SLIGO ROVERS face an uphill task in Norway next Tuesday after they fell to a single goal defeat in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier with Molde FK.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side claimed the spoils thanks to a strike from Nigerian striker Daniel Chima Chukwu which punished the hosts for a sloppy first half performance.
He struck three minutes before the interval after causing problems for Sligo centre half pair Evan McMillan and Gavin Peers and curling a right footer into the bottom corner behind Gary Rogers.
While Dave McMillan did test Orjan Nyland with an earlier effort, the Sligo Rovers keeper was the busier of the netminders prior to that point and had already made fine saves from Chukwu and Aliou Coly before the opening goal although the clearest opportunity fell to Jo Inge Berget who fired wide when it appeared easier to score.
Ian Baraclough's charges were sloppy in possession and lacked conviction in the final third with general play riddled by basic errors.
But they lifted the performance levels after the interval with English winger Kieran Djilali providing some attacking impetus on the right flank. Regrettably, he missed their best chance to equalise with 10 minutes remaining, blasting over after a layoff from lone striker Anthony Elding. Molde regrouped to see out the remainder.
The League of Ireland champions will need to make history next Tuesday if they are to progress to the next stage. No Irish side has ever come from behind to win a European Cup/Champions League tie after losing the first leg at home.
Sligo Rovers: Rogers, Henderson [Keane 72],Peers, E McMillan, Davoren [Martin 78]; Ndo; D McMillan [Djilali 59], Lynch, Conneely, Gaynor; Elding
Molde FK: Nyland, Linnes, Toivio, Forren, Simonsen; Mostrom [Tripic 76], Berg Hestad, Ekpo, Chukwu; Coly [Agnaldo 62], Berget [Hovland 83]
Referee: Alexandre Boucaut [Belgium]