Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cork squeeze past Linfield in Europa League qualifying

Sean Maguire was Cork's hero
Sean Maguire was Cork's hero

Cork won their Europa League first qualifying-round clash with Linfield 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in Thursday's second leg.

The tie between teams from opposite sides of the Irish border was finely poised after Cork's Sean Maguire scored the only goal of the first leg with a penalty - and he repeated the dose four minutes after half-time in the second.

Mark Stafford quickly equalised on the night for the Northern Irish side but Cork held on to set up a second-round clash with Swedish side Hacken.

Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen made unconvincing progress after a 1-0 defeat by Fola Esch in Luxembourg.

Aberdeen will now face Latvian side Ventspils but were ultimately thankful for two injury-time goals at Pittodrie after Samir Hadji reduced their aggregate lead to 3-2 when the hosts exposed a shaky defence in the final minute of the first half.

Dons boss Derek McInnes said: "We didn't look as if we were ready and we will need to look at our preparation both mentally and physically."

Welsh side Connah's Quay Nomads earned an impressive 1-0 win over Stabaek in Norway as Callum Morris netted the only goal of the tie. They will face Vojvodina, with the first leg in Serbia on July 14.

Also through are Northern Ireland's Cliftonville, who beat Differdange 2-0 in their second leg with goals from David McDaid and Jay Donnelly. Cypriots AEK Larnaca await after Cliftonville's 3-1 aggregate win.

Shamrock Rovers drew 1-1 with RoPS in Finland but went out 3-1 on aggregate. Gary McCabe's penalty gave Rovers hope which was quickly snuffed out by Eetu Muinonen.

Llandudno, trailing 5-0 from their first leg against IFK Goteborg, salvaged some respectability as Danny Hughes netted a consolation goal in a 2-1 second-leg defeat.

Welsh side Bala Town suffered a second successive 2-0 defeat to Sweden's AIK Solna while Glenavon were thumped 6-0 at home by KR Reykjavik to lose 8-1 on aggregate.

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