St Patrick’s European hopes torn asunder
Legia Warsaw full value for win that sets up lucrative tie against Celtic
Legia Warsaw’s Michal Zyro celebrates after putting his side 2-0 up against St Patrick’s Athletic during the Champions League second qualifying round second leg match at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA
Legia Warsaw’s Lukasz Broz and St. Patrick’s Christopher Forrester compete for possession during the Champions League Second Qualifying Round match at Tallaght Stadium last night. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
St Patrick’s Athletic 0, Legia Warsaw 5 (agg: 1-6): When Liam Buckley had spoken on Tuesday of the way in which his side’s European dream had been whipped away from them last year “in the blink of an eye,” it sounded as if he felt there could be no crueller fate.
He’ll have been reconsidering through this, a game during which their hopes of playing Celtic and making a pretty penny into the process gradually came to look like mere fantasy. The final scoreline was harsh with his team punished late on as they attempted to chase things but there could be no complaints for they were very well beaten.
They had looked to be in trouble really from the time Miroslav Radovic had put the Poles in front in the 25th minute. By then, St Patrick’s were on the back foot and not looking like a side that could easily shift the pattern of the game.
When Michal Zyro made in 2-0 after 70 minutes the game really looked beyond saving but Buckley, to be fair, had to try and what followed was predictable in its way with a defence weakened by one injury blow after another opened up time after time. In the end Radovic got a second, Marek Saganowski got a tap in a couple of minutes after coming on and, finally, Conan Byrne headed Tomasz Brzyski’s cross into his own net.
It was hard on the home support and terrific for the more vocal visitors but there was no great sense of injustice about any of it.
The home side had actually made a bright enough start with Killian Brennan producing the night’s first two shots but both were hit straight at Dusan Kuciak and Buckley’s side struggled all evening to seriously test the Polish goalkeeper even when, it seemed, they had set themselves up nicely.
They did continue to generate chances but their finishing was half-hearted and their best attempts came from Keith Fahey who saw one shot deflected wide before the break and a second not long after it fly just the wrong side of the post.
Further back, the midfielder stood out for his composure on the ball and ability to spot team mates in promising positions off it but much of the Dubliners’ passing was poor. Under pressure, they struggled to retain possession but threw a fair bit of it away even when they weren’t.
That might have been less of a problem had they defended more effectively but as Legia settled and shifted the bulk of the game a little closer to the home side’s area, the St Patrick’s back four immediately started to struggle.