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Reds' pride in defeat

By Graham Luney

Gerard Lyttle said his Cliftonville side should be proud they gave AEK Larnaca a major scare at Solitude last night.

The Reds were 2-0 in front in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie but their Cypriot opponents storemed back to win 3-2.

Jason McGuinness and Jay Donnelly were on target for the hosts before second half goals from Ivan Trickovski, Elias Charalambous and Joan Thomas turned the tide and now Lyttle's men need to score twice in the rematch next Thursday to keep their European dream alive.

"I'm gutted for the boys, they put so much into it," said Lyttle.

"We deserved our 2-0 lead and if it wasn't for that 20 minutes spell, it could have been something else.

"Obviously, the boys are disappointed but we can take pride from the fact we frightened them. For 60 minutes we were in dreamland."

Larnaca's Spanish-born manager Antonio Hidalgo said: "Cliftonville were excellent.

"They pressed us very high from the kick-off and gave us a tough game." The second leg will be at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca on Thursday (6pm).

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