Irish Independent football journalist Dan McDonnell joined Off the Ball to talk about the upcoming Dundalk FC vs AEK Larnaca Europa League second leg game and reckons Dundalk will have a tough time getting back into the game if they find themselves a goal behind as Larnaca are a “heavily Spanish influenced club” and will have no problem managing the game and keeping the ball.
“Larnaca are a heavily Spanish influenced club. Their manager Andoni Iraola is 36. It's his first job. He was actually involved playing Spanish national team sort of sporadically between 07 and 2011 but just didn't quite make the major tournaments but he was on the premises.”
“Six of their starting XI last week where Spanish, more the same here. They're signing guys from sort of Spanish Second Division or even La Liga or guys who are coming towards the end of there career who played in La Liga in their prime.”
“There's like a Macedonian international who scored against Ireland in the Aviva a few years back, [and] there's a Brazilian fella, Dutch fella. But really they're a Spanish team in terms of their style and their management in terms of how they can manage the game and keep the ball.”
“They're obviously a lower grade of Spanish team to the elite performers but they have a good pedigree, they know how to manage the game and that's why when they get ahead, they're very dangerous and if Dundalk go behind they'll find a team that's well able to close things down. It is rather more like some low level Spanish team.”
The second leg kicks-off tomorrow at [4.30pm Irish time] at the AEK Arena.
Dundalk will most likely need at least one away goal to have a chance of progressing following the 0-0 first leg stalemate a Oriel Park.