Shakhtyor leave Brandywell with one-goal advantage
Goalkeeper Doherty saves Derry from worse defeat in Europa Cup second qualifying round first leg
Shakhtyor Saligorsk’s Siarhei Balanovich (left) is tackled by Shane McEleney of Derry during last night’s Europa League Second Qualifying Round first leg tie at the Brandywell. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye
DERRY CITY 0 SHAKHTYOR SOLIGORSK 1 Derry City were grateful for the excellent performance of goalkeeper Ger Doherty following this slender defeat at the Brandywell last night. But while he produced several top-drawer stops, Derry were the architects of their own downfalland could have lost more comprehensively.
Hosting a well organised and committed Shakhtyor Soligorsk, the Candystripes will have no complaints and have a glimmer of hope in Belarus next Thursday.
Their undoubted hero, Doherty certainly earned his wages on a night on which the opposing custodian was never tested.
Having taken time to settle, the Belarusians dominated the scoring chances, with Derry’s only noteworthy effort in the opening half falling to Patrick McEleney, who dragged his shot wide in the 20th minute.
Aliaksandr Yurevich tested Doherty after just eight minutes before Ihar Kuzmianok crashed a 35-yard effort off the crossbar four minutes later.
Shane McEleney’s attempted back pass to Doherty fell short and the alert Nikolai Yanush intercepted and rounded the Derry goalkeeper before gleefully guiding the ball home.
ShakhTYor grew in confidence and midfielder Artem Stargorodskyy drove a shot narrowly wide and Siarhei Balanovich brought the best out of Doherty in the 40th minute, the netminder diving at full stretch to parry the effort before the ball was hacked to safety.
After the break Doherty again took prominence when denying Yanush a second goal when saving with his legs while Alekei Rios smashed an effort off the post in the 62nd minute.
Doherty then blocked a header from point blank range from substitute, Amitri Asipenka before the home side went so close to equalising.
Rory Patterson claimed possession inside the box in the 70th minute and while his shot beat keeper, Artur Kotenko, Kuzmianok was well placed to whip the ball off his goal-line. DERRY CITY: Doherty; McBride, S. McEleney, Byrne, Barry; Molloy, McNamee; Timlin, P McEleney (Boyle, 86), Duffy (Dooley, 62); Patterson. SHAKHTYOR SOLIGORSK: Kotenko; Kuzmianok, Yanushkevich, Kasheuski; Matveychik, Stargorodskyy, Galiuza, Yurevich; Balanovich (Guruli, 77), Yanush (Asipenka, 67), Rios (Tsevan, 87). Referee: D Grujic (Serbia).