Magomedallyev (GK), Gara Garayev, Araz, Adbullayev, Magaye Gueye,
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Sean Hoare (Sean Murray 56); Jamie McGrath, Patrick McEleney (John Mountney 65), Michael Duffy (Daniel Kelly 79); Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey; Brian Gartland, Georgie Kelly, Dean Jarvis.
Sent off: None
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)