Stephen Kenny: Dundalk can turn it around

The last time Stephen Kenny left Belarus with a 1-0 defeat, he guided his side to a magnificent 3-0 win in the second leg.

That was back in 2003 during his spell with Bohemians and, while it’s fair to say that BATE Borisov are a lot stronger now than they were then, the 44-year-old Dubliner feels his Dundalk side can repeat that feat against the Champions League regulars at Tallaght Stadium next Tuesday.

A backs-to-the-wall display from the League of Ireland champions in Barysaw on Tuesday night was undone 20 minutes from the end when Sean Gannon gifted possession to Alexander Hleb, who in turn slipped Mikhail Gordeichuk in for the game’s only goal.

It leaves Dundalk facing an uphill task if they are to become the first Irish side to reach the fourth qualifying stage of Europe’s premier competition but Kenny insists it’s a task not beyond his team.

“It was a tough game for us. I felt we didn’t play well on the night but we’re still in the tie.

“It’s still just 1-0 and BATE played well. For us, it was a tough turnaround being in Iceland, up all night, then going to Belarus and going again.

“We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can play but everyone put their body on the line and made sure that 1-0 was the minimum of a deficit.” Indeed, Kenny insists Dundalk are much better than what they showed at the Borisov Arena.

“I’m disappointed overall but 1-0 is a slender lead.

“Okay, we don’t have the away goal but we can play better next week. We’ll have seven days so that will be a help.

“It shows we had guts at least, that we hung in there. They were able to bring Gordeichuk off the bench, he scored against Ireland recently, and he got the goal.

“They were able to bring Hleb off the bench but we know there’s more to come from ourselves. Everyone fought valiantly but we’re still in the tie.

“The players know there’s much more to come from us and the deficit is only 1-0.”

Meanwhile, BATE boss Aliaksandr Yermakcovich said he was disappointed not to have killed the tie off given the fact his side bossed the game.

“We are happy to win but you always want more,” he said.

“We had a huge advantage and wanted to score more to fly to Ireland with more confidence.

“I have to give credit to our opponents though. They had a good opportunity themselves but luckily Siarhei Veramko managed to save us.

“The stakes are still high but we will try to get the result we need in Ireland.”


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