Monday 19 March 2018

Foster eyes Oriel goal-fest

Gavin McLaughlin

Dundalk manager Ian Foster is confident that his side have enough ability in their ranks to see off the challenge of CS Grevenmacher in the Europa League first qualifying round second leg at Oriel Park next week.

The Lilywhites, playing their first European tie since 2002, managed to secure three away goals in the first leg tie at the Stade Josey Barthel on Thursday and, even though his side had a two-goal lead wiped out, Foster was extremely happy with his side's performance in testing conditions.

"We are disappointed to concede the three goals, particularly losing the last two as quick as we did but we bounced back and got the equaliser and now they have to come to Oriel Park and score," he said.

"I don't think people understand how difficult it was for the players out there. We're certainly not used to playing in heat like that. We did tire. We are fit, and you can argue that it was their first competitive game but when you are used to playing in heat like that then it will benefit you.

"We threatened them in the first half and had a couple of great chances but the lads were dying at half-time. We had to keep an eye on them: Nathan Murphy was close to coming off with the heat and then ironically he comes off soon after with ligament damage to his ankle."

Goals from Fahrudin Kuduzovic and Wayne Hatswell looked to have given Dundalk the upper hand but the tie was turned upside-down when Grevenmacher took advantage of a tiring visitors to hit three goals in 12 minutes. At that stage it it looked like the orange shirts would take a lead to Ireland for the second leg but a comical own goal by Khalid Benichou 11 minutes from time secured Dundalk a well-earned draw that puts them in the driving seat for Thursday's clash.

"I think we can get at them," said Foster. "They put the ball at risk at the back and they give you a chance. Their front players were very lively. The boy (Sebastian) Hartung in midfield really impressed me and he sprayed the ball about.

"They will be a threat to us but, if we are it, I can see us getting goals against them. If somebody had said we would get three away goals before we left for Luxembourg I'd have been delighted."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport