Belfast Telegraph

Ice cool Glentoran hold on and boost Euro bid

KR Reykjavik 0 Glentoran 0

By Robert jones

A backs-to-the-wall defensive display has given Glentoran a great chance of European progress for the second time in three years.

The Glens battled for 95 minutes against KR Reykjavik to keep a clean sheet against the team that beat them 3-0 at the same stage of the Europa League three years ago.

The tie will now be decided over the course of 90 minutes at the Oval next Thursday and although the Glens were forced to hang on towards the end they will have high hopes of making it through to face Belgian side Standard Liege in the second round.

Seven Glens players were booked by the Portuguese referee and they will have concerns of picking up more yellow cards and losing players if they progress.

Eddie Patterson was forced to make four changes from the team that won the Irish Cup, with Sean Ward, Stephen Carson and Andy Waterworth no longer at the club and Jimmy Callacher not able to make the trip.

David Scullion, who recently returned to the club from Coleraine, wasn't available either and Patterson will at least have the luxury of being able to pick a stronger team for the return leg.

Debutant striker Mark Miskimmin had a shot blocked 10 minutes in and both Jason Hill and Marcus Kane went close shortly effort as the Glens started well.

KR stepped things up and enjoyed a spell of pressure midway through the first half, Oskar Hauksson having a couple fo shots blocked before Morris made a save from Haukur Hauksson after a corner.

The Glens defence came under the cosh as KR forced a series of corners early in the second half, but held strong to keep the scoreline blank while Miskimmin was starved of service up front.

English striker Gary Martin threatened to break the deadlock just before the hour mark, but his shot was blocked before Kjartan Finnbogason sent his effort off target.

There was danger when David Howland conceded a free-kick on 63 minutes. KR captain Bjarni Gudjonsson stepped up and brought another save from Morris.

Morris saved from the Icelandic skipper again eight minutes from time as the home side upped the ante in search of a goal that would give them something to defend when they come to Belfast.

The Glens' goalkeeper then made two more saves in injury time to protect his clean sheet, firstly from Jonas Saevarsson and Oskar Hauksson, with substitute Atli Sigurjonsson first wide in between.

KR REYKJAVIK: Halldorsson, H Hauksson, GT Gunnarsson, GR Gunnarsson, G Sigurdsson, Gudjónsson, B Sigurdsson, O Hauksson, Saevarsson, Martin, Finnbogason. Subs: , Runarsson, Josepsson, Atlason, Olafsson, Sigurjonsson, Ragnarsson, Einarsson.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Bradley, Birney, Magee, Hill, Howland, M Clarke, McAloram, Kane, R Clarke, Miskimmin. Subs: Hogg, Hughes, O'Hanlon, McComb, McCullough, Gordon.

Referee: Gerhard Grobelnik (Austria).

Belfast Telegraph


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