Linfield left to rue missed chances on European exit to Fola Esch

Linfield carved out the majority of chances but suffered a third qualifying round exit from the Europa Conference League in Luxembourg.
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Fola Esch matched a 2-1 victory in Belfast with success by the same scoreline on home soil despite the Blues creating a string of scoring opportunities.

Only Stephen Fallon’s finish, however, provided the end product for Linfield.

Trai Hume headed wide off Kirk Millar’s early corner-kick delivery before Jamie Mulgrew forced Emanuel Cabral in a diving save from distance.

Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.
Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.

The hosts responded around the half-hour mark as Ouassiero attacked from wide on the right and cut inside to fire goalwards off a left-foot drive which Chris Johns managed to collect.

Fola Esch reacted quickly to secure possession off a loose ball in the centre of the park but a key challenge by Fallon helped to stop Stefano Bensi.

Hume tested Cabral with another attempt before the Blues created a key opening.

On 42 minutes, Niall Quinn’s cross into the danger area bounced off the frame of the goal and the rebound was turned wide by Fallon.

Linfield pushed hard before the break and Millar’s free-kick strike flashed past the post.

Linfield attacked early in the second half and carved out back-to-back chances for Quinn but Cabral was alert on each occasion.

Quinn then picked out Fallon in the penalty area, with his attempt clearing the crossbar.

Quinn continued to prove at the heart of Linfield’s second-half threat in pursuit of a goal - with Hume’s header off his corner-kick too high.

Fola Esch had to scramble away a testing Quinn free-kick effort as Linfield continued in search of a reward.

Substitute Christy Manzinga came close to breaking the deadlock within minutes of his introduction but the effort bounced off the bar.

Michael Newberry had his follow-up attempt diverted wide.

Fola Esch then blocked a Sam Roscoe header on the line.

Another sight of goal for the Blues arrived on 67 minutes as Hume’s pass was headed wide by Millar.

Then the hosts scored against the run of play off a first significant shot on target when Bruno Correia Mendes found the net.

Linfield substitute Andrew Clarke created one opening for Manzinga then steered wide off a Millar free-kick.

Linfield grabbed a deserved goal on 89 minutes to secure a late lifeline off Fallon’s finish.

However, the game’s next goal - an injury-time penalty kick - was scored by the hosts’ Rodrigo Parreira.

FOLA ESCH: Cabral, Grisez, Delgado, Klein, Ouassiero, Bensi (Caron, 39), Frere, Pimentel, Boutrif (Correia Mendes, 62), Mustafic (Parreira, 79), Omosanya (Dragovic, 62).

Subs (not used): Hym, Da Costa, Dikaba, Pascoal, Muharemovic, Correia, Simon, Almada Correia, .

LINFIELD: Johns, Hume, Newberry, Roscoe, M.Clarke, Shields, Mulgrew (A.Clarke, 73), Fallon, Millar, Chadwick (Manzinga, 60), Quinn (Salam, 73).

Subs (not used): Walsh, Williamson, Larkin, Nasseri, Pepper, Palmer, Carroll.

Referee: Aliyar Aghayev.


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