Cliftonville Euro hopes still alive after draw in Belfast against Debrecen

Cliftonville's Chris Curran with Debrecen's Norbert Meszaros
Cliftonville's Chris Curran with Debrecen's Norbert Meszaros


Cliftonville kept their Champions League ambitions alive with a stirring home draw with Debrecen last night.

The Hungarians will still be huge favourites to progress when the sides renew acquaintances in next week’s second leg but, having avoided the concession of a potentially pivotal away goal, the Reds will travel in good spirits for their return showdown against a side they’ll believe they can score against.

Indeed, were it not for visiting keeper Nenad Novakovic they would have secured a half-time lead last night with both Chris Curran and Joe Gormley sensationally denied within a minute of one another.

Though Ibrahima Sidibe slammed an attempt against the underside of the crossbar during the second period, Cliftonville were not without chances of their own and Novakovic repelled efforts from Curran and Ronan Scannell during frantic closing exchanges which saw both sides threaten to break the deadlock.

Debrecen’s best chance came in the depths of injury-time when, with the goal at his mercy, substitute L’imam Seydi lashed wildly over the bar.

CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, R Scannell, Johnston, Flynn, Curran, Donnelly, Seydak, Catney, Gormley, Cosgrove. Subs: Brown, McMullan (for Seydak, 82 mins), Garrett (for Donnelly, 63 mins), Smyth, Winchester, Murray (for Gormley, 90 mins), Caldwell.

DEBRECEN: Novakovic, Bouadla, Lazar, Meszaros, Mate, Sidibe, Bodi, Varga, Tisza, Korhut, Jovanovic. Subs: Poleksic, Damahou, Zsidai (for Jovanovic, 84 mins), Mihelic (for Bodi, 78 mins), Morozov, Brkovic, Seydi (for Tisza, 46 mins).

REFEREE: Artur Manuel Ribeiro Soares Dias (Portugal)