Cliftonville suffer Solitude setback as Haugesund seal first-leg Europa League edge

Cliftonville suffered a first-half setback at Solitude against Haugesund. Pic by Pacemaker.
Cliftonville suffered a first-half setback at Solitude against Haugesund. Pic by Pacemaker.
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Cliftonville will travel to Norway aiming to turn around the Europa League tie with Haugesund settled in the first leg at Solitude by Christian Grindheim’s first-half finish.

Garry Breen fed Joe Gormley for Cliftonville’s opening sight of goal but the effort cleared the crossbar.

The Reds had Conor McDermott to thank for a superb sliding challenge to deflect away the danger and prevent Ibrahima Kone from breaking the deadlock.

However, Haugesund moved in front before half-time off Grindheim’s finish.

McDermott offered an attacking threat but Chris Curran’s header off the resultant cross dropped wide of the upright.

Richard Brush was forced to make a stop early in the second half from Niklas Sandberg’s free-kick effort.

A well-worked move featured a pass from substitute Ryan Curran for Conor McMenamin to deliver towards the back post but Rory Donnelly’s connection lacked the power to trouble Helge Sandvik.

Pressure by Cliftonville sparked two sights of goal in quick succession.

McDermott’s delivery caused problems and Haugesund had to scramble away Donnelly’s attempt then Sandberg cleared off Joe Gorman from the resultant Curran corner-kick.

Cliftonville’s late push for a way back into the tie received a boost with a red card for Torbjorn Kallevag on 78 minutes.

However, the Reds could not maximise the advantage.

CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, McDermott, Ives, Breen, C.Curran (R.Curran, 66), R.Donnelly, Bagnall, Doehrty, Gormley, McMenamin, Gorman (Maguire, 86).

Subs (not used): Dunne, Harney, Harkin, Foster, Wilson.

HAUGESUND: Sandvik, Bergqvist, Hansen, Grindheim (Krygard, 46), Tronstad, Sandberg, Samuelsen (Knudsen, 82), Kallevag, Leite, Desler, Kone (Velde, 33).

Subs (not used): Gostomski, Pedersen, Ikedi, Ndayisenga.