Europa Conference League Qualifier Report: Ferencvaros 4 - 0 Shamrock Rovers

Ferencvaros and Shamrock Rovers line up prior to the game

Ferencvaros and Shamrock Rovers line up prior to the game Credit: Macdara Ferris (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from Budapest

Just the same as last season the Hoops suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Ferencvaros in the first leg of a European tie in Budapest.

It was another chastening defeat for Rovers away from home with the Hoops now without a win in their last six competitive games and having lost their last four European games.

They are looking down the barrel of back-to-back European tie defeats and an exit out of Europe after just four games – the heady days of their 14 game group stage European campaign last season seem a distant memory.

Ferencvaros had suffered a shock 3-0 Champions League qualifier defeat at home last week to Faroe Islands champions KI Klaksvik to drop into the Europa Conference League but lightening didn’t strike twice in Europe in successive weeks.

The five-in-a-row Hungarian champions showed their quality and look like a team that will manage to make their way through these qualifiers an into group stage football for the fifth year in a row.

With the two teams having been dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers last week, both managers made wholesale changes to their starting lineups.

New Green Eagles boss Csaba Máté switched five players, including three of the club’s back four from their 3-0 shock loss to Faroe Island champions Klaksvik, while Stephen Bradley made four from the team who exited the Champions League in Iceland.

With Rory Gaffney out injured, Johnny Kenny came in while Ronan Finn and Rovers' all-time top scorer in Europe Graham Burke (with eight goals) were left on the bench.

Alan Mannus came in for his first European start of the season in place of Leon Pohls but it was Mannus’ horrendous mistake that meant the Hoops trailed after 16 minutes.

Rovers had a couple of early corners having started the game well in the opening ten minutes, taking the game to the Green Eagles when they could, and dropping into a five at the back formation without the ball.

A Liam Burt run on six minutes where he danced through a couple of challenges on the edge of the area before shooting was his team’s best chance of the half.

Ferencvaros got two corners in quick succession and it was from the second one that they scored from. Mannus punched the initial corner clear from Cristian Ramírez but when Dávid Sigér’s deflected looping effort off Pico Lopes came back in he inexplicably let it get by him just under the crossbar as the Hoops half-heartedly looked for a free out.

Rovers really retreated after that goal with 11 men mostly behind the ball with Ferencvaros dominating possession with the Hoops having great difficulty getting on the ball and then keeping it when they did so.

Ramírez, in his first game back for Ferencvaros after his recent re-signing, doubled his team’s advantage in the 32nd minute when he was able to line up a shot from outside the area. His driven effort, through traffic, beat Mannus diving to his right.

The Hoops hung on without conceding another going into the break but they looked devoid of ideas after the concession of the first goal and two minutes into the second period Rovers were three down.

Ramírez’s cross from the right was powerfully headed home by Adama Traoré (who scored twice against the Hoops in Budapest last year).

Ferencvaros matched their score from the last time they played Rovers in Budapest when Adam Varga slotted home their fourth after Traore got by Sean Kavanagh in the 74th minute.

Rovers did rattle the crossbar with a shot with Kenny just before he made way for Aaron Greene with 16-year-old Naj Razi also coming on for the Hoops for his European debut.

By then Rovers were four down after  Traore has skinned Sean Kavanagh with his centre coming to Adam Varga who slotted it home from close range.

League of Ireland sides remain without an away win in Hungary with the record now reading six defeats and two draws from the games down the years.

Ferencvaros: Denes Dibusz; Cebrails Makreckis, Samy Mmaee, Ibrahim Cisse, Cristian Ramírez; Mohammad Abu Fani, Dávid Sigér (Anderson Esiti 77); Kristoffer Zachariassen (Mohamed Ben Romdhane 71); Marcos Marquinhos (Krisztián Lisztes 71), Zétény Varga (Máté Katona 87), Adama Traoré (Kwabwena Owusu 77).
Subs not used: Adam Varga, Leo Abena, Eldar Civic, Mats Knoester, Lóránd Pászka, Amer Gojak, Péter Baráth,
Booked: None

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Daniel Cleary, Pico Lopes ©, Lee Grace; Sean Hoare, Gary O'Neill, Markus Poom, Sean Kavanagh; Richie Towell (Ronan Finn 49), Johnny Kenny (Aaron Greene 79), Liam Burt (Naj Razi 79).
Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Toms Leitis, Kieran Cruise, Sean Gannon, Dylan Watts, Simon Power, Graham Burke, Conan Noonan.
Booked: Sean Hoare (50), Ronan Finn (57).

Referee: Ashot Ghaltakhchyan (Armenia)

Attendance: 15,000 (estimate) Player of the Match: Cristian Ramirez (Ferencvaros)