Monday 19 August 2019

Jordan Larsson does the damage as IFK Norrkoping end St Pat's' Europa League campaign

IFK Norrkoping 2 St Patrick's Athletic 1 (IFK Norrkoping win 4-1 on aggregate)

Dean Clarke of St Patrick's Athletic after the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between IFK Norrköping and St Patrick's Athletic at Norrköpings Idrottsparken in Norrkoping, Sweden. Photo by Peter Holgersson/Sportsfile
Dean Clarke of St Patrick's Athletic after the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between IFK Norrköping and St Patrick's Athletic at Norrköpings Idrottsparken in Norrkoping, Sweden. Photo by Peter Holgersson/Sportsfile

Stephen Bennett

ST PATRICK'S Athletic departed the Europa League after a battling performance against IFK Norrkoping in Sweden.

The Saints - two-nil down from last week's first qualifying round first leg - were up against it and arguably needed an early goal at the Ostgotaporten stadium to stand any chance of causing an upset.

Despite attempts on goal from Pats, courtesy of midfielder Conor Clifford in the ninth minute and striker Gary Shaw in the 34th minute, it was Norrkoping who took the lead on 36 minutes to put the tie out of the Inchicore side's reach.

Jordan Larsson, son of the legendary former Celtic and Barcelona star Henrik, pounced after the Pats rearguard was opened up, leaving the 22-year-old with a tap-in from close range.

Norrkoping had a chance to double their lead on 50 minutes when Christoffer Nyman was put through by Simon Thern but he blasted his shot over the bar under pressure from St Pat's defender Lee Desmond.

Larsson was next to waste a good opportunity in the 57th minute as he fired wide after good work again from Thern.

However, a minute later, Harry Kenny's men came agonisingly close to reducing the arrears when Ciaran Kelly's looping header and Desmond's follow-up shot were cleared.

The goal St Pat's so richly deserved came in the 71st minute, courtesy of an outstanding strike from Clifford.

A short corner was played out to the former Chelsea man who launched a stunning effort from the edge of the Norrkoping box that went in off the underside of the bar.

The Saints piled forward again and very nearly scored a second when substitute Dean Clarke's shot was deflected out for a corner after good interplay from fellow sub Darragh Markey and Kevin Toner.

However, Norrkoping survived that sustained period of Pats pressure and doubled their lead in the 85th minute when sub Kalle Holmberg played a neat one-two to chip goalkeeper Brendan Clarke.

The visitors had defender Kelly sent-off in the 90th minute for a challenge which earned him a second yellow card and a not-so-early shower.

IFK Norrkoping: Petterson, Dagerstal, Larsen, Lauritsen, Gerson, Fransson, Thorarinsson, Thern, Scrabb (Binaku 63 mins), Larsson, Nyman (Holmberg 73 mins).

St Patrick's Ath: B Clarke, Madden, Bermingham, Desmond, Toner, Kelly, Clifford, Lennon (McCabe 73 mins), Coleman (Markey 63 mins), Shaw (T Clarke, 52 mins), Drennan.

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