Europa League

Europa League

IT Thu, Sep 15

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  • 17:18

    What an an evening it is in Tallaght as Shamrock Rovers prepare to face Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.

    I'm Carl O'Malley and I'll endeavour to do this historic night justice over the next few hours. But first, a reminder of how Rovers made history with a 3-2 aggregate win over Partizan Belgrade to go boldly go where no Irish team has gone before.

  • 17:18
  • 17:19
    Pat Sullivan quite rightly won most of the plaudits for this thunderous strike in the away leg, but we can't forget Gary McCabe's equaliser here in Tallaght in the first leg.
  • 17:19
  • 17:24

    Shamrock Rovers: Thompson, Sullivan, Stevens, Sives, Murray, Rice, O’Donnell, Finn, McCormack, Ricketts, Twigg. Subs: Brush, McCabe, Sheppard, Kilduff, Turner, Dennehy, Paterson.

    Rubin Kazan: Ryzhikov, Bocchetti, Cesar Navas, Sharonov, Noboa, Kaleshin, Ryazantsev, Karadeniz, Natkho, Haedo Valdez, Martins. Subs: Arlauskis, Ansaldi, Bystrov, Kasaev, Alexei Eremenko 

  • 17:28
    McCabe, Dennehy and Sheppard may well feel a little hard done by in that team selection, but Michael O'Neill appears to have opted for a litte more solidity in midfield in the shape of Stephen O'Donnell and Conor McCormack, while new siging Rohan Ricketts is expected to play on the left side of a five-man midfield.
  • 17:39
    In terms of the opposition, the obvious danger of former Inter Milan and Newcastle striker Obafemi will keep Aston Villa's new acquisition Enda stevens busy, while in midfield Ecuadorian Christian Noboa is a danger.
  • 17:44
    The man they have chosen to go up front is Nelson Valdez from Paraguay. He hasn't played much this season but he did manage to the hit net against Brazil in the Copa America. So, no flies on him, then.
  • 17:45

    15 mins to go now and only the Rovers subs remain on the pitch as the locals try to get a grasp of Russian over a tannoy.

  • 17:47

    One of my many trustee sidekicks has just informed that not only did Valdez score against the samba boys, he also scored the two goals that helped Hercules beat Barcelona last season. He's not met Dan Murray yet, though.

  • 17:49
  • 17:50

    Well, that didn't work. Follow it to youtube if you want to see Valdez score a belter against Barca.

  • 17:52
    10 mins to go now and The Blades of all people are keeping the crowd 'entertained'. Not live of course, over the PA system. Where are they now?
  • 17:53
    Don't ask me, I'd never heard of them up until two minutes ago. I'm glad of it too.
  • 17:54
    This text commentary is a two-way street by the way, so feel free to send us your thoughts on the game. Or The Blades.
  • 17:56
    Buzz O'Neill has cut over The Blades, to greet the crowd. "We dared to dream", he says with the delivery of Martin Luther King. "Make some noise for Ireland's most famous football club, Superhoops, Shamrovk Rovers!"
  • 17:58

    The crowd has duly obliged. A smashing occasion for Rovers and their fans. "Ladies and Gentlemen, here come the Hoops". He's right you know, there they are. Cue nondescript Uefa choons.

  • 17:59

    Ryan Thompson declines the handshake with his opponents, opting for a fistpump instead. Martins is a little taller than I expected and apparently he was born in 1984. Ahem.

  • 18:00

    Good thing we're not in the Aviva, because there are plenty of empty seats in the temporary end. Probably still in the Maldron.

  • 18:01
    1 min: We're off. Stevens wins the first contest with Martins, with a solid header.
  • 18:04
    3 min: Well, that didn't take long. The evergreen Martins steals in between Murray and Sives to scramble home Karedeniz's cross. Slack from Rovers. 5/1 he was to score first. Needless to say, I ignored it and put a wedge on Twiggy
  • 18:07

    McCormack and Stevens show some nice footwork to clear the danger as Martins comes down the left. Despite the goal they've shown some nice touches, O'Donnell almost putting Ricketts in behind Kaleshin there.

