| 12°C Belfast

Larne stun Aarhus GF to progress in Europa Conference League as Linfield ease past Borac with David Healy absent in Bosnia

Close

Larne and Linfield will both play in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round next week. Pics: Inpho (left) / Pacemaker (right)

Larne and Linfield will both play in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round next week. Pics: Inpho (left) / Pacemaker (right)

Larne goal-scoring hero Ronan Hale celebrates his crucial strike. Pic: INPHO/Bo Amstrup

Larne goal-scoring hero Ronan Hale celebrates his crucial strike. Pic: INPHO/Bo Amstrup

©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021
AGF Aarhus vs Larne
AGF's Nicolai Poulsen with John Herron of Larne
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021 AGF Aarhus vs Larne AGF's Nicolai Poulsen with John Herron of Larne Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021
AGF Aarhus vs Larne
AGF's Jón Dagur Thorsteinsson with Albert Watson of Larne
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021 AGF Aarhus vs Larne AGF's Jón Dagur Thorsteinsson with Albert Watson of Larne Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021
AGF Aarhus vs Larne
The Larne team before the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021 AGF Aarhus vs Larne The Larne team before the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021
AGF Aarhus vs Larne
AGF's Yann Aurel Bisseck with David McDaid of Larne
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

UEFA Europa Conference League Second Qualifying Round Second Leg, Aarhus Stadium, Denmark 29/7/2021 AGF Aarhus vs Larne AGF's Yann Aurel Bisseck with David McDaid of Larne Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

©INPHO/Bo Amstrup

Linfield and Larne are both aiming to progress to the third qualifying round.

Linfield and Larne are both aiming to progress to the third qualifying round.

/

Larne and Linfield will both play in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round next week. Pics: Inpho (left) / Pacemaker (right)

Larne have completed a remarkable win over Aarhus GF in the Europa Conference League to join Linfield in the third qualifying round after the Blues eased past Borac Banja Luka even without manager David Healy present during their second leg.

The results mark another huge night of European achievement for the Irish League as both teams did what was required to go through.

Here's everything you need to know:

Aarhus GF (2) 1-1 (3) Larne

Larne pulled off a mammoth European shock by ousting Aarhus GF from the Europa Conference League, taking their overall European prize money for the season to €850,000.

The Danish giants were heavily fancied to progress against the east Antrim side playing in their first ever European campaign.

But a Ronan Hale goal on the stroke of half-time in Denmark would eventually settle a tense tie 3-2 on aggregate as an AGF side playing with ten men for over an hour couldn't force extra-time.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Aarhus have genuine European pedigree, having played Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the 88/89 Cup Winners' Cup, and have spent an estimated €2.5m in transfer fees this summer on full-back Erik Kahl and striker Dawid Kurminowski.

But they had been battered at Inver Park in the first leg, where David McDaid and Dean Jarvis had struck to give Larne a deserved lead before a fortunate late goal had given AGF hope.

Or rather, that was probably more of an expectation that they would come back to get the win in the return leg and progress to play Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira in the next round.

To do that, Aarhus needed a goal in Denmark and came out of the blocks like they knew it, immediately putting the pressure on Larne as Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson's free-kick had to be saved. Things turned sour for the hosts midway through the first half when the same player was given his marching orders after picking up two bookings in eight minutes.

Nonetheless, Aarhus continued to push forward and created more chances with Lund heading wide before Rohan Ferguson came up trumps for Larne, charging out to stop Kurminowski's shot.

If that was a key moment in the tie, another followed before the break when Hale tucked home his second goal of the European run after good work from Mark Randall to tee him up.

Aarhus restored a huge degree of nerves into the tie with 16 minutes left on the clock, when Patrick Olsen sent Ferguson the wrong way from the spot after Josh Robinson was perhaps harshly adjudged to have handled seconds after coming on.

Ferguson came up trumps again soon after though, stopping a dangerous low drive from Gift Links and there was an injury-time blaster blocked on the line.

That meant there was no breakthrough and the Inver Park side incredibly went through to face Pacos de Ferreira in the third qualifying round. Larne will play away in Portugal next Thursday (August 5) and host the return leg a week later on August 12.

Before then, they will find out who they could face in the play-offs during Monday's draw.

Borac Banja Luka (0) 0-0 (4) Linfield

Linfield's trip to Bosnia had a less than ideal start when manager David Healy was one of 'a number of club personnel' who didn't board the plane due to a 'variety of injury or personal reasons'.

Especially in those circumstances, what the Blues would have wanted more than anything was a dull and dreary 90 minutes at Borac Banja Luka with their 4-0 first leg lead remaining unthreatened.

Such was the case as Linfield saw out a 0-0 draw in Bosnia to ease into the third qualifying round, taking their guaranteed prize money so far in Europe this season to €1.11M and teeing up a tie against Luxembourg's Fola Esch, who saw off Shaktyor Soligorsk 3-1 on aggregate.

There was little to concern goalkeeper Chris Johns from the off with Meleg, Vranjes and Moraitis all missing the target during the first half.

Hull City loanee Billy Chadwick replaced Christy Manzinga shortly after the break for his Linfield debut and saw a shot blocked soon after but again there was little to worry the Blues in the second half.

Borac forced a series of fruitless corners and any shots they created were charged down by an eager defence.

When Johns was finally called into action, he was equal to the efforts as he pushed Lukic's shot behind for a corner and from the resulting set-piece, makes a big stop from Cosic.

Linfield's next opponents Fola have never made it to a European group stage and this will be their first ever meeting with Northern Irish opposition.

The Blues will host Fola at Windsor Park in the first leg next Thursday (August 5) and then travel for the away leg a week later. Before that, they will discover the prize on offer in the play-off round during Monday's draw.

Here are the games as they happened:


Top Videos



Privacy