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Dundalk pay the price for a slow start, while TNS keep dream alive

By Daniel McDonnell

A first-half horror show brought an abrupt end to Dundalk's European campaign on a sobering evening in Cyprus for the League of Ireland leaders.

Stephen Kenny's men were picked apart by an AEK Larnaca side that won 4-0 and advance to face Austria's Sturm Graz in the third qualifying round.

They had travelled with confidence after last week's scoreless draw in Oriel Park, but that melted away in the heat of an opening 45 that was played in temperatures of 32 degrees.

Dundalk were consistently exposed down the right flank where Sean Hoare toiled. Macedonian international Ivan Trickovski slipped into space behind the defender to open the scoring.

The second goal came when a long ball found Tete, who controlled to chip over Gary Rogers with Hoare in no man's land.

Tete delivered the assist for the third, his cross converted by Trickovski.

Kenny took action at the break, introducing Patrick McEleney and Sean Gannon.

Dundalk finally began to threaten consistently although Larnaca's defending was astute.

Larnaca put a more emphatic look on the scoreline at the death through sub Joan Tomas.

Meanwhile, Dean Ebbe's goal saw The New Saints progress.

The Welsh champions travelled to Gibraltar having won the home leg against Lincoln Red Imps 2-1. Juan Manuel Montesinos Romero took advantage of a mix-up to put the home side ahead in the second leg.

But Ebbe restored the Saints' advantage on aggregate just after the 80-minute mark. They now face Midtjylland of Denmark.

Belfast Telegraph

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