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Warren Feeney so relieved as Linfield keep Euro dream alive

By Graham Luney

Published 10/07/2015

On the charge: Linfield goalscorer Guy Bates takes on the Runavik defence
On the charge: Linfield goalscorer Guy Bates takes on the Runavik defence

Linfield march on in Europe but they were made to sweat in the Faroe Islands by a NSI Runavik side that won 4-3 on the night and poured pressure on the visitors.

However, a 5-4 aggregate success has earned Warren Feeney's side a Europa League clash with FC Spartak Trnava of Slovakia next week with the Blues away for the first leg on Thursday.

Despite the triumph in Totfir this was an uncomfortable night for the Danske Bank Premiership giants and they will need to be more resolute at the back if they want to taste further success on the continent.

Feeney said: "I'm disappointed with the way we played as we didn't pass the ball well enough and when you score three goals away from home you should be winning the game.

"But, on a positive note, we got the job done and I'm pleased because I felt their manager was disrespectful to us. Stephen Baxter (Crusders manager) felt the same way and I wish other managers would give our sides more credit.

"I always feel we will score goals but we must keep them out.

"We must do the basics right and we must improve.

"We are through to the next round which is the main thing and it's not easy for us because we are only starting the season, but we will get better."

Due to a bereavement Mark Haughey was unable to travel to the Faroe Islands so Feeney haded a starting role to Reece Glendinning while Ross Clarke was named among the substitutes.

The opening goal came from an unexpected source as Glendinning hammered in his first for the club on 13 minutes after a sweet lay off from Andy Waterworth.

It was a stunning strike and fired the Blues 3-0 ahead on aggregate but if the visitors thought they were home and hosed they were mistaken.

The home side hit back in the 17th minute through prolific scorer Klaemint Olsen.

Two minutes later Pol Johannus Justinussen made it 2-1 to Runavik with a fine header.

A drive from Magnus Olsen crashed off the crossbar on 25 minutes as Linfield continued to live dangerously but Guy Bates netted a deserved equaliser on 33 minutes. Ivan Sproule did well on the right flank and Bates smashed home from close range.

David Kee missed a good chance after a great run by Waterworth but Linfield were reeling again in first half injury time as Jens Joensen edged his side 3-2 in front with a low strike.

Linfield's aggregate lead was only 4-3 at the interval but on 69 minutes calm was restored among the travelling support as Waterworth found the net after clever approach play from Aaron Burns.

Justinussen's second goal in the 85th minute made it 4-3 on the night but they still needed two goals to progress and Linield were determined to finish the job.

NSI Runavik: Gango, Monrad Jacobsen, Jens Joensen, Einar Hansen, Justinussen, Arni Frederiksberg, Jonhard Frederiksberg (Mortensen 68), Magnus Olsen (Meinhard Olsen 81), Christian Hogni Jacobsen, Haraldur Hojgaard (Karstin Hansen 55), Klaemint Olsen. Subs: Gaardbo, Przybylski, Jonleif Hojgaard, Edmundsson.

Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Reece Glendining, Ward, Hegarty, M.Clarke, Sproule, Lowry, Kee, Burns (TJ Murray 83), Bates (R.Clarke 71), Waterworth. Subs: Deane, Wallace, Quinn, Patton, Millar.

Referee: Jovan Kaludjerovic.


Belfast Telegraph

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