Defeated Blues are gearing up for trip to the Faroes
Rosenborg 4 Linfield 0
As one door closes, another opens. That's how Linfield manager David Healy will have to view European football for his club this season.
In Norway last night a brief Champions League journey ended for the Blues when they were hammered 4-0 by a slick Rosenborg side in the second leg of the first qualifying round tie.
Two years ago in the same competition when Linfield lost to Celtic, also 6-0 on aggregate, Healy's men moved on to domestic matters. This time around, courtesy of Uefa rules, they will drop into the Europa League.
In basic terms it means more games in Europe and more money for the Windsor Park outfit. Next on the agenda for them is a meeting with HB Torshavn from the Faroe Islands. Even if they lose that tie they will pocket around £700,000.
Unlike the contest with Rosenborg, however, the Blues will enter the two legs against HB Torshavn as favourites.
Already in the Europa League this season Ballymena United have beaten Faroe Islands opposition (NSI Runavik) and Crusaders are well placed to do the same tonight (leading 2-0 from the first leg versus B36 Torshavn).
HB Torshavn lost 5-2 on aggregate to HJK Helsinki in their Champions League encounter so they have goals in their locker, but if Linfield cut out the silly mistakes that made a tough task even harder against Rosenborg they can deliver.
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Last night the Norwegians put the Blues to the sword with Anders Kondradsen grabbing a double and substitute David Akintola and Andre Helland also on target.
Healy made changes to his starting line-up from last week's 2-0 loss in Belfast with new signing Shayne Lavery replacing Andy Waterworth in attack, Daniel Kearns coming in for Kirk Millar and Ross Larkin taking over from Mark Stafford at the back. What a night for 20-year-old centre-back Larkin, who was recruited in the summer from Portadown.
Making your competitive debut for a new club is always a big deal but on the road in the Champions League makes it that little bit extra special.
There was another outing from the first whistle for French midfielder Bastien Hery who made such an impression with the home fans in the Windsor Park clash.
Prior to the game Healy had insisted the tie was not over. In his heart though he knew his players needed to climb Everest in slippers to record one of the most stunning results in the club's history in order to progress in the competition.
Early on Linfield were comfortable at the back and even won the first corner of the game after Lavery had a shot blocked and would have been disappointed when they went behind on 20 minutes given the manner of the goal. In the first leg both Rosenborg's goals were preventable and the opener at the Lerkendal Stadion was in the same category with Kondradsen heading home from a corner.
Moments later Jordan Stewart flashed a long range effort off target to illustrate Linfield's frustration. There was also a decent opportunity for the away side when following a fine move Chris Casement's shot was blocked by Andre Hansen.
What Linfield needed was a rock steady opening after the break. They didn't get it with Konradsen once again netting following a corner on 51 minutes.
Matthew Clarke shot over for the Blues before Helland smashed a free-kick against the bar at the other end. Helland deservedly ended up on the scoresheet with five minutes left thanks to unselfish work from Akintola who had netted number three on 65.
Rosenborg were better than Linfield. Simple as that. Healy will hope his team have the upper hand versus HB Torshavn.
The first leg is in the Faroes next week.
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