Derry miss out despite stunning win
Dinamo Minsk 1 Derry City 2
Dinamo Minsk were left hanging on for dear life as Derry City came so close to pulling off an incredible comeback in the Dinamo Stadium yesterday.
Having won 2-0 at the Brandywell last week, it was expected that Minsk would cruise into the next round of the Europa League, but they were left hanging on as goals from Ally Roy and Ronan Hale put the Candystripes so close to a famous European win.
Derry City needed something of a miracle and were massive underdogs heading into the game at the Dinamo Stadium, but they stunned many by taking the lead just seven minutes in.
It was a goal out of nothing for the Candystripes as Aaron McEneff played a superb through ball to put Roy in on goal and the Scot showed great composure to place the ball past Sergei Ignatovich. The goal gave Derry great heart and with Minsk, with five changes from the first leg, struggling to raise themselves, the visitors almost grabbed a second goal on 15 minutes, Roy forcing Ignatovich into a good save at his near post. From the corner, Derry went close again as McEneff found two players in green unmarked and it was Darren Cole who got his head to the ball, only for Ignatovich to save again.
But, crucially, the hosts got back into the game, as they equalised with their first effort on target 27 minutes in to regain control of the tie.
Saroka's free kick caused a scramble in the penalty area and the ball fell kindly for Aleksandr Sachivko, who swept home the equaliser from close range.
The onus was now on Derry who needed two goals in the second half, and after substitute Ronan Hale shot over, the visitors again stunned the Minsk crowd by taking the lead with just 15 minutes remaining.
Aaron Splaine's forward ball put Roy into the Minsk area and he showed great composure to wait for the run of Ronan Hale, and pick him out. Hale did the rest, firing the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
That left Derry with 15 minutes to get the goal which would take them through but they were almost caught on the counter when Minsk broke three-on-one and Nikolic went for goal, but again Doherty was equal to it.
The City captain was keeping his team's hopes alive as he then pulled off an incredible save to deny Khvaschinski.
Khvaschinski came even closer in added time when he rounded the keeper but this time Cole came to Derry's rescue by clearing the ball off the line.
Derry manager Kenny Shiels will be hoping his players can build on the moral-boosting victory as they face a quick turnaround before their next league match against Cork City on Monday.