Europa League: Cork City head for Sweden as Linfield seen off
Irish League side claim draw on Leeside as Mark Stafford cancels out Seán Maguire penalty
Cork City’s Seán Maguire celebrates scoring from the penalty spot in the Uefa Europa League first qualifying round second leg against Linfield at Turner’s Cross. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Cork City 1 Linfield 1 (Cork City win 2-1 on agg)
A clash with Sweden’s BK Häcken awaits Cork City in the second qualifying round of the Europa League after they won through on aggregate after a draw with Linfield at Turner’s Cross.
Leading 1-0 from last week’s first leg in Belfast, City looked very comfortable when Seán Maguire put them ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half, but almost immediately Linfield had a response when Mark Stafford headed home an equaliser.
Despite the visitors’ best efforts though, they couldn’t find a lead goal and John Caulfield’s side took the victory. Indeed, they will probably feel unlucky not to have won the game, as a series of excellent saves from Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll late in the second half kept Linfield in the tie.
It was a fair outcome overall, even if the home side might have posed more of a goal threat when well on top in the first half. While Maguire buzzed with intent in the centre forward role, he wasn’t afforded any clear sights at goal and the best chance fell to Steven Beattie from Stephen Dooley’s 10th-minute pass but Carroll was out quick to save well and then Dooley’s shot was blocked by Jamie Mulgrew.
It remained scoreless at half-time but the second half was less than three minutes old when Maguire was pushed in the penalty area by Matthew Clarke and Polish referee Bartosz Frankowski pointed to the spot. While Carroll got his hand to Maguire’s penalty, he couldn’t keep it out.
Linfield were forced to attack and it paid immediate dividends. From a free kick on the right, former City man Ross Gaynor produced a great delivery and Stafford rose to head past Mark McNulty.
The hosts weren’t cowed by the concession though and continued to create chances, with Carroll denying Maguire, subs Danny Morrissey and Mark O’Sullivan and Gearoid Morrissey with a string of saves. The Rebel Army didn’t re-take the lead but they didn’t need to and they head to Sweden next week in high spirits.
CORK CITY: McNulty; McSweeney (O’Sullivan 56), Bennett, Browne, O’Connor; G Morrissey, Buckley (Healy 65); Beattie, Holohan (D Morrissey 56), Dooley; Maguire.
LINFIELD: Carroll; Clarke (McLellan 89), Stafford, Haughey, Quinn; Millar (Burns 78), Lowry, Mulgrew, Gaynor; Smith, Waterworth.
Referee: B Frankowski (Poland).