Derry City claim famous win in Minsk but fail to advance from Europa League qualifier
Dinamo Minsk 1 Derry City 2 (Dinamo Minsk advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Goals from Ally Roy and Ronan Hale enabled Derry City to claim a famous European win in Belarus, but Dinamo Minsk survived the scare to advance.
Derry went ahead after only seven minutes with a goal out of nothing. Aaron McEneff played Ally in with a superb through ball and the Scot showed great composure as he placed the ball past Sergei Ignatovich.
The goal gave Derry great heart, and with Minsk, with five changes from the first leg, struggling to raise themselves, they almost grabbed a second goal on 15 minutes, Roy forcing Ignatovich into a good save at his near post, with the Minsk goalkeeper doing well to turn the ball past the post for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Derry came close again as McEneff’s corner found two players in green unmarked and it was Darren Cole who got his head to the ball, only for Ignatovich to save again.
But crucially, the hosts got back into the game, as they equalised with their first effort on target 27 minutes in to regain control of the tie. Not for the first time this season, Derry were caught out from a free kick as Saroka’s free kick caused a scramble in the penalty area and the ball fell kindly for Aleksandr Sachivko, who swept home the equaliser from close range.
The onus was on Derry who needed two goals in the second half, and after substitute Ronan Hale shot over, the visitors again stunned the Minsk crowd by taking the lead with just 15 minutes remaining. Aaron Splaine’s forward ball put Roy into the Minsk area and he showed great composure to wait for the run of Hale, and pick him out with a pass and Hale did the rest, firing the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
That left Derry with 15 minutes to get the goal which would take them through but they were almost caught on the counter attack when Minsk broke three-on-one and Nikolic again went for goal, but again Doherty was equal to it as he pushed it wide for a corner.
The City captain was keeping his team’s hopes alive as he then pulled off an incredible save to deny Khvaschinski, whose back post header looked to beyond the goalkeeper.
Khvaschinski came even closer in added time when he was sent clear and rounded the goalkeeper but this time Darren Cole came to Derry’s rescue by clearing the ball off the line.