Sligo Rovers’ 2012 European campaign came to an abrupt end after they drew 1-1 (lost 4-2 on aggregate) with Spartak Trnava in front of a record attendance of 3,754 at The Showgrounds on Thursday evening.
A 70th minute goal from Peter Cvirik was enough to take the Slovakian side through to play in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers despite Jason McGuinness’ 93rd minute equaliser.
Heading into this game, Sligo Rovers knew that a 2-0 win would take them into the next round of the Europa League qualifiers. Ian Baraclough made one change to the side that lost in Slovakia, bringing in Pascal Millien instead of Raffaele Cretaro.
On the other hand, Pavel Hoftych made three changes to the team that defeated Sligo Rovers 3-1. He brought in Martin Vyskocil, Lubos Hanzel and Ivan Schranz in place of Michael Habanek, Karol Pavelka and Michael Gasparik.
The beginning of the game was a frantic one and Sligo’s determination was obvious from the off-set. They dominated proceedings in the first-half and had their first chance after just 23 minutes. Joseph Ndo’s corner was knocked on by Jason McGuinness and it looked like his header was on its way into Miroslav Filipko’s goal but Danny Ventre’s touch on the ball hit it over the bar.
As Sligo Rovers continued their search for the opening goal, Romauld Boco was taken down in the penalty box by keeper Filipko and a penalty was awarded. That search was to continue as Danny North’s penalty was well saved by the 38 year old in goal.
Spartak Trnava had very few chances in the first-half and were second best throughout. Seamus Conneely’s calm attempted clearance only got as far as the opposition and Vlastimil Stozicky tried his luck from outside the box but it was a standard save for Gary Rogers.
Rovers continued to boss things and Danny Ventre should have put his side ahead just a few minutes before half-time. Cameroonian Joseph Ndo put the Liverpool man through, and with just Miroslav Filipko to beat, Ventre went down. Half-time would soon come and the game would change.
Many will say that the missed penalty was the turning point but the second-half was certainly a quite different. The atmosphere changed on and off the pitch and the referee was taking the brunt of everyone’s frustration.
On 70 minutes, Spartak Trnava made Sligo’s hill an even bigger one to climb. A sublime free-kick, taken by Peter Cvirik, went straight into the goals and beat Gary Rogers. Just four minutes later, their lead could well have been doubled. Substitute Michael Gasparik was through on goal after he goes in behind the defence. He needed to just beat Gary Rogers, which he did, but he his effort just hit the crossbar.
There was very little notable action following Trnava’s goal but Jason McGuinness did pull one back in the 93rd minute with a header from Joseph Ndo’s free-kick. It was too little and certainly too late to bring them back into the tie as they bowed out of the Europa League qualifiers.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Seamus Conneely, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Ross Gaynor; Pascal Millien (Ryan Connolly, 77), Danny Ventre (Lee Lynch, 72), David Cawley, Joseph Ndo, Romauld Boco; Danny North (Mark Quigley, 50).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Jeff Henderson.
Bookings: Romauld Boco (35), Gavin Peers (45 + 1).
Spartak Trnava: Miroslav Filipko; Lubos Hanzel, Peter Cvirik, Marek Janecka, Vlastimil Stozicky; Mario Bisak, Miroslav Karhan, Patrik Gross, Ivan Schranz (Jiri Koubsky, 85); Martin Vyskocil (Patrick Carnota, 62), Martin Mikovic (Michael Gasparik, 67).
Subs not used: Martin Raska, Michael Habanek, Karol Pavelka, Ladislav Tomacek.
Bookings: Miroslav Filipko (26).
Referee: Maksim Layushkin (Russia).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Romauld Boco.