Saturday 20 January 2018

Quick-fire double puts UCD on the front foot

UCD 2 Molde FK 1

Andrew O'Reilly of UCD in action against Henrik Jenset of Molde FK. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Andrew O'Reilly of UCD in action against Henrik Jenset of Molde FK. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Paul Buttner

Quick-fire strikes at the end of the first half from Luka Lovic and Sean McDonald sees UCD take a narrow lead to Norway in three weeks' time as they came from behind to win the first leg of their first-round tie in the UEFA Youth League at the UCD Bowl.

In difficult conditions of wind and rain, UCD's defence looked uncertain from a succession of early corners, the fourth of which brought Molde a 13th-minute lead. Simen Hagbo's delivery wasn't cleared and captain Leo Oestigaard stabbed home the loose ball.

Luka Lovic of UCD in action against Henrik Jenset of Molde FK. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Luka Lovic of UCD in action against Henrik Jenset of Molde FK. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Desperate defending was needed to keep Molde out eight minutes later. First, Luke Boore deflected Sivert Gussias's shot over the bar before Evan Farrell cleared off the line from Emil Breivik from the corner.

As Molde maintained their bright start, UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns made the save of the game on 35 minutes, reacting superbly to flick out Christian Dahl's shot from Hagbo's inviting cross.

But in a remarkable end to the half, UCD turned the game on its head.

They were level on 44 minutes when Molde goalkeeper Jonatan Byttingsvik parried a free-kick from Conor Crowley, gifting Lovic the rebound to blast home.

Sivert Gussiås of Molde FK in action against Sean Quinn of UCD. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Sivert Gussiås of Molde FK in action against Sean Quinn of UCD. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Straight from the kick-off the alert McDonald pounced on a stray pass to run through to drive a low shot past Byttingsvik.

With the wind at their backs, Molde enjoyed good possession from the restart with Emam Markovic and Hagbo working Kearns early on.

But the pace of McDonald and guile of Neil Farrugia meant UCD were always a threat on the break, and though Markovic and Gussias had chances, Molde never did enough to get the goal back.

UCD - Kearns; Farrell, Boore, Manley, Dignam; O'Reilly, Lovic; Quinn (Hannigan, 90+4), Crowley (Ryan, 74), Farrugia; McDonald (O'Keane, 89).

Sean Quinn of UCD in action against Eman Markovic of Molde FK. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Sean Quinn of UCD in action against Eman Markovic of Molde FK. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Molde FK - Byttingsvik; Mordal, Breivik, Oestigaard, Moe; T Svendsen, H Svendsen, Markovic, Hagbo; Gussias (Langset, 79), Dahl (Hestad, 74).

REF - Iwan Griffith (Wales).

Sean McDonald of UCD scores the second goal against Molde FK past defender Leo Oestigaard. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Sean McDonald of UCD scores the second goal against Molde FK past defender Leo Oestigaard. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

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