Cork City 0 Progrès Niederkorn 2
CORK City’s European campaign is on the rocks and they have it all to do when they make the trip to Luxembourg next week after a disappointing defeat a Turner’s Cross.
Progrès Niederkorn hold a two-goal advantage heading into the return leg next week. In truth‘, City have it all to do to turn this around.
Their opposition here weren’t special, but they took the chances which came their way, and are in strong control of this tie. It’s now seven games without a goal in Europe for the Leesiders.
It was another night of frustration in 2019 for Cork City at Turner’s Cross.
All in all, this has been a frustrating night on Leeside, with the problems of City in the attacking third of the pitch all too clear once more this season.
The Rebel Army, who came into this clash without a win in seven games in all competitions, went with the same starting 11 that drew with Bohemians last Friday night.
Progrès, who overcame the challenge of Cardiff Metropolitan University in the preliminary round, were last on Irish soil in 2015 when they were defeated by Shamrock Rovers 3-0 on aggregate.
Despite what seemed a bright City start, the visitors went into the lead on the 10-minute mark.
Belmin Muratovic was lively at the back post and he punished some hesitant City defending, dispossessing Colm Horgan, before finishing with a low and powerful effort beyond the reach of Mark McNulty.
Although Cork tried to muster a good response, they were dealt another blow when Progrès were awarded a penalty kick, when Horgan took down Mayron De Almeida inside the area.
It was De Almeida that stepped up himself to take it and he duly converted with an impressively taken effort.
Turners Cross was stunned into silence. Despite that, the hosts were given a lifeline in the tie when City were awarded a penalty kick of their own.
Karl Sheppard struck his penalty right down the middle, but the visiting shot-stopper was on hand to make a save with his leg.
City continued to try and forge a route back into the game the longer the opening half wore on. Gearóid Morrissey saw a long-range effort saved, while Conor McCarthy headed wide at the back post.
But it was the men from Luxembourg that went in at the half time break very satisfied with their evening’s work to that point.
Early in the second half, Mark O’Sullivan put a good ball into the box which just missed the head of Sheppard.
City saw plenty of possession but what they were creating with it was generally quite limited by the midway stage of the second half.
Gary Boylan did manage to put in a good ball on the 70th-minute mark, but Ronan Hurley fired well wide with his attempt on the volley.
The visitors indeed threatened to add to their lead, as Tom Laterza went close with an effort around the edge of the box.
De Almeida saw his effort from a free kick saved by McNulty, as despite them not having the majority of the ball, Progres still had the greater chances on goal in the second half.
The sense grew more and more that City were lacking that cutting edge in the final third.
The Rebel Army saw plenty of the ball in this clash but that attacking quality was lacking, and it proved oh so costly.
Heading into the return leg, it seems like a very tall task at this stage for City to turn this tie around.
Rangers, at this stage, look like they will be preparing for a trip to Luxembourg in a few weeks time.
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty: Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Sean McLoughlin: Colm Horgan, Gearóid Morrissey, Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley, Ronan Hurley: Joel Coustrain, Karl Sheppard.
Subs: Mark O’Sullivan for Horgan (23), Gary Boylan for Buckley (61), Darragh Crowley for Coustrain (79).
PROGRES: Sebastian Flauss: Tom Laterza, Aldin Skenderovic, Tim Hall, Metin Karayer: Ben Vogel: Belmin Muratovic, Christian Silaj, Sébastien Thill, Mayron De Almeida: Kempes Waldemar Tekiela.
Subs: Jack Mmaee for Muratovic (70), Adrian Ferino for Thill (87), Yann Marques for Tekiela (90).
Referee: Aleksandrs Anufrijevs (Latvia).