Sligo Rovers out of Europa League after defeat to Rosenborg
Sligo manager John Coleman admits his side missed a ‘glorious opportunity’ to progress
Had they kept the lead a little longer the pressure might really have started to tell on the visitors but it took just three minutes for Rosenborg to draw level on the night with a Moretn Gamst Pedersen cross from the left getting beyond both Ross Gaynor and Evan McMillan to reach Pal Andre Helland who took a touch before powering the ball into the top right corner. “The goal gave them life,” observed a rueful Russell afterwards.
Pedersen, long of Blackburn Rovers, was his side’s key player, at least until Mix Diskerud came on for the injured Helland. From then on the pair chipped in pretty evenly as the Norwegians started to get on top.
Rovers worked hard to keep possession and make the most of it but their opponents were tireless, repeatedly making it hard for them even to play their way out of the first third of the pitch.
The Norwegians were consistently quick to counterattack too, and both of Mike Jensen’s second-half goals – the first after 49 minutes, the second after 65 – came courtesy of their determination to power forward after winning possession deep inside their own half; that and Sligo’s simple inability to stop them in their stride once they’d hit it.
Between the goals, North had passed up a great chance to put the hosts 2-1 up on the night but he curled the ball wide after having been sent clear by Russell. After the goals, Rovers found themselves really chasing things but they still created chances.
Ruairi Keating, for a start, should have had a penalty when he was clearly bundled over by Tobias Mikkelsen under a lofted Seán Magure ball while North was guilty of poor judgment when he tried to control a high ball to the far post instead of leaving it for Cawley who was arriving behind him.
Evan McMillan then went close twice as the seconds slipped by and the chase became more desperate but Rovers couldn’t quite play themselves back into things; something they’ll have to do now in the league, and from an equally unpromising position, if they are to bring European football back to the Showgrounds next season.
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Keane, McMillan, Spillane, Gaynor (Maguire, 71 mins); Conneely, Cawley; O’Conor (Keating, 71 mins), Russell, Djilali (Ledwith, 85 mins); North. ROSENBORG: Hansen; Mikkelsen, Strandberg, Reginiussen, Dorsin; Jensen, Riski, Selnaes; Helland (Diskerud, 27 mins), Soderlund (Sorloth, 79 mins), Pedersen. Referee: E Lambrechts (Belgium).