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Shelbourne secure Split date

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

By Aidan Fitzmaurice at Tolka Park

[1] Shelbourne FC held their nerve to secure the goalless draw they needed to defeat KR Reykjavík and advance to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on the away-goals rule. Next up for the Republic of Ireland champions will be Croatian side HNK Hajduk Split.

Frenetic opening

[2] Welsh-born goalkeeper Steve Williams was the Dublin side's hero as he pulled off a number of excellent saves. Knowing that they needed to score to remain in the competition, KR attacked from the start. With just five minutes on the clock, striker Kjartan Finnbogason had a great chance when Sigmundur Kristjansson put him through, but Williams saved well.

Harris intervention

[3] Finnbogason went close again on 18 minutes but this time he was denied by defender Jamie Harris, while Williams was on hand again on 25 minutes to rebuff Sigurvin Olafsson. However, it was not all one-way traffic and Shelbourne had their chances too, with former Ireland international Alan Moore going close after eleven minutes.

Byrne chance

[4] The home side created a golden opportunity on 37 minutes when Jason Byrne failed to find the net with only the keeper to beat. Moore's cross had caught out the KR defence and Byrne was left unmarked but he missed the target and sent his header across the face of goal.

Increased threat

[5] Shelbourne were more of a threat after the break, with Jason Byrne again finding himself in a good scoring position on the hour, but his shot was weak and easily saved by goalkeeper Kristjan Finnbogason. The KR captain also made a superb save to deny Stuart Byrne on 74 minutes after good work by Wes Hoolahan.

Under pressure

[6] Shelbourne's strikers had further chances as the home defence soaked up some pressure with the increasingly desperate Icelandic club throwing more and more men forward. However, Pat Fenlon's side held on to get the draw they needed, leaving KR to rue letting a two-goal lead slip in the first leg when Shelbourne fought back to draw 2-2.

Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon