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O'Neill proud of Rovers in defeat

Shamrock Rovers coach Michael O'Neill was delighted with the way his side applied themselves despite their 2-0 defeat against Juventus in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round clash at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday night.

A double from Amauri was enough to give the Serie A giants victory in Dublin, but the hosts acquitted themselves well after a nervy start and defender Dan Murray missed two very good chances to pull a goal back.

O'Neill told RTE: "I always felt we could go out and play the way we did and have patches where we could hassle them, but we knew it would be difficult to do that for 90 minutes against a side of their quality. In the end I couldn't have asked any more of the players."

He added: "Early on in the game we tried to go from back to front far too quickly. We said beforehand that we needed to have belief and get settled in the game, but we never had that after going behind so early. It took us 25 minutes to get settled.

"In the second half we moved the ball around well, but I felt we could have put the ball in the box more. We knew we were a threat from set pieces but you are always aware of the quality they have."

Shamrock are now faced with the daunting task of travelling to Italy for the second leg next week, although that game will be played in Modena as the Stadio Olimpico is being used by fellow Dubliners U2 for a concert on their ongoing world tour, and O'Neill hopes his side can repeat Thursday night's display.

"We have to go out in the second leg and a give a good account of ourselves in Italy," he said.

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