EUROPA LEAGUE: Coleraine impress against Haugesund but fail to qualify
Coleraine could have and should have taken more from their clash with Haugesund, but in the end they will be very happy with the outcome of this Europa League second leg tie.
Oran Kearney’s side, still smarting from their 7-0 defeat in Norway last week, took the game to their opponents from the first whistle and should have come away with the wind.
They showed just what they are capable of , and but for a couple of missed opportunities they could have added another win to their European record.
The Bannsiders made a bright start taking the game to their opponents.
Haugesund always looked dangerous though and Anthony Ikedi lashed a shot narrowly wide of the target with seven minutes on the clock.
A swift move from the hosts on 19 minutes saw them test Sandvik in the Haugesund goal.
Steven Douglas won the ball on the halfway line and fed Darren McCauley, whose dipping shot from the edge of the box was touched over by the keeper.
Chris Johns was alert to smother a low drive from Filip Kiss on the half hour. A minute later Jamie McGonigle dragged a shot wide of the target after some good build up play by Eoin Bradley and McCauley.
The Bannsiders almost pulled a goal back four minutes before the break but remarkably McGonigle’s excellent turn and shot hit both the bar and the post and stayed out.
The second half started with a bang as Haugesund came close to adding to their aggregate score.
Frederik Gytkjaer broke free down the right before crossing for Johnny Buduson, but his first-time effort was superbly blocked by Johns.
Coleraine broke with Bradley teeing up McCauley, whose deflected shot almost caught out Sandvik at his near post.
Oran Kearney’s men did have the ball in the net on 55 minutes as Bradley lashed home a spectacular half volley, but unfortunately he had strayed offside in the build up.
Coleraine went close twice in quick succession with 25 minutes to go as McGonigle twice bore down on the visitors’ goal, but twice he was denied.
The hosts kept pushing right tothe final whistle with substitutes James McLaughlin and Ian Parkhill both going close to breaking the deadlock right at the death.
Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Douglas, McCauley, Bradley (McLaughlin 80), Carson, Lyons, O’Donnell, Traynor (Kirk 83), McGonigle (Parkhill 80).
Haugesund: Sandvik, Kiss (Tronstad 76) , Abdi, Gytkjaer, Huseklepp, Andreassn, Skjerve, Buduson (Ibrahim 76), Stølås (Leite 76), Bjørkkjær, Ikedi.
Subs: Bratveit, Knudsen, Haraldseid, Velde.
Referee: Carlos Xistra (POR)