Europa Conference League Report: Teuta 0 - 2 Shamrock Rovers (Rovers win 3-0 on agg)Thu, Aug 12 2021
Rory Gaffney bagged a brace in a professional Shamrock Rovers performance that earned the Hoops a spot in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa Conference League at the expense of Teuta.
The 2-0 win was Rovers’ largest winning margin in Europe away from home for 39 years.
The Hoops backed up their 1-0 first leg victory in Tallaght with this win in Albania that will swell the coffers at Rovers by €300,000. If the Hoops can progress past Flora Tallinn in the next round, UEFA will be sending on ten times that amount for qualification into the group stages of this inaugural competition.
With the match moved 80km from Teuta’s home venue, there was no heated hostile atmosphere with just a few hundred spectators watching from the stands behind the running track around the Elbasan arena. With the sun set by kick-off, the Hoops were glad that the temperatures had dropped to 33 degrees by the start of the game.
The home side brought more attacking intent to this second leg – although that wouldn’t be hard after the ultra-defensive performance in Tallaght.
Ten minutes in and Richie Towell had the first chance of the game. When Dylan Watts’ deep corner that came to Rory Gaffney was cleared to the edge of the area, Towell took on the shot that had Stivi Frasheri scrambling to save but it just went wide of the post.
Decent chances did come Teuta’s way and they really should have put the ball by Alan Mannus from those efforts.
Taulijan Sulejmanov ran onto a looped cross and was unmarked in the penalty area only to miss while Asion Daja had the full goal to aim at only to slice his chance clear of goal on 27 minutes.
By that stage the Hoops were 1-0 up after Rory Gaffney scored a fine goal down the left on 20 minutes, just a minute after Rovers had hit the post. He out muscled Albano Aleksi on and then lifted the ball over the advancing ‘keeper for the opener.
Teuta tried to trouble Mannus with shots from Daja, Emilian Vila and Erando Karabeci but each time they couldn’t get their efforts on target.
Stephen Bradley's side had the ball in the back of the net four minutes from the break but Danny Mandriou’s header was ruled out for a Lee Grace foul on the Frasheri.
The Hoops had to weather a strong start to the second half by the home team but were able to exploit the space left just after the hour mark to double their second leg lead as Teuta pushed forward.
The creator was Liam Scales who took the ball from his own half and went forward down the left wing. He sent Gaffney through on goal who took the shot on early to score his 11th goal of the season and effectively wrap up the win.
When Frasheri spilled substitute Graham Burke’s shot on 66 minutes it looked like Gaffney following up had scored the first hat-trick by a Rovers player in Europe only for the offside flag to correctly rule it out.
The game fizzled out after this with both sides using up their five allotted substitutes and Rovers stood firm to earn their first clean sheet in Europe in four seasons and their third clean sheet in a row (and their seventh win in a row) in all competitions.
A decade ago Rovers beat Flora Tallinn 1-0 on aggregate in their first game of a European run that culminated in qualification for the group stages of the Europa League.
A repeat performance over the next fortnight will reward Rovers with another group stage qualification.
Teuta Durres: Stivi Frasheri; Blagoja Todorovski (Ledio Beqja 82), Albano Aleksi, Renato Arapi (c), Jackson; Asion Daja, Erando Karabeci (Ildi Gruda 69); Emilian Vila, Sherif Kallaku, Sebino Plaku (Silvio Zogaj 74); Tauljan Sulejmanov (Pepi Georgiev 69).
Subs not used: Bobi Celeski (gk), Hristijan Dragarski, Blerim Kotobelli, Artan Jazxhi, Adolf Selmani, Dejvid Kapllani.
Booked: Blerim Kotobelli (86).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Joey O'Brien (Sean Hoare 77); Ronan Finn (Sean Gannon 70), Gary O'Neill, Richie Towell (Graham Burke 59), Dylan Watts (Chris McCann 78), Liam Scales; Daniel Mandroiu, Rory Gaffney (Aaron Greene 69).
Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk), Sean Kavanagh, Max Murphy, Aidomo Emakhu.
Booked: Joey O'Brien (57) ,Dylan Watts (77) ,Sean Hoare (85) Graham Burke (87).
Referee: Petri Viljanen (Finland)
Attendance: 750 (estimate)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Rory Gaffney (Shamrock Rovers)