Europa League: Odd goal in three enough on night as Shamrock Rovers bow out

Late goal from Gavin Brennan the only consolation for Pat Fenlon’s side in Norway

Shamrock Rovers’ Mickey Drennan takes a free kick during the Uefa Europa League second qualifying round, second leg against Odd BK at the Skagerak Arena in Skien, Norway. Photograph: Tor Erik Schrøder/Inpho

Shamrock Rovers’ Mickey Drennan takes a free kick during the Uefa Europa League second qualifying round, second leg against Odd BK at the Skagerak Arena in Skien, Norway. Photograph: Tor Erik Schrøder/Inpho

 

Odd BK 2 Shamrock Rovers 1 (Odd progress 4-1 on agg) Late strikes from Ole Jorgen Halvorsen and Steffen Hagen were more than sufficient for Odd BK to end Shamrock Rovers’ Europa League hopes at the Skagerak Arena.

Rovers craved the first goal of the game, but in truth it never looked like coming their way as a measured Odd performance saw the Norwegians comfortably through to meet Elfsborg of Sweden in the third qualifying round.

The only consolation for Rovers on the night came from Gavin Brennan’s last-minute goal.

Rovers manager Pat Fenlon made one change from the first leg with midfielder Brandon Miele returning as Marty Waters dropped to the bench.

In a surprise move by Odd boss Dag-Eilev Fagermo, key midfielder Jone Samuelsen and Canadian international striker Olivier Occéan, who scored both goals in last week’s 2-0 first leg win in Tallaght, were rested with Sunday’s game at home to Tromso in mind.

Save for an even opening period when Ryan Brennan headed wide from a Gary McCabe free-kick, Odd dominated the first half, Rovers’ first scare arriving on 14 minutes.

As the half wore on, Odd created more chances, with Akabueze blasting a 20-yard drive which Craig Hyland was grateful was straight at him. Patrick Cregg then bravely blocked a stinging shot from Fredrik Nordkvelle on the edge of the area.

With Occéan on from the start of the second half, Odd should have been two goals up inside five minutes. A shout for a handball by Rovers at one end was ignored and Odd quickly broke with Halvorsen’s cross scooped over the bar by Rafik Zekhnini.

Emil Jonassen and Occéan then combined to set up Oliver Berg who also blazed over.

Scuffed shot

The Odd goalkeeper really had to work on 55 minutes, though, from Rovers’ first clear-cut chance. Brennan and Cregg worked the ball to Mikey Drennan on the left of the area and his well-struck shot was pushed round a post by Rossbach.

Miele might have done better minutes later when, with space on the right, he shot over.

That was as good as it got as Odd made the breakthrough on 71 minutes. Luke Byrne’s weak header was picked up by Samuelsen who crossed low for Halvorsen to drill home.

Home captain Hagen added the second on 85 minutes with a powerful back-post header form Espen Ruud’s corner.

Rovers got some joy on the night right on 90 minutes when Simon Madden’s deep cross from the right was knocked back by Danny North and Brennan swept the ball home from eight yards.

ODD BK: Rossbach; Ruud, Eriksen (Bergan, 78 mins), Hagen, Jonassen; Berg, Gashi, Nordkvelle (Samuelsen, 62 mins); Halvorsen, Akabueze (Occéan, half-time), Zekhnini.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Hyland; Madden, Kenna, Webster, Byrne; McCabe, Cregg (C Kavanagh, 67 mins); Miele (North, 80 mins), R Brennan, G Brennan; Drennan.

Referee: Marius Avram (Romania).

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