Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville secure European spot with tense extra-time victory over Glentoran

Cliftonville 2-0 Glentoran (aet)

Cliftonville's Joe Gormley celebrates his goal during todays game at Solitude in Belfast (Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press)
Cliftonville's Joe Gormley celebrates his goal during todays game at Solitude in Belfast (Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press)
Glentoran's John Herron and Cliftonville's Aaron Harkin during todays game at Solitude in Belfast (Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press)
Cliftonville's Garry Breen and Glentoran's Curtis Allen will clash in today's Europa League play-off
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Cliftonville took the final Europa League spot in the Irish League as they battled through extra-time to defeat Glentoran at Solitude in the play-off.

After a rather dour 90 minutes, Joe Gormley and Conor McMenamin popped up in extra time to seal the deal and ensure the Reds will have European football to look forward to next season.

Chances for both sides were in short supply across the whole game in what was a cagey affair, neither side able to fashion any clear goalscoring opportunities.

Glentoran had the two best chances of the first half, Robbie McDaid flicking the ball over after being set in behind, which he then followed up by heading just wide from a hopeful ball into the box.

In the second half, Cliftonville hit their straps with some much better attacking play, however they were missing that end product to their dominance of possession and territory.

Curtis Allen and McDaid had late chances for Glentoran, while Joe Gormley slashed a shot well over in the dying stages for the Reds, but it wasn't enough to avoid extra time.

Defender Gavin Peers had a great chance to break the deadlock early in extra time, however he could only head McDaid's header over the bar from close range.

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But with the last kick of the first-half of extra-time, the Reds went ahead when Gormley beat Glentoran keeper Dwayne Nelson to a bouncing ball and poked it around him, keeping his composure to finish.

Glentoran desperately sought a reply in the second-half but it was to no avail, and McMenamin made sure of the win when he finished one-on-one with Nelson with the last kick of the game.

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