Cork City’s fans will have to be in fine voice in Niederkorn next week as their team tries to overcome a two-goal deficit against the Luxembourg side.
Photo: Cork City football club
Progrès Niederkorn came away from their trip to Cork with a 2-0 lead to take into next week’s second leg.
The first round proper of qualifying for the Uefa Europa League got underway this week with mixed fortunes for Luxembourg’s representatives. On Wednesday, Jeunesse Esch could only manage a goalless draw at home to FC Tobol of Kazakhstan. On Thursday their south city rivals, Fola Esch, surrendered a first-half lead through a Sinani penalty to lose 1-2 at home to Georgian team FC Chikhura Sachkhere.
But perennial Europa League overachievers Progrès Niederkorn won 2-0 in Ireland against Cork City to all but book their place in the next round. The Luxembourg side took the lead on 11 minutes when Belmin Muratovic won possession on the byline inside the Cork area and slotted the ball drill the ball home at the near post. Ten minutes later Colm Horgan, who had given away possession for the first goal, brought down Mayron De Almeida inside the area to concede a penalty, which the Niederkorn striker took himself to make it 2-0. The Progrès Facebook page has a rather shaky video of the match.
Cork had their own penalty after Conor McCarthy was fouled in the area, but Niederkorn goalkeeper Sebastian Flauss saved the resulting spot kick from Karl Sheppard. A crowd of 3,157 then saw a rather less entertaining second half in which both sides pressed for a goal but failed to add to the scoreline. The return match takes place on 18 July in Differdange.