Coleraine outclassed upon return to European arena

Coleraine's Eoin Bradley appears dejected.
Coleraine's Eoin Bradley appears dejected.

Coleraine’s return to European football ended in disappointment as they were outclassed by Norwegian outfit Haugesund.

The home side took the lead after seven minutes when hesitant defending was punished as midfielder Sondre Tronstad curled an effort into the top corner.

The Norwegian outfit were beginning to run riot and went close on two occasions as striker Shuaibu Ibrahim was afforded too much space in the box and he fired a shot wide.

However, the Bannsiders should have equalised on 22 minutes when Josh Carson pounced on a defensive mistake and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The midfielder tried to place the effort but Haugesund ‘keeper Helge Sandvik made a smart stop.

Moments later, Oran Kearney’s men threatened again as Brad Lyons received the ball at the edge of the box, but he could only fire his looping effort over the crossbar.

Those missed chances were to come back and haunt the visitors as Haugesund doubled their lead on 33 minutes as winger Liban Abdi swept home a lovely team move.

On 36 minutes, Coleraine thought they had found a route back into the match as Carson’s pinpoint delivery was flicked on by Bradley but ‘keeper Sandvik was there to keep the ball out of the net.

Things went from bad to worse for the Bannsiders on the stroke of half-time as Bosnian midfielder Haris Hajradinovic headed the ball home via the post.

It was Hajradinovic who played a key role in Haugesund’s fourth as he laid the ball to Ikenna Ikedi who lashed home from 20 yards, before Ibrahim slotted home to make it 5-0.

Coleraine seemed destined to grab a consolation goal on 57 minutes as Bradley’s cross found Lyons, but his header was saved by Sandvik.

On 62 minutes, substitute Erik Huseklepp made it six when he finished from close range.

The Eliteserien side added a seventh on 71 minutes as a crisp through ball from Tronstad found Johnny Buduson and the striker finished into the bottom corner.

Haugesund substitutes Erik Huseklepp and Johnny Buduson brought the tally to seven with the Eliteserien side missing further chances to add to further gloss to the scoreline.

And Bannsiders know that their Euro dream is over for another year.