Shamrock Rovers will continue their quest to secure their first win in the UEFA Conference League on October 6th. On Match Day 3 Rovers travel to Norway to face Eliteserien leaders Molde FK.
When the final whistle blows in this match, it will signify the halfway point of the group stage campaign. This is a big one for Rovers at the Aker Stadion as they seek points to push themselves into the qualification picture.
It will be Shamrock Rovers’s first-ever match against the Norwegian side as they continue to break new ground in Europe this season. The football betting market sees Shamrock Rovers having to defy some underdog odds on the night.
Rovers opened their account in this UEFA Conference League campaign, by taking a solid 0-0 home draw against Djurgarden in Dublin. In the fixture, Shamrock Rovers gave as good as they got against the current Swedish Allsvenskan leaders, creating chances for themselves to win the match.
However, it was to be a share of the spoils as Rovers couldn’t get a precious breakthrough in the fixture. The Hoops then found the going tough on a visit to Belgian team Gent in their second match of the group, falling to a 3-0 loss.
Norwegian side Molde have produced a fine domestic campaign, and it is another league-leading team that Rovers will be facing in the group. Molde are the runaway leaders in the Eliteserien where they have produced an average of more than two goals per game.
But they, too, are looking for their first win in Group F in the UEFA Conference League. They are level with Shamrock Rovers on one point from two played. The Norwegians suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Djurgarden before being held to a 0-0 draw by Gent.
Molde finished as runners-up in last season’s Eliteserien, which meant that they entered the Conference League second qualifying round. After finding things relatively easy at the start of their season in Europe, there have been struggles since as they have won only one of their last five European fixtures.
Molde have faced Irish opposition four times before and secured a win in all four of those. The Norwegians netted an average of two goals per game in those matches. Their best-ever season in Europe came in the 2020/21 Europa League group stage when they reached the Round of 16.
The way that the UEFA Conference League Group F has shaped up so far, it looks to be wide open. That keeps Rovers in the running as things stand. It’s only going to take one special night in Europe for things to potentially click into place for Rovers. For a bit of momentum to start up in their favour.
While Rovers will likely get their best chances of winning Conference League matches in Dublin, European away nights are often simply about digging in there.
Shamrock Rovers, who are Ireland’s most successful club, have had a tremendous season on home turf. But goals have been harder to come by out on the road. However, experience is always a great thing to have and Rovers have some in the bank from European away nights this season.
Lessons from their travels in trying to first achieve group stage qualification to the Champions League and then to the Europa League could add up to the resilience they will need to tap into in Norway.
Shamrock Rovers Head Coach Stephen Bradley needs a strong defensive performance out of his men on the night. A point out of this tricky away game would set The Hoops up very well for their reverse home fixture against the Norwegian side on Match Day 4.
It may not completely be about Rovers finding their goalscoring touch, but about keeping out their opponents. With Molde having failed to score in their last two European home matches, it’s all to play for in Norway.