Dundalk squander lead as Europ...


Dundalk squander lead as Europa League group opens with defeat

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Dundalk were reminded of the harsh realities of European football as they opened their Europa League group campaign with defeat to Molde. 

Sean Murray's flying header put the Lilywhites in front ten-minutes before the break at Tallaght Stadium.

But an Etzaz Hussain volley drew the Norwegian champions level, before a Ohi Omoijuanfo penalty sealed a 2-1 win for the visitors.

Dundalk midfielder Chris Shields had said on Wednesday that their aim for Group B was potentially matching the 4-points they'd achieved at the same stage in 2016.

After the first 45-minutes in Tallaght that looked more than achievable.

Midway through the half, Michael Duffy found space on the left flank, managing to whip a cross into the danger area. It eventually fell to Pat Hoban who swept home. But the referee chalked the goal off for an over-zealous shrugging off of his marker by the Dundalk striker.

It didn't take much longer for Filippo Giovagnoli's side to break the deadlock. John Mountenay's break down the right saw him cross for Sean Murray to head past Andreas Linde.

But the goal sparked life into Molde, who were causing Dundalk myriad problems after the break.

Just after the hour mark, Marcus Pedersen sped down the right and sent an inviting ball into the centre for Hussain to volley past Gary Rogers via a nick off Sean Gannon.

Gannon's night got worse just nine minutes later, when he was adjudged to have fouled in the box and Omoijuanfo converted the spot kick.

After the game, Giovagnoli - banished to the stand due to his lacking badges - blamed himself for not making substitutions earlier in the game.

Next up in their hectic schedule is a game with Waterford that could secure European football, before next Thursday's visit to the Emirates and Arsenal.

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Arsenal Dundalk Europa League Filippo Giovagnoli Gary Rogers Molde Pat Hoban Sean Murray UEFA Europa League

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