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Shelbourne seal stunning success

Wednesday, 4 August 2004

By Aidan Fitzmaurice at Tolka Park

[1] Late goals from Dave Rogers and Alan Moore gave Shelbourne FC a dramatic victory against HNK Hajduk Split that overturned a first-leg deficit and took the Irish side through to a meeting with UEFA Champions League regulars RC Deportivo La Coruña in the third qualifying round.

First-leg defeat

[2] Trailing 3-2 after the first meeting between the sides in Croatia, defender Rogers levelled the tie on aggregate 12 minutes from time and, with the home side ahead on away goals and Hajduk forced to throw men forward, Moore confirmed Shelbourne's progress with a second strike three minutes into added time.

Vibrant display

[3] An Irish team had never made it through two rounds of the tournament, and Shelbourne had not won a home game in European competition for 12 years, but both records were broken tonight. They began positively and produced a fine attacking approach in the opening 45 minutes.

Early pressure

[4] Shelbourne had the best chance after only 12 minutes when Jason Byrne went down the left wing and picked out the unmarked Moore with his cross, but his first-time effort went just over the bar. Eight minutes later Hajduk goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale was called on to make a save from Glen Fitzpatrick, only for Hajduk to respond two minutes later as striker Natko Racki shot fractionally too high.

Moore momentum

[5] On 23 minutes the home team went close again through former Irish international Moore, whose shot was saved by Kale, and within two minutes Moore had crossed for Stuart Byrne, but again Kale was equal to the effort. Hajduk's response was a well-struck shot from Nenad Pralija, but Shelbourne keeper Steve Williams saved his effort.

Opportunistic strike

[6] The home side had enjoyed the best of the first half but struggled after the break to impose themselves on the game, until Rogers struck on 78 minutes, pouncing after Hajduk failed to clear Moore's cross to score with a powerful shot.

Late clincher

[7] With spaces appearing in the Hajduk defence, Shelbourne substitute Joseph Ndo worked his way into the penalty area three minutes into added time and set up Moore, who scored his third goal in four Champions League games for the Irish side to send the home fans delirious with delight.

Praise for Moore

[8] Shelbourne coach Patrick Fenlon said: "We won the game and won it well. They had us under pressure at times but we created a fair few chances, especially in the first half. We were well disciplined and well capable of winning the match, the players rose to the occasion." He added of Moore: "He has excelled in European games, he looks like he has been playing in Europe all his career."

'Huge disappointment'

[9] Fenlon's opposite number Ivan Katalinic admitted: "This is a huge disappointment for us financially, we had expected to get through and we needed the money we would get from the next round. We lost the game in Split by letting Shelbourne get a second goal."

Owen Heary (No2) celebrates victory against with Jamie Harris