Bohemians suffer pain of penalty shootout defeat in Hungary

Manager Keith Long praises his side after heartbreaking Europa League defeat

Kris Twardek is consoled by James Talbot after missing a penalty during the shootout against Fehervar in the Europa League  first qualifying round at  Mol Arena Sosto in Hungary. Photograph: Alexsandar Djorovic/Inpho

Kris Twardek is consoled by James Talbot after missing a penalty during the shootout against Fehervar in the Europa League first qualifying round at Mol Arena Sosto in Hungary. Photograph: Alexsandar Djorovic/Inpho

 

Fehérvár 1 Bohemians 1 (aet; Fehérvár win 4-2 on pens)

Proud Bohemians boss Keith Long heaped praise on his players after Thursday night’s heartbreaking Europa League loss to Fehérvár.

The Hungarians were the worst possible draw for the Gypsies on their first European action since 2012 but they defied their underdogs tag on a night of high drama at the Mol Aréna Sóstó.

Keith Ward, still at the club following that European foray eight years ago, smashed home a 22nd-minute strike before Nemanja Nikolic equalised from the penalty spot just before the break.

Opportunities were presented for either side in extra-time to nick it but penalties were required to settle the outcome.

Despite being hauled back in the match, the upset was still on the cards when Bohs goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness saved Armin Hodzic’s first spot-kick but Dan Casey saw his effort saved and Kris Twardek fired wide to allow the favourites to recover and prevail.

“I don’t like to overegg this but we’re a part-time squad that trains four evenings per week,” noted Long.

“To come here and more than match a side of Fehérvár’s strength and resources shows how this side is progressing. If we qualify again next year, this squad will be better prepared from this experience.”

Recent recruit Twardek was the creator of the opener, racing past his marker to the end-line and cutting a low square ball back across the box for Ward to drill the ball home from 10 yards.

Fehérvár’s main threat revolved around Lyes Houri and it was the invention of the French midfielder which drew Rob Cornwall into a mistimed lunge on Attila Fiola inside the box. Nikolic stepped up to blast the penalty into the right top corner.

That pressure by the hosts intensified after the break, with Brazilian Evandro driving a rising shot just off-target and Ivan Petriak’s bullet header coming even closer to drifting inside the near post of McGuinness.

Still, even up against that level of quality, Bohs managed to carve out a glorious chance of regaining the lead.

Ward, in his last contribution before being substituted with seven minutes left, meandered his way inwards from the left to get a clear sight on goal, yet screwed his shot wide with Adam Kovacsik beaten.

Bohs had to ride their luck in extra-time but didn’t get much of it in the shootout.

“The result is all that matters,” said relieved hosts boss Gábor Márton afterwards.

“While we missed lots of chances, Bohemians took theirs in the first half. They are a good side and I’m not surprised how tough a game they gave us.”

Long did his best to consider the wider landscape amid the immediate emotion.

“Losing on penalties is the cruellest way to go out and that pain is there,” he added.

“The players are devastated but they should be proud of their efforts. We have a young squad and they will only improve over time.”

Bohs have nine games left to overhaul the two points lead at the summit enjoyed by Shamrock Rovers, whom they meet in the next league game on Saturday week.

FEHÉRVÁR: A Kovacsik; L Nego, A Rus, Stopira, A Fiola; Alef (M Patkai 75), L Houri; F Bamgboye, Evandro (B Nikolov, 100 mins), I Petriak (K Geresi, 109 mins); N Nikolic (A Hodzic, 74 mins).

BOHEMIANS: S McGuinness; A Lyons, R Cornwall (J Finnerty, 71 mins), D Casey, A Breslin; JJ Lunney (C Levingston, 78 mins), K Buckley (D Mandroiu, 109 mins); D Grant, K Ward, K Twardek; A Wright.

Referee: T Christofi (Cyp)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.