Monday 26 August 2019

Dundalk's European adventure comes to an end as ruthless Slovan Bratislava progress in Tallaght

Dundalk 1 Slovan Bratislava 3 (Slovan Bratislava win 4-1 on aggregate)

Patrick Hoban of Dundalk during the defeat to Slovan Bratislava. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Patrick Hoban of Dundalk during the defeat to Slovan Bratislava. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Dundalk will get back to the basics of trying to land a domestic treble after their European season ended in Tallaght Stadium tonight.

Slovan Bratislava, 3-1 winners on the night in Tallaght and 4-1 on aggregate, advance to the playoff round of the Europa League and a meeting with Greek side PAOK while for Dundalk, the focus is now on the defence of their league title and a meeting with Finn Harps on Friday.

And while it was a relief for Dundalk to score for only the second time in six European ties this season, Michael Duffy with that goal on 70 minutes, it was nowhere near enough as Dundalk were 2-0 down when Duffy found the net and Slovan had time to come back, after a fightback from Dundalk which included a missed penalty, and score again in added time.

Dundalk had started well, Jamie McGrath testing the away keeper early on but once Rafale Ratao headed Slovan into the lead on 12 minutes, it was almost impossible to see a way back into the tie for Dundalk, that task made even harder when Croatian Aleksandar Cavric pounced on slack defending and lobbed over Gary Rogers to make it 2-0 on 33 minutes, Dundalk unable to make their earlier chances count.

Half time substitutions added something to Dundalk and after close shaves from Patick Hoban and Sean Hoare, Dundalk nicked a goal back on 71 minutes with a shot from Derry native Duffy.

Dundalk still needed more and had a chance when referee Robert Schorgenhofer awarded a penalty for handball, but Hoban saw his spot kick saved by busy keeper Dominik Greif and in added time Slovan broke again, sub Erik Daniel with another blow to see Slovan easily through.

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