Christy Fagan worked the oracle once again with a crucial goal in Europe as St Patrick’s Athletic grabbed a battling draw in Belarus last night, writes Paul Buttner.
Liam Buckley’s side put their poor domestic form to one side to produce arguably one of their best displays of the season to give themselves every chance of reaching the third qualifying round of the competition with Dinamo due in Inchicore next Thursday for the second leg, after this 1-1 draw.
“I’m delighted, the players worked extremely hard,” said Buckley afterwards.
“There was very little in it in the first half, they had one shot, really, and scored from it. But I still felt we held our own in the first half and had more of the ball in the second half. And we got a great goal from Christy Fagan. It was a super goal from the edge of the box.
“We had been organised not to lose, we played really well from an organisational point of view and it keeps us in the tie as we have an away goal. So we can look forward to the home leg next week.”
Despite their arduous journey to the far side of Europe, St Pat’s started well with Billy Dennehy heading over from Keith Treacy’s cross 19 minutes in. However, that bright beginning counted for little as Dinamo took the lead from a well-taken goal on 25 minutes.
Gleb Rassadkin’s cross from left was deftly controlled by Vladimir Korytko who then beat Brendan Clarke in the St Pat’s goal with a perfectly placed shot that nestled in the bottom corner.
St Pat’s remained very much in the game, though, with Conan Byrne’s corner just out of reach for Sean Hoare six minutes before the break.
And though Dinamo threatened through Korytko six minutes into the second half, St Pat’s were level two minutes later. Ian Bermingham found Fagan in a central position with the striker calmly doing the rest, curling a stunning right-foot shot past the dive of Sergei Ignatovich from the edge of the area.
DINAMO MINSK: Ignatovich; Habovda, Hoyok, Kaplenko, Ostoukh; Zhukovski (Rotkovic, 70), Bykov, Premudrov, Korytko (Shramchenko, 79); Khvaschinski (El Monir, 57), Rassadkin.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; O’Brien, D. Dennehy, Hoare, Birmingham; Treacy (Cawley 72), Kelly; Byrne, Timlin (Verdon 79), B. Dennehy; Fagan (Corcoran 79).
Referee: Srdjan Jovanovi´c (Serbia)