Thursday, 15 September 2011 19:00
Rovers go down in opening Europa League Group game...
Rovers (0) 0
[O'Donnell missed pen 63']
Rubin Kazan (1) 3
[Martins 3' Noboa 50' Karadeniz 60' - Valdez missed pen 35']
UEFA Europa League
Group A - Match Day 1
Thursday 15th September 2011 kick-off 6:00
Hoops Line out
16 Ryan Thompson
2 Pat Sullivan
3 Enda Stevens
4 Craig Sives
5 Dan Murray (c)
6 Steven Rice
8 Stephen O'Donnell
21 Ronan Finn
22 Conor McCormack
27 Rohan Ricketts
9 Gary Twigg
20 Billy Dennehy
for McCormack 56'
11 Ciaran Kilduff
for Finn 56'
18 Chris Turner
for Ricketts 62'
10 Karl Sheppard
1 Richard Brush
7 Gary McCabe
26 James Paterson
Ryan Thompson... brilliant penalty save
An historic night for Rovers and Irish football saw the Hoops go down to superior finishing from the visitors while both sides missed a penalty in an eventful opening Europa League Group A game. A soft early goal was disappointing but the Hoops put in a storming finish and deserved to score.
There was a buzz around Tallaght Stadium before the game and the atmosphere inside the stadium was fantastic but the Hoops made a lacklustre start and after only three minutes Karadeniz was allowed to cross low from the left and although Martins seemed to scuff his shot the ball went past Thompson and into the corner of the net as Rovers once again conceded an early goal.
It was a nervy opening to the game and Dan Murray’s misplaced pass was seized upon but Pat Sullivan cleared the danger. More hesitancy in the Hoops defence allowed Martins to poke the ball through fro Valdez but thankfully he fired his shot over the bar.
Rovers slowly began to settle into the game and Enda Stevens crossed into the visitors defence on 12 minutes but Twiggs knock-down was cleared. Rovers first real threat on goal on 16 minutes when Sives found the head of Twigg in the box and Ricketts picked up the ball to cross for O’Donnell to head over the bar from close range.
A minute later an Enda Stevens free-kick was cleared and the Russian side broke swiftly up field and it took a fine piece of defending by Stephen Rice to snuff out the danger.
Aleksandr Ryazantsev received a booking for a second foul on Ricketts and following the free-lick Stevens crossed into the box but the visitors towering central defender Navas cleared the ball.
On 32 minutes Ronan Finn sent in a fine cross that was cleared and Rice just failed to connect with the ball outside the box. Kazan’s giant ‘keeper Ryzhikov advanced to claim Murrays long ball into the box a minute later.
After 35 minutes Martins was sent on a run down the left and he slipped past Craig Sives and into the area but the Scotsman pulled him back and Referee Szabo pointed to the spot. Valdez stepped up to shoot low but Thompson got down to his right to save however the ball spun back towards the centre of the goal and two Kazan players bore down on the loose ball but the Jamaican ‘keeper showed incredible reflexes to dive at the ball and block a certain goal.
Two minutes later Thompson was quick off his line again to this time clear as Karadeniz was put through on goal. Rovers were wasteful with a free-kick from O’Donnell as the first-half ended.
A couple of crosses from Stevens and Ricketts early in the second-half lifted the crowd but Rovers were stunned again in the 50th minute when sloppy play in midfield allowed Kazan to attack up the right and the ball fell to Noboa at the edge of the area and he fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of Thompson’s net.
Rovers had a great chance to get back into the game immediately when Ricketts cross from the left was headed on by Gary Twigg to Ronan Finn but his header lacked power and the ’keeper beat the ball away.
Rovers went to a 4-4-2 formation with the introduction of Kilduff and Dennehy but went further behind on the hour when good play in front of the Hoops area finished when Karadeniz turned into the box and shot past Thompson.
Again Rovers hit back almost immediately as Twigg got behind the Kazan defence only for Navas to take him down and the Hoops were awarded a penalty. Stephen O’Donnell had to wait as two substitutions were made and when he finally took the kick he sent the ball straight down the middle and the ’keeper saved with his legs despite diving to his left.
Karadeniz was always a threat going forward and Thompson got down low to save his effort on 69 minutes. Natcho then tried his luck with a shot from outside the box that clipped Thompson’s left-hand post.
O’Donnell couldn’t controlEnda Stevens cross inside the area on 71 minutes and two minutes later Kilduff burst past two defenders to run on goal but Sharonov got back to make a vital tackle.
Rovers were finishing the game well and forced two corners with 15 minutes remaining. O’Donnell almost got Kilduff in on goal but the ‘keeper raced from his line to clear.
Kilduff then almost setup Stevens on the edge of the area and a rare run down the right saw Sives cross low to Billy Dennehy at the back post but the Hoops substitute couldn’t get control of the ball to get a shot on goal.
With 9 minutes remaining Dennehy stepped up to take a free-kick fro 25 yards out and it took a fine save from Ryzhikov to beat away his low drive. The ball was returned into the box and fell in front of Chris Turner but he just failed to control the ball and the ‘keeper was relieved to clear the danger.
Stephen Rice’s header on 82 minutes was saved on his line by Ryzhikov and in the 86th minute Dennehy played Kilduff into the box but he couldn’t turn his marker to shoot on goal.
The last action of the game saw Stevens make a fine block inside his own box as Kazan threatened on the counter-attack. The crowd rose to applaud the Hoops efforts at the final whistle as although the visitors were deserved winners, Rovers could count themselves unlucky not to have got on the score sheet themselves.