  • 18:08
    Pat Sullivan cuts out a low cross from Valdez this time. Did well there, as did Ricketts, tracking back twice to clear danger.
  • 18:09
    The former Spurs man gets a ball in the mush for his troubles and after the throw in Martins makes space in the box and Valdez fires over. Could have been two already.
  • 18:11
    10 minutes in now and Rovers aren't being completely overrun but Rubin do look dangerous on the ball. Rovers are trying to play the right balls but the passes aren't always sticking.
  • 18:12
    Sullivan raids down the right but his cross is easily cleared. Stevens sends it back in but Twigg's header down is just behind the onrushing McCormack. Better from the homeside.
  • 18:14
    Rovers are cool on the ball, they certainly haven't let their heads drop and are playing it around. It's the final ball that's letting them down. Stevens again comfortably beats Martins in the air, before O'Donnell is taken down. The free comes to nothing.
  • 18:16
    Sives clatters through Karadeniz. Firm but fair, and Twigg sets Ricketts off down the left, the cross is a good one and O'Donnell just heads over under pressure from 'keeper Sergei Ryzhikov. Lovely move by Rovers
  • 18:18

    Great interplay from Ricketts and Twigg ends in the latter trying to find Finn out wide but getting caught late by Aleksandr Ryasentsev. Goes short to Stevens but his good cross is headed clear. 

  • 18:18
    18 min: Rubin break with Valdez but Stephen Rice cuts the Ecuadorian's run shortwith a well timed tackle in the box.
  • 18:21
    Ricketts is again caught late by Ryazantsev and this time the Russian goes into the book. Again Ricketts and O'Donnell showing some great awareness under pressure.
  • 18:22
    Rovers attack down the left and another good cross from Stevens is headed clear. The left back then stops Martins with a perfectly timed tackle on the left to set Rovers off again. OKay, his man scored in the third minute but Stevens is having a great game otherwise.  
  • 18:25
    Great tracking back from McCormack sees him eventually get the tackle in on Karadeniz. He's another to have risen to the occasion so far.
  • 18:27
    Rubin Kazan's Obafemi Martins celebrates after opening the scoring against Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League game in Tallaght. – (Photograph: Niall Carson/PA).
    Rubin Kazan's Obafemi Martins celebrates after opening the scoring against Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League game in Tallaght. – (Photograph: Niall Carson/PA).
  • 18:28
    Ciaran Do I know this ref from somewhere? He looks familiar....
  • 18:28

    Good point CIaran, if there is a good omen here, it is that Hungarian ref Zsolt Szabo was in charge of Irelands win over Georgia in Mainz in 2008 and again in Armenia in the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Both games ended in Irish wins.

  • 18:31
    Maybe not, actually. Ricketts has just been penalised for a 50-50 tackle on Kaleshin. Seemed like more of a collision than a foul really. Free in is headed clear.
  • 18:32
    32 min: Finn heads off down the right wing but is caught offside when his cross comes back to him off a Rovers boot.
  • 18:35
    Finn is again set free but seemed short of ideas when faced with Cesar Navas and trod on the ball.
  • 18:36
    Danger here as Valdez lines up a peno after Sives hauled down Martins on the left hand side of the box. But Thompson has saved it low to his right and blocked the rebound too.
  • 18:37
    Great stuff from the Jamaican there and he's out to intervene again as Valdez runs through. Booted clear by the keeper and that's really got the Tallaght crowd on its feet. A heavy touch from Valdez only adds to the delight.
  • 18:39
    That's the second penalty that Sives has conceded in Europe this season. Both have been saved. Alan Mannus was the hero against Flora Tallinn at this venue.
  • 18:42
    Credit should also got to Dan Murray, who hooked the ball clear as Rubin sought to pounce on the rebound.
  • 18:44
    It's gone so quiet here, the two beside me are pointing out the Hellfire Club. Jesus wept.
  • 18:45
    That is a good sign though, because it's proof that the penalty save has taken some of the pep from Rubin's step. And Rovers see it out to halftime with just a goal in it.
  • 18:47
    It was only a matter of time. 'Back in the USSR' is the song of choice at the start of the break.
  • 18:50

    Boney M - Rasputin. A see a pattern emerging.

  • 18:52
    Good half from Rovers, if you disregard the goal in the third minute and the concession of a penalty. They can be happy with that first 45. They haven't quite found the cutting edge at the other end but they have certainly played some football. Keep it up, one imagines, will be the message from O'Neill in the dressing room.
  • 19:00

    The teams are back out as the Russian equivalent of some good ol' diddly-eye music winds to a close.

