Beattie seals deal as slicker City see off 10-man Levadia
FC Levadia Tallinn 0 Cork City 2
Cork City secured a valuable away win in Estonia as they kicked off their European odyssey in stirring fashion yesterday.
This Europa League first qualifying round first leg's turning point arrived just before the half-time mark, as Tabi Manga saw red for a second yellow before Garry Buckley smashed home a low drive from the resulting free-kick.
Josip Krznaric's effort forced Mark McNulty into a sublime stop 15 minutes from time; but that the hosts' best chance of few, as Steven Beattie added a vital second with a sumptuous effort with the outside of the right boot minutes from time.
"We're really happy, first half we played really well, conditions are difficult when you're playing on an open ground with a running track, and the pitch itself was hard; we felt in the first half that we needed to score," said Cork boss John Caulfield.
"To score just before half-time was really pleasing, and we identified that Tabi (Manga) their centre-back is ill-disciplined and that Seanie (Maguire) could cause him trouble because we knew he likes to dive in for the ball.
"I didn't think we played as well as we could have in the second, the intensity dropped and like in the Derry match, we ran out of legs."
Buckley probably should have opened the scoring halfway through the first half, his follow-up from a spilled Stephen Dooley shot smothered by a shaky Sergei Lempets, who did well to tip over Maguire's looping header from Dooley's deep corner.
The league's top scorer was well guarded by the hosts, but in a rare moment he turned away from two green bodies, and after a powerful run forced Manga into committing to a tackle, a second card inevitable in preventing the Kilkenny native from getting through on goal.
Levadia manager Igor Prins was not so certain about the red, saying that referee Jorgen Burchardt's performance would be up for debate.
City are in a strong position, however, and with Alan Bennett set to return for the home tie, the Leesiders have foot already in the next round.
FC Levadia - S Lempets; I Dudarev, T Manga, M Podholijuzin, M Gando; J Krznaric, M Roosnupp (A Artjunin 45+1); P Marin (N Andreev 72), J Morelli, E Kobzar (I Teever 88); R Hunt.
Cork City - M McNulty; J Keohane, C McCormack, R Delaney, K O'Connor; G Bolger, G Buckley (A Campion 74), G Morrissey; K Sheppard (S Beattie 67), S Maguire, S Dooley (S Griffin 80).
Ref - J Burchardt (Den)