Football/Soccer

Derry City face tall order after home loss to Dinamo Minsk

Nino Galovic of Dinamo Minsk (4) celebrates his early goal against Derry City at Brandywell Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
From Seamus Crudden at Brandywell

Uefa Europa League first qualifying round, first leg: Derry City 0 Dinamo Minsk 2

DERRY CITY’S Europa League campaign for this season looks set to end at the first hurdle, as Dinamo Minsk secured a comfortable first leg advantage.

The Candystripes, who lost heavily at a similar stage last season, were second best as the Belarusians could easily have won by a bigger margin and worryingly for Kenny Shiels’ side they never looked like conceding a goal.

European football returned to the Brandywell for the first time in four years, but the City supporters failed to come out in their numbers.

The home side got off to the worst possible start as they fell a goal behind on two minutes after recent signing Danny Seaborne was caught out and pulled down Maksim Zhaunerchyk on the edge of the box and City never really recovered from then.

The resulting free-kick from Uros Nikolic lead to the visitors taking the lead after just two minutes when Nino Galovic volleyed home from close range, after City failed to clear their lines properly, Artsem Hurenka’s right-wing cross found the skipper at the back post.

City’s dreadful start continued as Rory Hale had to be replaced by his brother Ronan, after the midfielder had blocked Nikolic’s free-kick.

On 13 minutes Derry keeper Gerard Doherty had to make a stunning save to keep the score-line down when striker Uladzimir Khvashchynski saw his close range diving header superbly tipped over by the Derry captain.

After the poor start, the home side created a half chance themselves moments later as Jamie McDonagh broke down the right and his cross found substitute Ronan Hale, but his overhead kick flew over the bar.

Derry started the second half on the front foot and they went close to equalising on 48 minutes as Conor McDermott burst down the left before his cross was just out of Ronan Hale’s reach, as the young striker was unable to get his header on target.

Kenny Shiels looked to get back into the first leg encounter when he replaced Ally Roy with the club’s leading marksman in European football Rory Patterson.

Minsk were inches away from doubling their lead on 62 minutes but after passing their way into the City box. Anton Saroka’s low drive, which nearly went underneath Doherty, was gathered by the City keeper at the second attempt.

Doherty could do nothing two minutes later as the Belarusians did score a second as substitute Pilip Ivanou waltzed through the Derry rearguard before superbly out-foxing Doherty, as he cut the ball back to Uladzimir Khvashchynski, who calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.

Derry’s disappointing night got worse on 81 minutes as Conor McDermott was sent-off for a second bookable offence after he upended Uros Nikolic.

With a man advantage Minsk went in search of a third goal and they went close on 84 minutes as Saroka’s stinging 20-yard drive was parried around the post by a fully stretched Doherty.

Derry City: G Doherty, McDonagh, Cole, Seaborne, McDermott; Splaine, Rory Hale (Ronan Hale 5); Shiels, McEneff, Fisk (Peers 78); Roy (Patterson 60)

Dinamo Minsk: Harbunou, Galovic, Astraukh (Behunou 78), Yahaya, Kaplenka, Nikolic, Saroka, Zhaunerchyk (Ivanou 29), Khvashchynski (Salevi 66), Hurenka, Maksim

Goals: Galovic (2), Khvashchynski (64)

Referee: Nikola Popov (Bulgaria)

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