Crusaders to face Premier League outfit Wolves in Europa League

Paul Heatley scored twice as Crusaders progressed last night
Andy Watters

CRUSADERS landed a glamour tie against English Premier League outfit Wolves in the second qualifying round of the Europa League thanks to their 3-2 win against Faroe Island’s outfit Torshavn last night.

Stephen Baxter’s men led 2-0 from the first leg at Seaview and a third-minute goal from Jordan Forsythe got them off to the start they needed last night. Paul Heatley’s 28th minute strike put the Crues in complete command in the tie and, although Gilli Samuelson and ?ukasz Cie?lewicz pulled goals back before the break, Heatley’s second after 68 minutes calmed any nerves in the Crusaders ranks, sending them through with a 5-2 win on aggregate.

Crusaders now take on Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves with the first leg at Molineux on July 25 and the second in Belfast on August 1.

However, there was bad news for Crusaders’ city rivals Cliftonville who lost 5-1 away to FK Haugesund of Norway last night.

Paddy McLaughlin’s Reds had lost the first leg 1-0 at Solitude and an early Kristoffer Velde goal for the hosts left them with the proverbial mountain to climb in Norway. A Conor McMenamin goal had them back on terms on the night until 10 minutes from half-time when Norway international Martin Samuelson edged Haugesund back in front.

Joe Gormley missed a chance to level the game as the home side pulled away after the break with Velde’s second and further strikes from Bruno Leite and Ibrahim Kone completed a 6-1 aggregate win for the Scandinavian side.

Elsewhere, Ballymena United were unable to salvage pride as Sweden’s Malmo cruised to a 4-0 in the second leg of their one-sided tie at the Showgrounds last night.

Malmo had romped to a 7-0 win in the first leg with Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg netting a hat-trick. David Jeffrey’s Braidmen gave a better account of themselves last night but Behrang Safari and Guillermo Molins both found the net as the Swedes romped to an 11-0 win over the two legs.

Meanwhile, Jordan Larrson, son of Celtic legend Henrik, scored the first goal as Sweden’s IFK Norrkoping dashed St Patrick's Athletic hopes of qualifying.

Having lost the first leg 2-0 in Inchicore, Pat’s had it all to do in the return and, after Gary Shaw had missed an early chance, Larsson tapped the ball into an unguarded net after Brendan Clarke had saved from Alexander Fransson.

Conor Clifford did pull a goal back after 72 minutes and Dean Clarke and Kevin Toner both went close but Norrkoping made certain of their progression when Kalle Holmberg scored the winner for the Swedes with five minutes left.

In Luxembourg, Cork City's hopes of meeting Rangers (10-0 aggregate winners against Gibraltar’s St Joseph’s) in the second round were dashed despite their 2-1 win against Progrés Niederkorn last night. Niederkorn led 2-1 from the first leg at Turner’s Cross meaning that goals from Garry Buckley and Conor McCarthy weren’t enough to prevent a 3-2 loss on aggregate.

But Shamrock Rovers did go through. After a 2-2 draw in Norway, Daouda Bamba scored for the visitors at Tallaght Stadium only for Jack Byrne to equalise. Gary O'Neill struck a dramatic winner three minutes from time to send Rovers into the second round.

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