A memorable European marketing campaign got here to an finish for Sligo Rovers at a sold-out Showgrounds with a morale-boosting defeat of Norwegian aspect Viking FK.
inger Will Fitzgerald bought the one purpose of the sport to safe Rovers’ fourth win from six Europa League Convention ties this season, although Viking’s thumping 5-1 win in Stravanger final week meant that the Norwegian aspect’s progress to the ultimate qualifying spherical was hardly ever unsure.
However – after defeats of Welsh aspect Bala City and Scottish Premier League aspect Motherwell already within the competitors – the Bit O’Crimson went out battling. And having scored the final of the six targets within the dying levels of the sport in Norway final week, they nearly had one other contained in the opening ten minutes right here when Greg Bolger’s nook curled below the crossbar and needed to be cleared off the road.
Striker Max Mata was on the mark twice as Rovers beat Bohemians within the league on the identical venue final Sunday, and he was rewarded with a job from the beginning this time round.
He was inflicting bother once more mid manner via the primary half when he bought on the tip of a Paddy Kirk cross, however the Viking goalkeeper was equal to the hassle.
The opening purpose finally got here simply earlier than the half-time break, although it took some luck as Fitzgerald’s supply spun off a defender and looped into the web.
If not precisely nervous, the purpose did go away the guests a bit uneasy within the second half, and Rovers had an incredible likelihood to check their mettle additional once they have been awarded a penalty with quarter-hour remaining.
Frank Liivak was fouled within the space and dusted himself all the way down to take the spot-kick, however Patrik Sigurdur Gunnarsson made the save as his aspect progressed 5-2 on combination.
SLIGO: McNicholas, Banks, Pijnaker, Blaney, Kirk, McDonnell (Barlow 61), Bolger (Morahan 55), Burton, Fitzgerald (O’Sullivan 79), Liivak, Mata (Heaney 79).
VIKING: Gunnarsson, Pattynama, Brekalo (Lokberg 79), Vevatne, Bjoershol, Kabran (Sandberg 61), Fridjonsson, Solbakken, Tangen (Torsteinbo 84), Traore (Karlsbakk ht), Tripic (Austbo 79).
REF: N Simovic (Serbia).