Dundalk beat Riga on penalties...

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Dundalk beat Riga on penalties to progress in the Champions League


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Sean Hoare and Gary Rogers were the Dundalk heroes as they sealed progress in the Champions League.

The Lilywhites beat Riga FC 5-4 on penalties in the Latvian capital after 210-minutes of football between the sides over two legs failed to produce a goal.

Hoare struck the winning penalty in sudden death after Rogers saved from Armands Petersons to secure a second qualifying round meeting with the champions of Azerbaijan, Qarabag.

Dundalk will feel the win is more than justified, having created the majority of the chances and set local nerves jangling on more than one occasion. Patrick McElaney went close in normal time, while a long-range drive from Sean Murray flashed just wide of Roberts Ozols right-hand upright in the second period of extra-time.

Pat Hoban actually managed to find the net, but his header from a Chris Shields ball on 63-minutes was ruled out for offside.

Dundalk appeared to lack the incisiveness ordinarily offered by Michael Duffy, but he was unable to play with his partner giving birth back home.

Riga ended the game with ten men after Herdi Prenga was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Dane Massey 9-minutes from the end of extra-time.

With neither side able to find a breakthrough, it was to penalties the sides went. Despite a questionable penalty spot that appeared little more than a replaced divot, the first six spot kicks all passed off without incident.

Hoban, Murray and Dean Jarvis all found the net for Dundalk, after Debelko, Saric and Gabovs had all done the same for the hosts.

Then up stepped Riga's Brazilian midfielder Felipe Brisola whose prayer to the heavens and tapping down of the penalty spot did nothing to aid his cause, as his penalty found the carpark behind the goal. Dean Massey was unable to capitalise with his penalty saved by Ozols.

Nerves began to take a grip on both sides with Stefan Panic seeing his effort saved by Rogers, before Georgie Kelly had a weak effort saved by Ozols.

Deniss Rakels and Jamie McGrath both found the net to make it 4-4 in sudden death, before more Rogers heroics and that decisive goal from Hoare.

Next up for Dundalk is that meeting with Qarabag. The Azerbaijani champions were 2-0 winners over Partizani of Albania tonight to complete a 2-0 aggregate win.

Qarabag have decent European pedigree in recent years, making the group stages in 2017 and holding Atletico Madrid to draws at home and away.

The first leg will be played at Oriel Park, with the second in Azerbaijan a week later.


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Dundalk Gary Rogers Patrick McElaney Qarabag Riga Sean Hoare UEFA Champions League

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