Lilywhites Shoot Down Sheriff!
Dundalk booked their place in the Europa League playoff with a dramatic penalty shootout win over Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova!
Chris Shields scored the winning kick to send us through to play Ki of the Faroe Islands!
The hosts started the better without creating much but a snap shot from Mioc forced Gary Rogers to tip the ball around the post in the opening 7 minutes and that led to the opportunity for the opening goal.
Andriy Blyznychenko’s corner followed and it was powered to the net by Veaceslav Posmac unmarked at the near post.
Dundalk responded well and put some good passages together.
Michael Duffy had a shot blocked from the edge of the area while from a Sean Murray corner, Daniel Cleary did brilliantly to get his head to the ball despite his shirt being pulled but no penalty.
Chris Shields had a long range effort go wide before John Mountney got blatantly taken out with an elbow on the near touchline however the referee again didn’t notice.
The Lilywhites would get the equaliser that they deserved though when a super little Duffy cross met the rising Murray and he beat the goalkeeper to head the ball to the net on the stroke of half-time.
Duffy almost combined with Murray once more but the latter couldn’t get enough on the ball and shot was blocked.
The ball broke to John Mountney after a Murray free-kick was punched into his path however the Mayo man’s effort was easily gathered by Mikulic.
Dundalk did have the ball in the net with 20 minutes remaining when Greg Sloggett nodded the ball home after Hoban flicked on Duffy’s cross however the referee spotted a foul on the goalkeeper somewhere and ruled it out.
Dundalk pushed for a winner and wingers Duffy and Daniel Kelly had opportunities to get it.
Duffy first with a wonderful leap and a header but the ball was eventually cleared off the line and to safety.
Kelly on the other side linked up well with Sloggett but after some quick feet, his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Into extra-time we went and Kelly got to the byline and crossed for Hoban but he couldn’t connect properly and the goalkeeper gathered.
That was the only goalmouth action as both sides struggled to gain rhythm.
The second period only saw one chance with Petro shooting well wide from distance for Sheriff and at 1-1, the match went to penalties.
Obilor had his kick saved by Rogers and Chris Shields netted the winning kick to send us through to the playoff!!!
SHERIFF: Zvonimir Mikulic; Ousmane N’Diaye, Faith Obilor, Veaceslav Posmac (capt), Cristiano; Ionut Peteleu (Charles Petro 64), Benedik Mioc (Max Veloso 98), William Parra Sinisterra; Andry Blznychenko (Rifet Kapic 46), Frank Andersson Castaneda Velez, Dimitris Kolovos (Dabney Dos Santos 88).
Substitutes not used: Dumitru Celeadnic (GK), Sebastian Dahlstrom, Richard Gadze.
Booked: Posmac (38), Peteleu (61), Veloso (99)
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Darragh Leahy; Sean Murray (Patrick McEleney 72), Chris Shields (capt), Greg Sloggett; Sean Gannon (John Mountney 12) (Daniel Kelly 86), Patrick Hoban, Michael Duffy (Stefan Colovic 102).
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Will Patching, David McMillan.
Booked: Murray (69)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev