No complaints from Cook as Sligo beaten by 'better team all over the pitch'
(Vorskla win 2-0 on aggregate)
Sligo Rovers boss Paul Cook had no complaints after his side exited Europe at the hands of a stylish Vorskla Poltava at the Showgrounds last night.
Hopes were high that the Bit O' Red could get through to the play-offs after they earned a superb draw in eastern Ukraine last week, but ultimately two first-half goals in the space of a minute put an end to Rovers' European ambitions.
"We were beaten by a better team all over the pitch," said Cook. Technically they were very good and very fit and we can have no com-plaints. We are all doing our best in Irish football to aspire to better levels in Europe and to do well, but we still have a long way to go."
The visitors started brightly in front of the crowd of almost 3,500, and took the lead after just 16 minutes. They created it from deep inside their own half as the excellent Ahmed Dallku worked the ball to Vasylj Sachko via Oleg Krasnoperov and Jovan Markoski.
Sachko held onto possession inside the area before slipping the ball into the path of the on-rushing Serhiy Zakarlyuka, who squeezed it low into the net from a tight angle.
Rovers' four-game run without conceding at home had come to an end and before they had a chance to come to terms with that blow, they had conceded a second.
This time the goal came from the left, with Ivan Krivosheenko just doing enough to hold off the challenge of Conor Powell, and firing a low cross into the area for Pavel Rebenok to finish.
Stung, Rovers enjoyed a decent spell before the break, but their frustrations increased when Serhiy Dolhanskiy fumbled Raffaele Cretaro's header in front of his posts after a Joseph Ndo free-kick, but Bosnian referee Emir Aleckovic awarded a free-kick when Gavin Peers and Aaron Greene tried to pounce on the loose ball.
Rovers best chance of the game came in the second half from another Ndo set-piece, with Jason McGuinness directing a header straight at a relieved Dolhanskiy.
But the visitors could have had a couple more goals on the counter-attack in the second period. Sachko rocketed a shot off the crossbar from close range after some great work by the excellent Dallku, while Markoski also clipped the crossbar from a late free-kick, and missed the target when one-on-one with Brendan Clarke after a superb through-ball from substitute Roman Bezus.
Sligo Rovers -- Clarke, Ventre, McGuinness, Peers, Powell, Cretaro (Dillon 69), Ryan, Ndo, Kirby, Greene (Doyle 53), Blinkhorn (Russell 69).
Vorskla -- Dolhanskiy, Dallku, Kurylov, Chesnakov, Selin, Krivosheenko, Markoski, Zakarlyuka (Oberemko h-t), Krasnoperov (Asipenka 80), Rebenok, Sachko (Bezus 68).
REF -- E Aleckovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)