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4 - 2
FT

Sergei Zenjov 13' -
Scored: 13'


Martin Miller 27' -
Scored: 27'


Rauno Sappinen 76' -
Scored: 76'


Martin Miller 87' -
Scored: 87'


Scored: 44'
- Graham Burke 44'

Scored: 86'
- Liam Scales 86'


Europa Conference League Play-off Report: Flora Tallinn 4 - 2 Shamrock Rovers

Thu, Aug 19 2021

Macdara Ferris reports from the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn

Back in Tallaght next week there is an awufl lot for Shamrock Rovers to do if they are to make the groups stages of the inaugural Europa Conference League having lost 4-2 in the play-off first leg in Tallinn on Thursday evening.

The Hoops suffered their second defeat in five European games this season and it was another away loss by two goals and Hoops will have to fight hard if their European adventure is to continue into next month and beyond.

Stephen Bradley had spoken ahead of the game how he felt Flora Tallinn were the best side the Hoops would face so far in Europe including Slovan Bratislava who beat the Hoops 2-0 away in the first leg of their Champions League tie.

They lived up to that billing in the opening half where their press and counter-attack caused Bradley’s side all sorts of trouble. The Hoops found themselves two goals down inside the first half an hour as twice Flora ripped Rovers apart. 

The first came on 13 minutes when they pressed the Hoops into their own corner. Joey O’Brien should have gone long but his short pass was intercepted allowing the Flora skipper Konstantin Vassiljev play the ball in to Sergei Zenjov, splitting the centre halfs. He had time to side foot the ball into the back of the net by Alan Mannus.

Flora didn’t close down Graham Burke quickly enough on the edge of the box on a couple of occasions and Burke let fly with a shot that just fizzed over the bar on 27 minutes.

The home side, looking to become the first Estonian side to make the group stages of a UEFA club competition, doubled their lead in their next attack. They broke at speed and Rauno Sappinen slid the ball into Martin Miller and he gave Mannus no chance.

It certainly wasn’t only one way traffic though as the Hoops forced a number of corners in the first. Rory Gaffney led the line well holding the ball up and Rovers looked to use their wing backs with both Liam Scales and Ronan Finn getting forward on either side. 

Sean Hoare, who came into the Rovers side for the injured Lee Grace, on a couple of occasions hit raking diagonal balls from the back to send Finn into space on the right. Four minutes before half time, from one of those passes Finn played in Gaffney. His shot was heading on goal needed a timely block to stop Rovers halving the defecit but they would do so moments later.

Burke played in Dylan Watts and his shot was pushed behind by Matvei Igonen with the Hoops scoring from the resulting corner. Watts’ centre caused a mad scramble in the box and when the ball broke to Burke, the all-time top scorer in Europe for the Hoops, rattled home his sixth goal in European action.

Flora striker Sappinen has been lethal in Europe this season with six goals in six games and he should have made it seven ten minutes into the second period when a mistake from Roberto Lopes allowed him race in on goal. Mannus stood firm and superbly saved Sappinen’s shot to save Lopes’ blushes.

Soon after he had another effort when Rovers looked for the flag to go up. It didn’t but thankfully from a Rovers perspective  Sappinen’s shot went up and over the bar.

He got his goal on 76 minutes though as Sergei Zenjov sent him in and while Mannus saved Sappinen’s first shot, the striker got up quickly to beat Mannus to the ball and slot home Flora’s third.

Hoops substitute Danny Mandroiu hit the butt of the post with Igonen beaten on 79 minutes. Celtic bound Liam Scales scored four minutes from time as his back post header off a Burke centre looped over the 'keeper to very much bring the Hoops back into the game.

But Bradley will be bitterly disappointed that they conceded another goal soon after.

Miller got his second goal of the game three minutes from time off a Sappinen centre as he powered home Flora’s fourth of the evening to put the Estonian champions in the driving seat in this tie.

With their next league fixture postponed – a Dublin derby against Bohemians – Stephen Bradley and his team will at least have no distractions ahead of the second leg in Tallaght next Thursday.

The prize for the winners is six more games in Europe to take them playing right through to December and prize money from UEFA of €2.94m but at present it looks like it will be Flora whose bank account will be swelled.

