Dundalk play Legia Warsaw in the second leg next week in Poland
Dundalk’s debut in the Champions League Play-Off Round ended in a 2-0 loss to Polish champions Legia Warsaw in Dublin.
Over 30,000 fans in attendance saw the Irish champions have their chances to get something from the game, but a second-half penalty from Nemanja Nikolic and a counter-attack goal from Aleksandar Prijovic proved to be the difference.
In a first-half of few chances, the Louth side looked the livelier with the excellent Daryl Horgan and Patrick McEleney causing Legia goalkeeper Arkadiusz Malarz problems.
Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers was kept very quiet in the opening period. Michal Kucharczyk came closest to troubling the Meath native.
The only negative in the first half for Stephen Kenny’s side was the yellow card for captain Stephen O’Donnell. The midfielder fouled Vadis Odjidja on the edge of the box in the middle of the half and was booked by referee Deniz Aytekin. He will now miss the return leg in Poland.
Legia took the lead just over ten minutes into the second half from a Nikolic penalty. Dundalk defender Andy Boyle was booked for blocking Steeven Langil’s shot with his arm after Rogers left his goal to try and block a Nikolic shot. The Hungarian international sent Rogers the wrong way to score.
The goal for the away side gave Legia the confidence to look for a second as Dundalk struggled to gain possession in the way they did in the opening half. Shots from Nikolic, Langil and Kucharczyk all tested Rogers in the Dundalk goal.
Ciaran Kilduff came on for Dundalk in the final 15 minutes in place of a quiet David McMillan. The former UCD striker caused problems in the Legia defence but was unable to beat Malarz.
An injury-time goal from Prijovic proved to be a potential hammer blow to the Louth team. As Dundalk chased an equalising goal, Legia countered and Prijovic easily chipped Rogers with one of the last kicks of the game.
Dundalk’s FAI Cup tie originally scheduled to take place this weekend against Crumlin United will take place at the end of the month. Their second leg against Legia takes place in Poland next Tuesday night.