Make no mistake about it, Derry City’s European opponents, Shakhtyor Soligorsk were technically good and will be very difficult to defeat in Thursday night’s second leg tie in Belarus.
The Belarusians played well at Brandywell and never once looked like losing their shape throughout.
Added to that, they had some very gifted players and it’s obvious that Derry City manager, Peter Hutton and his team face an uphill task in Belarus this Thursday.
Shakhtyor, however, didn’t look quite so composed when Derry upped the pace of the game in the second half and the ‘Candy Stripes’ will be hoping to repeat that kind of display in the away leg.
It will be a balance between attacking when possible at pace but keeping things tight at the back as the concession of another goal would make an already difficult task nearly impossible.
Still Derry now know what their opponents can do and it’s all to play for.
It was another week of some great results for League of Ireland teams in Europe with St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers very much in the driving seat for the home legs of their European ties.
Even Dundalk who I said last week had the hardest of the European games had a standing ovation from their fans despite losing 2-0.
Sligo were leading 2-0 at Rosenborg before a late own goal gave the Norwegians some hope for the return leg at the Showgrounds.
St Patrick’s take on Legia Warsaw all square in the tie with an away goal advantage and the chance of a glamour tie with Celtic on the cards.
Irish football is certainly on the European map at this point in time.
And let’s hope the ‘Candy Stripes’ can keep the European adventure going for another while longer with victory over Shakhtyor this Thursday evening!