Saturday 18 August 2018

Cork City facing an uphill task to overturn two-goal deficit in Norway next week

Cork City 0 Rosenborg 2

Shane Griffin and his Cork City team-mates following the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg match between Cork City and Rosenborg at Turners Cross in Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Shane Griffin and his Cork City team-mates following the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg match between Cork City and Rosenborg at Turners Cross in Cork. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Cork City have a mountain to climb in Norway next week after enduring a frustrating evening on Leeside.

John Caulfield's side will have to try and overturn a two goal deficit against an efficient Rosenborg side that stepped up when it mattered to take control of this Europa League third round qualifier.

Cork's hopes of an upset were looking forlorn by the interval with a first half brace from Rosenborg winger Jonathan Levi putting the Norwegian champions in control.

And they managed to withstand periods of pressure in a goalless second half to keep hold of that advantage.

City had started brightly and had given their guests some cause for concern before Levi darted away from Shane Griffin and drove a right footed shot between the legs of Mark McNulty.

The hosts responded by pushing for an equaliser with Karl Sheppard and Garry Buckley both finding space in Rosenborg territory that culminated with half chances.

Barry McNamee had also tested Andre Hansen before Levi's breakthrough effort.

But Rosenborg turned it on three minutes shy of the interval to show what they were capable of in the final third.

A quick interchange of passes between Marius Lundemo, skipper Mike Jensen and Levi was capped by a superb strike from the latter which left McNulty rooted to the spot.

Caulfield mixed it up at half-time by introducing Kieran Sadlier for McNamee and the substitute was prominent in the search for a goal that would make next Thursday's decider in Trondheim interesting.

His free kick effort forced a save from Hansen in a period where Cork were on top and they forced a series of corners and free kicks in dangerous positions.

But real incision was lacking. Rosenborg were smarter when it came to finding gaps and Jensen squandered a clearcut opportunity to completely wrap up the tie. Nicklas Bendtner also broke clear to curl another effort wide of the post.

Rosenborg could afford to waste chances. Cork, whose run of European games without a goal now extends to five, just didn't create enough.

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