Sublimely taken goals from Conan Byrne and Ger O’Brien provided St Patrick’s Athletic with another thrilling away day in Europe tonight.
They twice came from beyond to stun Zalgiris in Vilnius and take a 2-2 draw into the second leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie at Richmond Park next week.
Liam Buckley’s side were never overawed by the Lithuanian league leaders despite giving away a bad early goal when Pavel Komolov put the home side ahead on 22 minutes.
Byrne deservedly levelled matters 10 minutes into the second half in Pat’s best spell of the game.
Greg Bolger put a delightful ball over the top and the winger lobbed keeper Armantas Vitkauskas.
Zalgiris responded with Luka Peric putting them back in front on 70 minutes.
But a brilliant second equaliser from right-back O’Brien, who turned 29 on Tuesday, on 83 minutes gave Pat’s a fully merited draw when he found the top corner with a right foot shot from some 25 yards.
In a dramatic finale, the floodlights went out deep in stoppage time, but the Slovenian referee blew it up seconds later.
Elsewhere, Drogheda United also earned a terrific result in holding one-time European Cup finalists Malmo to a 0-0 draw at Tallaght Stadium.
Drogheda had loud shouts for a penalty waved away in the first half when midfielder David Cassidy appeared to be fouled in the box by Magnus Eriksson.
Drogheda played the final 15 minute with 10 men after midfielder Ryan Brennan was sent off for a foul on Eriksson.
It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for Drogheda in the latter stages, with keeper Gabriel Save making a particularly good save to thwart striker Tokelo Rantie three minutes from time.