Europa League Report: Shamrock Rovers 2 - 2 Ilves Tampere (Shamrock Rovers win 12 - 11 on penalties AET)

Thu, Aug 27 2020

Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium

On a dramatic and damp night in Tallaght Shamrock Rovers made it through the second qualifying round of the Europa League but they very much did it the hard way – playing with ten men for extratime – and progressing on penalties 12-11 after an incredible shoot out in a tense Tallaght Stadium after the match ended 2-2 after extra-time.

Alan Mannus was the hero scoring his spot kick and saving Ilves 13th spotkick enabling Joey O’Brien to score his second peno and send the Hoops into Monday’s draw for the next round.

The teams emerged onto the pitch with the Europa League theme tune blasting out over the PA and it echoed around the empty stands in Tallaght Stadium. The one legged nature of the game – with away goals not counting double – made it a more open game and Rovers were certainly the better team in the first 45.

However the visitors started the game well, held possession well and pressed Rovers hard when the Hoops had the ball. They forced a turnover on nine minutes and Eero Tamminen’s centre from the left seemed to hit Joey O’Brien flush in the face in the box but Slovakian referee Michal Ocenas deemed it a handball and pointed to the spot much to Rovers’ disgust.

Lauri Ala-Myllymaki made no mistake from the spotkick sending Alan Mannus the wrong way. Aaron Greene had a great chance to equalise two minutes after falling behind but Mika Hilander – the Ilves goalkeeper - got out quickly to save.

However the Hoops didn’t have to wait too long for a goal. It was their turn to press and force a mistake and it was Greene who was the provider. He passed to Graham Burke who opened up and curled a beautiful left foot shot into the corner of the net.

Burke was quick to get on the ball throughout the half and he brought his shooting boots with him. He took a free kick that took a deflection that just took the ball by the goal for a corner and he also clipped the top of the bar with a dipping shot from distance – that last effort came a couple of minutes after he went down in the box following by large shouts for a peno that wasn’t given.

The Hoops really should have taken a half time lead with them into the break but having said that Ilves still had their moments. A superbly timed sliding tackle in the box by Joey O’Brien was required to snuff out a great opportunity for Jair Tavares Silva as he looks set to shoot at the edge of the six yard box.

On the damp pitch there was plenty of passes zipped by Rovers around in front of the Ilves back five – coupled with some long range raking passing from Jack Byrne to the wings particularly to Neil Farrugia.

One slide rule pass from Byrne saw Farrugia find Burke whose shot was heading goalwards only to be deflected behind for another Hoops corner.

The second half soundtrack had added rain as it turned into a heavy downpour bouncing off the roof and it was a more cagey affair as neither team wanted to make a mistake that might cost them a place in the second round.

It was Ilves who were celebrating just after the hour mark as Lauri Ala-Myllymaki squared to Joona Veteli and he curled his effort from outside the box by the despairing hand of Alan Mannus.

The Finnish team after that goal unsurprisingly were happy enough to drop off and let Rovers have the ball. Substitute Dylan Watts brought a bit more urgency to Rovers play and tried his luck from distance on two occasions. The last couple of league games that had ended scoreless had given the Hoops practice at trying to break deep lying opposition but it was a set piece that got them back level. Byrne’s corner on 78 minutes was met by the excellently timed run by Roberto Lopes and he flicked the ball home with his boot at the near post for his third goal in Europe in the last two seasons.

The Hoops cause wasn’t helped by the sending off of Liam Scales. The Slovakian referee had a mixed night but he got the two yellow cards for the Rovers defender correct. Scales got his first for pulling back Tatu Miettunen early in the second half and in the 87th minute he got his next one – and a red – for fouling Jair Tavares Silva as the visitors were breaking from their own half.

O’Neill dropped into the back three in place of Scales with Greene slotting in on the left wing back role as 20-year-old Dean Williams coming on up front for his European debut.

Six minutes into extra time there was more refereeing controversy as Mannus picked up a ball back to him off Aaron McEneff that the ‘keeper was adamant had taken a touch of an Ilves player. The Hoops had to form their wall on the line and Ala-Myllymaki’s drilled effort was cleared off the line by Lopes in real let off for Rovers.

The Hoops were helped in extra-time by some vocal encouragement from a group of about eight fans who climbed onto the stadium perimeter wall to cheer on their team. Their team defended compactly as they looked to take the game to penalties.

In the last minute of the extra 30 it looked like Diogo Tomas’ header had crept in but it went just by the post and the match went to penalties.

The Hoops lost the toss and had to go second and promptly missed their first spot kick through Jack Byrne but they scored the next dozen spotkicks in the most tense of shootouts.


Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Liam Scales; Ronan Finn ©, Gary O’Neill, Jack Byrne, Aaron McEneff, Neil Farrugia (Dean Williams 78); Graham Burke (Dylan Watts 64); Aaron Greene (Daniel Lafferty 104).

Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk), Rhys Marshall, Sean Callan, Thomas Oluwa. .

Booked: Graham Burke (34), Gary O’Neill (50), Liam Scales (52 + 87), Ronan Finn (90+1).

Sent off: Liam Scales (87)


Ilves Tampere: Mika Hilander ©; Tatu Miettunen, Diogo Tomas, Mikael Almen; Felipe Aspergen (Doni Arifi 111), Joona Veteli (Tuure Siira 82), Jair Tavares Silva, Eero Tamminen (Eetu Mommo 99); Lauri Ala-Myllymaki, Illari Mettala (Eemeli Raittinen 78), Natan Skytta.

Subs not used: Matias Riikonen, Juho Pietola, Tuure Mantynen.

Booked: Tatu Miettunen (61), Felipe Aspergen (74), Diogo Tomas (114).


Referee: Michal Ocenas (Slovakia)

Attendance: 0 Player of the Match: Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers)