Dundalk's European journey ends in defeat

A pulsating game ended 2-1 away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Dundalk and Maccabi Tel-Aviv played out an exciting match in the Israeli capital tonight but it wasn't to be for the League of Ireland side as they lost 2-1 at the Netanya Stadium.

They attacked from the off only to fall behind after a careless pass at the back led to keeper Gary Rogers bringing down Medunjanin. The keeper received a booking for his troubles as well.

Tal Ben-Chaim converted from the spot to give the hosts the lead.

Stephen Kenny's men didn't drop the heads and continued to press the hosts. Chris Shields fed a perfect cross into the box and the presence of Daryl Horgan forced Eli Dasa to knock the ball into his own net.

Dundalk's Daryl Horgan celebrates their goal with David McMillan and Robbie Benson
Image: ©INPHO/Dov Halickman

The home side struck again in the 39th minute when Dor Miha stroked it past Rogers to give them a 2-1 lead on the night. 

The game continued in the same vein and the teams went into the break at 2-1.

Both sides emerged for the second half and picked up where they left off. The hosts had the best of the early second half chances and it looked like Dundalk's long season had finally caught up with them.

Dundalk's Patrick McEleneny dejected after Dor Miha scored Maccabi Tel Aviv's second goal
Image: ©INPHO/Dov Halickman


Maccabi pressed for a third and had the ball in the net but it was chalked off. 

Dundalk found a second wind and kept the pressure on. A cross from Ronan Finn led to a penalty shout but the referee waved play on.

The home side should have sealed the win in the 70th minute but Mihu sliced the ball wide after good work from Ben Chaim. 

Daryl Horgan let his frustration get the better of him and lashed out needlessly at Golasa to pick up a yellow card as time began to run out for Stephen Kenny's men.

Dundalk continued to attack and good work from Horgan led to an excellent chance for McMillan who was unable to control the ball before being swarmed by defenders. 

Dundalk's David McMillan with Eyal Golasa of Maccabi Tel Aviv
Image: ©INPHO/Dov Halickman

As the clock ran out, Kilduff missed a golden chance to level the scores when he nipped in ahead of the keeper only to head well wide from a few metres out.

The match finished 2-1 but Stephen Kenny and his players can hold their heads high. Their journey has been the talk of Irish football over the last few months and the League of Ireland champions deserve a solid break over the Christmas before they get back to it next year.