Europa Conference League Report: HB Torshavn 0 - 0 Derry City

Ruaidhri Higgins

Ruaidhri Higgins side drew 0-0 in their Euro clash Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Thursday's somewhat low-key first-leg saw Derry having the upper hand, but failing to find a lead to take home. Being under pressure for most of the opening half, they dominated the majority of the second.

Only a blend of brave defending and stellar goalkeeping prevented them from earning the victory. After this game, no Irish side has won their matches this week.

Perhaps, it's a decent result for the home side, who have been displaying inconsistent form domestically. They seemed comfortable in possession and intermittently pressed Derry high up the pitch but lacked the telling pass. Their primary goal was to keep the tie alive, and they just about held off their visitors.

Jakup Joensen made three changes from an away loss to the current leaders, Klaksvik, at the weekend. Aki Samuelsen, Bartal Wardum, and Ari Mohr Jonsson all joined the side in favor of Hedin Hansen, Mikkel Dahl, and Daniel Johansen.

Ruaidhri Higgins made two changes from the side that narrowly beat Sligo at home on Friday night. Brandon Kavanagh and Jamie McGonigle made way for Shane McEleney and Daniel Mullen in a more defensively-minded lineup.

HB started brighter as Derry opted for a cautious approach in the opening period. The hosts consistently tried to play the ball out from the back, finding willing recipients in midfield.

This was likely prompted by their visitors playing Daniel Mullen on his own up front with two deep-lying midfielders. Viljormur Davidsen and Adrian Justinussen posed a threat out wide, taking advantage of the narrow shape in midfield employed.

Their best chance came as Davidsen flashed the ball across the box before it was half-cleared as far as Emil Berger. His shot clipped the post before going wide.

Michael Duffy created most of the few chances at the other end. He set Ben Doherty through on goal before he was flagged for offside. He then combined with Cameron Dummigan for a deep cross that lacked the numbers in the box to make it count.

Higgins decided to switch the positions of Mark Connolly and Shane McEleney, which seemed to offer more solidity. Duffy, fed out wide by Sadou Diallo, found the unmarked Paul McMullen.

His on-target effort was dealt with by Bjarti Mork. Dummigan then saw his effort blocked away from the subsequent corner.

The away side ended the half on the front foot, trying to strike first. Despite some half-chances, neither side could score, leaving it goalless at the break.

Higgins made some attacking switches at half-time as he looked to seize control. The home side aimed to regain their composure at the start.

Cameron McJannet was forced to clear away a dangerous corner before Aki Samuelsen clipped a great ball into the path of Mads Borchers as the Derry back-line retreated. However, he couldn't make proper contact.

Derry's substitute, Jamie McGonigle, began posing a danger to the HB backline. He received a ball from McMullen, shrugged off his marker's attention, and fired towards goal, only for Mork to save it smartly.

The game was getting stretched as both sides tried to gain control, aware that any mistake could prove costly.

Another substitute, Will Patching, almost gave the away side the lead with his very first touch. He sent a free-kick towards the back post where it was met by Ciaran Coll.

It seemed to be destined for the top corner, but Mork just about palmed it away. He also denied Duffy from the resulting corner.

In the closing stages, a combination of Mork and Hordur Askham kept McGonigle at bay. Mork stopped the striker low after Duffy found him with a smart pass. The big centre-half then quickly got ahead of him when Duffy fed him again.

So, it's honors even in this tie. Derry will be confident of completing the job next week, but they know they must improve to do so. They will face off at Ryan McBride Brandywell at 19:45 to decide who proceeds to the second qualifying round.

HB: Bjarti Vitalis Mork; Hordur Askham, Viljormur í Heiðunum Davidsen, Hanus Sørensen, Bartal Wardum (Samuel Johansen Chukwudi 86); Emil Berger, Dan Í Soylu (Tróndur Jensen 86), Adrian Justinusson; Mads Borchers, Ari Mohr Jonsson, Aki Samuelsen (Jákup Thomsen 64).
Subs not used: Teitur Gestsson, Trygvi Askham, Daniel Johansen, Ári Mohr Jónsson, Ejvind Restorff Mouritsen, Heðin Hansen, Mikkel Dahl.
Booked: Matthias Præst Nielsen (84), Hordur Askham (89).
Sent off: None.

Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce, Mark Connolly, Shane McEleney, Cameron McJannet (Ciaran Coll 79); Sadou Diallo (Brandon Kavanagh 62), Ben Doherty (Will Patching 46), Michael Duffy, Cameron Dummigan, Paul McMullen (Patrick McEleney 62); Danny Mullen (Jamie McGonigle 46).
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Cian Kavanagh, Jordan McEneff.
Booked: Mark Connolly (83).
Sent off: None.

Referee: Kristoffer Hagenes
Attendance: None Player of the Match: Michael Duffy