Dinamo Minsk 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 1
A stunning strike from Christy Fagan earned St Patrick’s Athletic a deserved draw in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie with Dinamo Minsk on Thursday evening.
After beating Jeunnesse Esch of Luxembourg in the last round, Liam Buckley’s side travelled to Belarus as underdogs against a fancied Dinamo team.
But it was Pat’s who started the brighter as Fagan fired a shot wide following some good creative play down the left before Billy Dennehy headed narrowly over the bar from a corner.
But Dinamo – who finished second in their domestic league last season – soon took the initiative and began to control the game.
After 25 minutes they took the lead. Yuri Ostroukh fed Gleb Rassadkin down the left flank, and he picked out 37-year-old Vladimir Korytko, who opened up his body before curling the ball brilliantly past Brendan Clarke.
The home side took their lead into the break but Pat’s showed great resilience when the teams came back out.
And, after 54 minutes, the Irish side got their reward.
A long kick-out from Clarke was cleared only as far as Ian Bermingham who was charging down the left. The full-back cut inside and fed Fagan on the edge of the box.
The Pat’s striker still had a lot to do as he neatly turned before curling a superb effort around the defender and into the bottom right corner to give his side a crucial away goal.
Bad news followed, however, when Fagan was forced off with an injury.
The Belarussians were rocked and threw on two new strikers in the hope of snatching a winner.
However Clarke was untroubled and St Patrick’s held out to take a 1-1 draw to Inchicore next week.
DINAMO MINSK: Ignatovich, Habovda, Noyok, Kaplenko, Ostroukh, Zhukovski (c) (Rotkovic 70), Bykov, Premudrov, Korytko (Shramchenko 79), Khvaschinski (El Monir 57), Rassadkhin.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke, O’Brien (c), D Dennehy, Hoare, Bermingham, B Dennehy, Treacy (Cawley 73), G Kelly, Byrne, Fagan (Corcoran 78), Timlin (Verdon 78).
Referee: Igor Stojiljkovic (Serbia).