The action in this game was always going to struggle to match the entertainment of the early ones, but when Shukupi made waves with a statement out of the park, Shamrock Rovers took the group stage football over it to keep it within touching distance. Took a big step.
Ari O’Neill’s 96th-minute strike, the last kick of the game, gave the Hoops a two-goal lead they could bring to Skopje for Tuesday’s decider. This restored the advantage they had at half-time and Shakupi’s second-half rally was enough to believe there was still life in the tie.
But the mood music was replaced by a rare goal from Kerryman, who had been cut short ten minutes earlier by breaking the hearts of the shaky side for a foul on O’Neill. When Shukupi was trying to get out of defending a corner, he lowered himself to drive a right footer into the top corner.
For the champions of North Macedonia, the result was even more pitiful than their trip, though it could have been much worse as they struggled to find a route into the country on the eve of the game.
Needed to secure a slot for their charter in Shannon Airport with assistance from Sports Minister Jack Chambers and FAI President Gerry McEnany, the Rovers were well aware of the difficulties presented by the Irish aviation situation, word of which was their return from Claire. came out for the meeting. Hibernians of Malta.
This roundabout trip to the Irish capital for the Europa League tie delighted the home-staying Shakupy hierarchy and an extraordinary post on their social media for a guaranteed prize of €3.3m (via a conference league group stage spot) to the winners. Didn’t Channels suggested that the Irish government was engaged in ‘cheap play’ among other things.”
The fact that the Ludogorets were able to move in and out of Dublin was referenced, and the rovers would probably share their sentiment on that as they were unable to adjust to their city’s airport for the far leg in Bulgaria, one such Factors that contributed to the nightmare were travel and expensive defeats.
Such details were not included in the offensive Shukupi declaration which emphasized that they were determined to ‘answer as a team’ for the ‘bad’ done to them. “Today our team will show you a character,” it read, “like the lions on the field.”
The officials at Rovers, who had expected a furious response from the visiting delegation at the stadium, did not quite live up to that. The fact that the club’s Turkish owner Olgun Pekar, a colorful character, did not make the trip may have contributed to that. The statement was not put together in Ireland.
Alas, for Shakupi, the start of the game was more about (Andy) Lyon than the Lions and it knocks him out of the Europa League. The away team was disciplined from the start, all aggression and no restraint, and an accidental challenge from Albert Lamane to drop the rovers wing back resulted in a spot kick. Graham Burke ended peacefully.
Shukupi’s attackers put up high pressure, yet once Rovers kept their cool and played through that line, the spot opened up. Rory Gaffney had already wasted an opportunity before making a second, collecting a pass from Burke before tipping off to Dylan Watts, who showed superb restraint to allow the ball to pass through his body before converting.
Rovers were in control with Shakupi’s sideline in a flap. From the start again, he produced a pair of top drawer stops to keep his level with home netminder Alan Manus keeping the margin at two. Chris McCann’s injury robbed the rovers of vital safety in the engine room and Bradley had to address the issue on the shore. Manus was again called into action to keep out Shakupee Sub Adam Ali, a pivotal moment that was more about the miss than the save.
Shukupi had given a warning, and Queven, a Brazilian playwright who had previously denied the distance, found the net from afar with a thunderbolt that changed direction in the wind. The exuberant Tallaghat crowd of 6,455 suddenly panicked, especially when Mannas shot an Ali at a nearby post.
Hoops needed to get his foot on things, and he was helped by a sharp challenge from Walid Hamidi on O’Neill, which took his rally’s life. Instead, the focus shifted to digging in and hanging on to the 2-1 scoreline, but his time-wasting efforts cost him six extra minutes at 90, with O’Neill waiting until the end to make every second count.
Shamrock Rovers: Manus, Gannon, Hoare, Grace; Finn (Farrugia 72), O’Neill, McCann (Towel 61), Lyons; Burke (Green 54), Watts (Kavanaugh 72); Gaffney (Imaakhu 72)
Shakupi: Naumovsky, Timovsky, Faustin, Margvelashvili, Demir (Brdrovsky 45); Alvarez (Ali 64), Queven (Dazelle 90), Lamane; Hamidi, Adetunji (Georgiev 64), Cephas (Trapanovsky 64)
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (Poland)