Shamrock Rovers 2-3 Mlada Boleslav
UEFA Europa League, 2nd Qualifying Round, 1st Leg
By Jamie Moore at Tallaght Stadium
Shamrock Rovers need to score at least two goals in the Czech Republic next week if they are to keep their Europa League hopes alive.
Two goals from Golgol Mebrahtu and one from Jan Chramosta were enough to see Mlada Boleslav to victory, despite Graham Burke’s double.
Boleslav had the first effort on target in the 14th minute and Shamrock Rovers’ Simon Madden did brilliantly to prevent a goal.
Ronan Finn has committed a silly foul on the edge of the box, which gave a chance to Mebrahtu, his curling effort was headed off the line by the quick-thinking Madden.
It was heading for the top corner.
Brandon Miele then produced Shamrock Rovers’ most exciting moment of the half in the 20th minute with a mazy dribble from the half-way line, it including a nut-meg that took him to the edge of the box, but his shot flew over the crossbar.
Having earlier cleared that effort off the line, Madden then nearly scored the luckiest goal of his career.
He tried to volley Ronan Finn’s pass into the box first time, but got his angles all wrong, the cross come shot nearly dropped under the crossbar and in.
Gary Shaw then gave Jakub Divis his first save of the evening.
Tomer Chencinski had to make his first proper save in the 33rd minute, holding Jakub Rada’s dipping free-kick quite easily.
The opening goal came courtesy of a devastating counter attack.
Petr Mares found Marek Matejovsky whose pass sent Tomas Prikryl up the line, and his inviting cross was brilliantly headed into the net by striker Mebrahtu in the 35th minute.
A crucial away goal and the first Rovers’ had conceded in their European campaign.
The equaliser game three minutes after half-time and it was worth every cent of the entrance fee.
Graham Burke scored an ABSOLUTE WORLDIE from Simon Madden’s throw.
He let the ball come across his body before smashing it into the top corner with his left-foot.
The video will go viral for sure.
It was his second Europa League goal, having scoring the only goal against Stjarnan last week.
Ryan Connolly’s stinging shot then tested Mlada goalkeeper Divis.
Stephen Bradley’s team needed to ensure they didn’t concede another away goal, but they were picked apart in the 63rd minute.
Jan Cheamosta’s cross after another tidy move found Mebrahtu and he couldn’t miss from inside the six yard box.
Rovers could have equalised again from a counter attack of their own in the 70th minute.
Captain Finn intercepted a loose pass from the back, but his powerful shot was tipped over by Divis.
Chencinski then made an excellent low save to tip Tomas Prikryl’s powerful low shot around the post.
Gray Shaw then tired to emulate Burke, but his shot was beaten away in the final minutes.
Sixty seconds later, it was 3-1.
Prikryl’s cross was glanced into the top corner by Chramosta in the 88th minute.
But Rovers weren’t done, and Burke score again to make it 3-2 in the last minute of added time. He smashed in after Mlada failed to clear.
Rovers will travel to the Czech Republic for the second leg next Thursday, they’ll need their shooting boots on if they’re to make the next round.
Shamrock Rovers – Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Roberto Lopes, Dave Webster, Luke Byrne; Ronan Finn, Ryan Connolly; Brandon Miele (Dave McAllister, 83), Graham Burke, Trevor Clarke; Gary Shaw.