  • 19:01
    Martins, who seemed to pull up late in the first half, has been replaced by Petr Bystrov
  • 19:02
    Great play from Ricketts and Stevens, sees the latter burst into the box, but his tame cross is cleared. Ricketts then fires in a dangerous cross that is headed clear. Good start to the half.
  • 19:06

    Another bad start to the half, however, as the substitute Bystrov fires in a cross that is header tamely away by McCormack and Noboa fires it past Thompson.

  • 19:08
    Rovers right back at them though as Ricketts curls in a cross that is flicked on and Finn's point blank headers is well saved by Ryzhikov. Great save, great response from Rovers.
  • 19:10
    Billy Dennehy is getting his kit on in the dugout. He'll bring about more pace to this Rovers attack, hopefully. Can't be for Ricketts, maybe Finn.
  • 19:11
    Ciaran Kiduff is coming on for Finn and Dennehy replaced McCormack 
  • 19:12
    Ricketts has moved to the right to accomodate Dennehy on the left, as Ryasentsev heads over Thompson's bar. Could have done better there, the midfielder.
  • 19:18

    GOAL RUBIN: Karedeniz puts the finishing touch on a sustained bit of pressure from Kazan. The was coming a long way off as the visitors put together their best passage of play. When final ball was headed away to the left winger, the swept it back into the top corner.

  • 19:19
    63rd min: Penalty Rovers:  Twigg taken down by Navas as he races through. O'Donnell steps up.
  • 19:20
    Saved by the legs of the keeper. A tame penalty in truth, straight down the middle and despite the Rhyzikov's dive right he managed to stick a leg on it. Poor peno the Rovers man.
  • 19:21
    Ricketts is off for Chris Turner and Valdez is replaced by Vladimir Dyadyun, a man who also knows where the net is.
  • 19:23
    Long throw in for Sullivan and Dhyzikov is challenged by Turner, but the result is a goal kick.
  • 19:24
    69 min: Karedeniz fails to connect properly with an effort on the edge of the box and Thompson gets down well to save.
  • 19:27

    It's all a bit too easy now for Rubin going forward, as Natcho fires his daisycutter off the post from 25 yards.  

  • 19:30
    73 min: Kilduff races on to Twigg's flick on but his path is blocked for a corner. Showed good pace there. Stevens to take Rovers' third corner in a row, but the ref inexplicably awards a free out. He's been a little odd at times, Mr Szabo.
  • 19:31
    Smashing ball over the top for Kilduff from Stevens but the keeper gets there first. Stevens has looked like a man who will settle in nicely in the Premier League
  • 19:32
    Dan Murray climbs highest to get good contact on Sulivan's free in but he heads well wide.
  • 19:34
    77 min: Stevens plays a neat one two with Kilduff and heads into the box but the return pass falls on his right and he miscues. Dennehy then does the same after a cross from the right.
  • 19:34
    And the ref gives another free out for Kazan that nobody but him seemed to see.
  • 19:37
    Twigg barged over 30 yards out Ansaldi. Dennehy curls one around the wall but the keeper is again equal to it and tips it around the post. Rovers come again and Dennehy's cross is seen late by Turner and bounces off his shin into the keepers arms from six yards.
  • 19:39

    Another free in to Rovers after a handball. Roughly the same spot as the last, might suit a right footer this time though.

  • 19:41
    Dennehy takes but he hits the wall. Stevens launches it back in but it's out for a goalkick.
  • 19:43
    87 min: Rubin break with some sublime one touch football that results in Ryasentsev getting a shot off but it's blocked for a corner, which is cleared.
  • 19:46
    89 min: It's keep ball now from Rubin. Well, until Noboa passed it in to touch. Rovers come again and there are fierce calls for a corner after a backpassed header is gathered on the line by the keeper. Some choice words directed at that guy who stands behind the goal but doesn't do much.
  • 19:48
    Three minutes added but there looks to be no way through for Rovers.
  • 19:50
    90+ min: Dennehy's overhit cross is met with groans and that's it. Rovers are applauded from the pitch for a brave performance that could have yielded a goal or two but Kazan were always going to win this game. A brave effort though.
  • 19:51
    That's it from me, thanks for joining us, whoever you are and wherever you may be.
  • 20:24
    Goals, courtesy of the good people at, can be found HERE