Sport Soccer

Thursday 14 December 2017

Mahon's charges exit Euro stage with awhimper


(Karpaty win 5-1 on aggregate)

AFTER the disputes, the discord and the drama -- the match that finally took place at the Tallaght Stadium last night ended up being the dampest of squibs.

Forty-eight hours after the place rocked with Shamrock Rovers fans chasing a Champions League dream, the shell-shocked St Pat's supporters were in no such form ahead of their seemingly inevitable Europa League exit.

Whatever Karpaty Lviv knew of the bitterness surrounding their opponents' preparation, the Ukrainian team were always clear favourites and they lived up to their tag with a commanding dismissal of the Saints, who exited the Europa League with a whimper thanks to three classy goals that augmented the two they got in the first leg.

Karpaty, who played in last season's group stages, looked a class above the Saints from the off and could have been in front within two minutes but for Brian Shortall's last-ditch lunge that denied Spanish frontman Lucas.

The former Rayo Vallecano man was looking threatening and fired a low shot just wide of Gary Rogers' post, before cutting in from the far wing and repeating the trick with another low effort that fizzed just wide.

Pat's were struggling for a foothold against their technically gifted opponents and they suffered a double hammer blow midway through the half when skipper Stephen Bradley took a knock that would end his evening and they conceded the killer away goal.

The midfielder opted to try and run off the injury he sustained in a nasty clash with Sergei Zenjov, but as Karpaty moved the ball up the pitch he pulled up and went down, just before the crafty attacker got on the end of a neat passing move and curled a rising effort past Rogers.

The captain was replaced with Ian Daly, but the more attacking player was coming into an already lost cause, and for the remainder of the half, the Ukrainians were content to keep the ball.

They got a slight scare just before the break as the Saints finally fashioned a chance from Derek Pender's deep free kick, but David McMillan couldn't get enough on brother Evan's knockdown and Andriy Tlumak gathered comfortably.

The Saints were given some hope early in the second half as Daly skilfully beat his man and Shortall's touch on his low cross fell to Evan McMillan, who scrambled home the equaliser.

But the Karpaty struck back within minutes through Ukrainian international Igor Khudobyak, who sent an unstoppable curler past Rogers and into the top corner after another slick build-up.

And the visitors capped a commanding display with Andriy Tkachuk's initial effort cleared off the line by Pender, only for Igor Oshchypko to follow in and finish.

ST PATRICK'S ATH -- Rogers; Bermingham, Shortall, E McMillan (Kenna 69), Bermingham; Kavanagh, Mulcahy, Bradley (Daly 23), McFaul, Doyle (North 61); D McMillan.

KARPATY LVIV -- Tiumak; Fedetskiy, Gomez, Milosevic, Oshchypko; Kopolovets (Voronkov 55), Tkachuk, Martynyuk, Khudobyak; Zenjov (Pacheco 68); Lucas (Cristobal 76).

REF-- OA Hategan (Romania).

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