Coleraine’s Europa adventure ends with loss in Lurgan to Velez Mostar
Coleraine’s Europa Conference League adventure was brought to an end by FK Velez Mostar as the Bosnians ran out 2-1 one winners on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.
They were made to work all the way by the Bannsiders though as Matthew Shevlin gave them the lead in the first half to level the tie at Mourneview Park.
The former Linfield man spurned a great opportunity to put the hosts in front at the start of the second half as Brandao scored via a deflected effort soon after before Nemanja Andusic added a fourth goal of the tie with 18 minutes to go.
Oran Kearney was forced into changes for the second leg and opted for an attacking line-up.
Backed by a 600-strong ‘home’ support who had made the 90-minute journey up from the north coast to Lurgan, the Bannsiders made a quick start.
Velez were first to threaten though as Haris Ovcina forced Gareth Deane into action before the ball was deflected wide.
From a quickly-taken corner Brandao, who scored twice from the penalty spot last week, forced the Bannsiders keeper into a smart stop from the edge of the box.
Ovcina almost nipped in again on 16 minutes after a long punt out of defence.
He got to the ball ahead of Deane but his weak effort was easily stopped by Ronan Wilson.
A swift break by the hosts on 32 minutes almost brought about an equaliser in the tie as Jamie Glackin fired in a low ball for Shevlin, but he was denied by the legs of Slavisa Bogdanovic.
From the resulting corner, Stephen Lowry recycled the ball with a sublime pass back out to Glackin, and he picked out Shevlin again, who headed past the keeper from six yards to send the Coleraine fans wild.
Right on half-time the home side had their keeper to thank for keeping them in front on the night as he produced a great block to deny Dzenan Zajmovic.
Five minutes into the second half, great work by Curtis Allen saw Coleraine burst into the box, the ball eventually dropped for Shevlin, but he hooked his shot wide.
The visitors were dangerous on the break though as Radovac teed up Zajmovac, but he curled wide of the target.
Two minutes later though Velez drew level, and it was that man Brandao who did the damage again.
He cut in from the left and found the far corner with the aid of a deflection off Stephen O’Donnell.
The Bosnians were dominating possession now and went ahead on the night on 72 minutes as half-time substitute Andusic found space on the edge of the box and beat Deane with a powerful effort.
Coleraine went for broke as the game moved into the final few minutes and they almost pulled one back on 81 minutes.
Eoin Bradley and Shevlin combined for Lowry to burst into the box, but Bogdanovic blocked the midfielder’s effort with his legs.
Coleraine: Deane, Wilson, Brown, O’Donnell, Traynor, Lowry, Carson, Glackin, Shevlin, Allen, McLaughlin (Bradley, 69).
Subs (not used): Mullan, Jarvis, McConaghie, Tweed, Kelly, Friel.
FK Velez: Bogdanovic, Zeljkovic, Cosic, Ovcina (Andusic, 46), Isic, De Souza (Radovic, 79), Ferreyra, Hasanovic (Zvonic, 46), Vehabovic (Prses, 74), Zajmovic (Georgijevic, 74), Radovac.
Subs (not used): Kacavenda, Zubanovic, Osmic, Alagic.
Referee: Balazs Berke.
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