Flora Tallinn: Matvei Igonen; Ken Kallaste, Markkus Seppik, Henrik Purg (Erko Jonne Tougjas 90+3), Michael Lilander; Markus Soomets; Henrik Ojamaa, Martin Miller, Konstantin Vassiljev (c), Sergei Zenjov; Rauno Sappinen  (Rauno Alliku 89).

Subs not used: Rocco Robert Shein, Karl-Romet Nomm, Evert Grunvald, Kristo Hussar, Henri Valja, Danil Kuraksin, Sten Reinkort, Markus Poom. 

Booked: None. 

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O'Brien, Roberto Lopes, Sean Hoare; Ronan Finn (c), Gary O'Neill, Dylan Watts, Liam Scales; Richie Towell (Daniel Mandroiu 68); Rory Gaffney (Aaron Greene 54), Graham Burke.

Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Sean Kavanagh, Sean Gannon, Max Murphy, Chris McCann. 

Booked: Joey O'Brien (37) . 

Referee: Yevhenii Aranovskiy (Ukraine)

Attendance: 1,000 (estimate)

extratime.com Player of the Match: Rauno Sappinen (Flora Tallinn)


Flora Tallinn
WJuly 13, 2021
Hibernians 0 - 3 Flora Tallinn
LJuly 21, 2021
Legia Warsaw 2 - 1 Flora Tallinn
LJuly 27, 2021
Flora Tallinn 0 - 1 Legia Warsaw
WAug. 19, 2021
Flora Tallinn 4 - 2 Shamrock R
WAug. 26, 2021
Shamrock R 0 - 1 Flora Tallinn
Matvei Igonen
Goalkeeper
Michael Lilander
Defender
Ken Kallaste
Defender
Henrik Purg
90'
90Subbed Off: Erko Tougjas 90'
Defender
Markkus Seppik
Defender
Henrik Ojamaa
Midfielder
Martin Miller
Scored: 27'
Scored: 87'
Midfielder
Markus Soomets
Midfielder
© Konstantin Vassiljev
Midfielder
Sergei Zenjov
Scored: 13'
Midfielder
Rauno Sappinen
Scored: 76'
89'
89Subbed Off: Rauno Alliku 89'
Forward

Substitutes
Markus Poom
Unknown
Karl-Romet Nomm
Goalkeeper
Danil Kuraksin
Forward
Kristo Hussar
Defender
Evert Grunvald
Goalkeeper
Rauno Alliku
89'
89Subbed On: Rauno Sappinen 89'
Midfield
Sten Reinkort
Forward
Rocco Robert Shein
Midfield
Henri Valja
Midfield
Shamrock R
WOct. 29, 2021
Shamrock R 3 - 0 Harps
WNov. 5, 2021
Waterford 1 - 3 Shamrock R
LNov. 12, 2021
Bohs 3 - 1 Shamrock R
WNov. 19, 2021
Shamrock R 2 - 1 Drogheda
WJan. 15, 2022
Fairview 0 - 1 Shamrock R
1 Alan Mannus
Goalkeeper
4 Pico
Defender
3 Sean Hoare
Defender
28 Joey O'Brien
Defender
Booked: 37'
8 Ronan Finn ©
Midfielder
16 Gary O'Neill
Midfielder
15 Liam Scales
Midfielder
Scored: 86'
7 Dylan Watts
Midfielder
20 Rory Gaffney
Forward 54'
54Subbed Off: Aaron Greene 54'
10 Graham Burke
Forward
Scored: 44'
17 Richie Towell
Forward 68'
68Subbed Off: Daniel Mandroiu 68'

Substitutes
26 Chris McCann
Midfield
14 Daniel Mandroiu
Midfield 68'
68Subbed On: Richie Towell 68'
11 Sean Kavanagh
Defender
9 Aaron Greene
Forward 54'
54Subbed On: Rory Gaffney 54'
2 Sean Gannon
Defender
24 Max Murphy
Midfield
25 Leon Pohls
Goalkeeper

MATCH INFO

Competition: 2021/2022 Europa Conference League Play-Off

Date: 5 p.m. Aug. 19, 2021

Venue: Lillekula Stadium

Referee: Unknown

Attendance: Unknown

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