EUROPA LEAGUE: Glenavon dream over with Molde defeat

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by Pacemaker.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by Pacemaker.

Glenavon’s hopes of producing a landmark European result for Irish League clubs suffered an away setback in Norway with defeat to Molde by 5-1.

A memorable Europa League display at Mourneview Park last week left the Lurgan Blues holding a 2-1 lead over the full-time Molde outfit under the management of Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, the absence of key players in goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey and Rhys Marshall - the latter a first-leg hero thanks to his goal and assist - served to increase the challenge facing a Glenavon squad already depleted by the unavailability of Andrew Mitchell, Sammy Clingan and James Singleton.

Etzaz Hussain’s penalty kick on 29 minutes left the sides level on aggregate and gave Molde the upper hand overall in the first qualifying round due to the away-goals rule.

Eirik Hestad’s hat-trick put Molde clear of spirited Glenavon overall, with his final goal on 90 minutes.

Babacar increased the gap on 94 minutes for a 6-3 aggregate scoreline.

Glenavon at one point sparked hopes of an upset when Andy Hall’s cross led to a Vegard Forren own goal for a 4-3 aggregate deficit.

GLENAVON: Taylor, King, Marron, Grace, Daniels (O’Mahony, 92), Murray, Sykes, Doyle, Hall (Jenkins, 84), Donnelly (Norton, 46), Muir.

Subs (not used): Harmon, Lindsay, Hazard, Hamilton.