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Connolly strike hands Dundalk FC the first leg advantage over Levadia

Connolly strike hands Dundalk FC the first leg advantage over Levadia

Dylan Connolly scored the only goal of the game as Dundalk FC seized the initiative in their Europa League first qualifying round first leg tie with a 1-0 win away to Levadia Tallinn last night.

The winger finished off a Michael Duffy cross on 53 minutes to give Stephen Kenny’s side a fantastic chance of advancing to the second round, where they would face Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.

There is still work to be done in Thursday’s return leg at Oriel Park after the Lilywhites failed to secure a crucial second goal.

Connolly went close to finding it on 72 minutes after being played in by Chris Shields but on this occasion Sergei Lepmets denied him.

The home side’s keeper also made a smart stop from Pat Hoban five minutes from the end to keep his side in the tie.

Levadia had started the brighter of the two sides but the best chance of the first half fell Dundalk’s way when Duffy set up Robbie Benson a minute before the break but the striker’s shot was deflected over by a last gasp challenge.

The Estonians went closest to scoring just before the hour mark when a Pavel Marin cross took a deflection and had to be kept out at his near post by Gary Rogers.

Levadia: Sergei Lepmets; Markus Jurgenson, Igor Dudarev, Maksim Podholjuzin, Dmitri Kruglov; Marcellin Gando (Pavel Marin 56), Yuriy Tkachuk, Rasmus Peetson (Muamer Svraka 67), Jevgeni Harin (Mark Oliver Roosnupp 76); Roman Debelko, Nikita Andreev.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Dylan Connolly (John Mountney 88), Jamie McGrath (Krisztián Adorjan 81), Michael Duffy (Ronan Murray 90); Pat Hoban.

Referee: Bojan Nikolic (Serbia).

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