Watch: Grace and Lopes head Shamrock Rovers to Europa League victory over Apollon Limassol

Fri, Jul 26 2019

Lee Grace and Dan Carr debate who got the last touch on the equalising goal, which was credited to Grace. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Goals in either half from Lee Grace and Roberto Lopes saw Shamrock Rovers enjoy their second big European win in a week as they overcame Apollon Limassol of Cyprus 2-1 in Tallaght.

Apollon captain Fotis Papoulis had opened the scoring for the visitors after just five minutes but a Jack-Byrne inspired Hoops side battled their way back to take a deserved lead to Limassol.

They had to do it the hard way, battling back from behind for the fourth time in three Europa League games this season as they fell behind to a stunning opening goal.

A heavy Greg Bolger touch saw the ball bobble up in the air and, following a series of headers, it landed at the feet of Papoulis and he sent the sweetest of half-volleys arrowing into the top corner.

It was Byrne’s delivery, his third set-piece in as many minutes, that led to the equaliser after a quarter of an hour.

His outswinging corner was met with pace by defender Grace and his bullet header struck the post and was bundled behind by Dan Carr, with both players claiming it.

Byrne floated in an inswinging ball that Lopes looked second-favourite to make but the former Bohs man got across and glanced the ball towards the corner.

It appeared to last hit Sachetti on its way in, but Lopes is unlikely to want to see a second goal awarded to an opposition player after the first leg in Brann.

Then Sachetti – who could have been sent off for an apparent elbow that left blood gushing from Aaron McEneff’s head – saw a straight red for a nasty two-footed challenge on Byrne.