All to play for as Drogheda hold Malmo to a draw
Europa League First Qualifying Round, First leg: Drogheda United 0 Malmo 0
Brennan had United’s first real attempt on goal, a shot from a tight angle that flew straight at Johan Dahlin, but his brother Ryan really should have set up Paul O’Conor for an opener towards the end of the half. The locals won possession with an interception in midfield and moved the ball well in from the left towards the edge of the area before the younger Brennan ultimately fluffed what should have been a straightforward final pass to the former UCD midfielder who was free, in a lot of space, down the right hand side of the box.
Terrific through ball
David Cassidy had the Swedish side’s defence scrambling about a few minutes later after Peter Hynes had sent him clear with a terrific through ball and the former Shelbourne player then reckoned he should have had a penalty but Magnus Eriksson got the benefit of the doubt.
Mick Cooke’s men continued to gain momentum after the break and had their best chance of the game 10 minutes into the second period when holding midfielder Alan Byrne got forward to head Cassidy’s angled free from the left fractionally over.
Ryan Brennan, though, picked up a yellow card for arguing that the Swede who conceded the free should have been sent off and that came back to haunt him 20 minutes when he tugged Rantie as the striker was about to race clear and the referee promptly booked him again. The last 15 minutes then resembled the first 15 although this time Malmo carved out several clearcut chances at least one of which they probably should have scored. Gabriel Save, though, did well more than once and they had occasional but of good fortune as they clambered their way through the closing stages.
Without Brennan or a lead to defend in Sweden next week they’ll likely need more luck to progress but they are at least still very much in hunt with their better spells here suggesting they might yet be capable of springing a surprise.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Sava; Daly, McNally, Prendergast, G Brennan; Byrne; O’Conor, R Brennan, Cassidy; O’Neill (O’Brien, 67 mins), Hynes (Gannon, 79 mins).
MALMO: Dahlin; Albornoz, Jansson, Johansson, Ricardinho; Hamad, Friberg (Petrovic, 84 mins), Halsti, Forsberg (Thern, 55 mins); Eriksson, Rantie.
Referee: E Aleckovic (Bos-Herzegovina)