City boss Caulfield: This Europa League tie is still in the balance

City boss Caulfield: This Europa League tie is still in the balance
Cork City manager John Caufield. Picture: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

CORK City boss John Caulfield was understandably a little downbeat and dejected at his after-match press conference in the boardroom of the Munster FA after Cork City were beaten 1-0 at home in the Europa League.

“It was a difficult game for us because AEK were so good in possession that we had to make the most of our limited possession. The killer for me was that it was such a sloppy goal to give away from a set piece and that’s so unlike us. We probably could have done with Alan Bennett in there but it wasn’t to be.

“The fact of the matter is that they are a quality team with five full internationals and they are all ball players. 

"They were a bit cynical in the way they went down easily and feigned injury but that’s creeping into European football and that annoys the hell out of me,” said Caulfield after his team’s 1-0 first leg defeat.

“On the flip side of it, is that Seanie Maguire was too honest in the box, and if he had gone down, we might have had a late spot kick. He told me afterwards that the ref gave him nothing all night and he elected to stay on his feet and tried to get the shot away.

"They somehow survived our late onslaught as well when we had a few miss kicks in their box but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“I think we deserved a draw to be perfectly honest and the winning goal was against the run of play so that only compounded our disappointment,” he added.

“It’s a first defeat in 26 matches for us but it’s only 1-0 and we have the second half to come back in Larnaca next week. 

"They slowed the game at every opportunity and they were slow on the restarts too. They wasted a lot of time and the referee went along with it.

“We could have done with a stronger referee for such an important game. But listen, we could punish them on the counter-attack away next week and, as far as I am concerned, the tie is still in the balance.

“It was a very lucky goal and that is all that divides us at this stage, the half-way stage, in what is a two-legged affair,” added Caulfield.

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