Cork City's Europa League comeback falls shorts as Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn advance
Progres Niederkorn 1 Cork City 2 (Progres Niederkorn win 3-2 on aggregate)
Cork City's bid to progress to the second round of Europa League qualifying came up just short after a late goal from Progres Niederkorn ended their spirited comeback in Luxembourg.
The visitors made the ideal start with a goal from Garry Buckley inside three minutes as they looked to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit following a damaging defeat at home.
John Cotter’s young team were able to draw level in the tie at the Stade Municipal de Differdange last night before a late goal from the home side settled matters.
Cork made one change, with winger Daire O’Connor coming into midfield for the injured Dan Casey, but they also suffered a pre-match blow when attacker Mark O’Sullivan did not travel to the Grand Duchy as his wife is expecting the couple’s second child.
Buckley’s first-time volley flew high into the roof of the net from Karl Sheppard’s knock down to give the Leesiders hope early on. Buckley had a free deflected wide in City’s next attack before Sebastian Thill’s effort was straight at Mark McNulty.
Progres ‘keeper Sebastian Flauss denied Joel Coustrain a goal on 27 minutes with Sheppard driving the loose ball wide as the visitors sought parity.
Sheppard curled another cross just over before Daire O’Connor had a low shot saved as the first 45 ended.
But in the first minute of the second half Cork drew level at 2-2 on aggregate when O’Connor’s deep cross was met by Conor McCarthy, and his header ended up in the net via the far upright.
However, the home side clinched a 3-2 aggregate win when super sub Issa Bah netted with his first touch after 68 minutes, and sub Kevin O’Connor clipped an added time free kick just over as thee Leesiders bowed out of the competition.
PROGRES NIEDERKORN – Flauss; Marques, Skenderovic, Hall, Karayer; Vogel, Silaj, De Almeida; Muratovic (Bah 66), Thill (Ferino 90), Tekela (Florik 85).
CORK CITY – McNulty; Horgan, McCarthy, McLoughlin, Hurley; Morrissey, McCormack, Buckley; D O’Connor (Griffin 82), Coustrain (Casey 88), Sheppard (capt).
Ref – M De Gabriele (Malta).