Football

Watch: Gary Rogers The Hero As Dundalk Squeeze Through European Tie On Penalties

Watch: Gary Rogers The Hero As Dundalk Squeeze Through European Tie On Penalties

Well, that was stressful. They made very hard work of it, but Dundalk are through to the next round of the Champions League qualifiers in the most dramatic of circumstances after a penalty shootout victory in Latvia.

Entering this evening's second leg against Riga, the tie was finely balanced at 0-0. There seemed to be nerves from both sides throughout, although Dundalk had the better of the play.

It was a game of relatively few chances, with this effort from Patrick McEleney the closest Dundalk came to breaking the deadlock in the opening half.

They thought they had opened the scoring in the 67th minute, but Pat Hoban's effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

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Dundalk appealed for a penalty in the closing minutes of normal time, but it turned out to an absolutely shocking dive from Daniel Kelly.

After two fairly uneventful periods of extra time, we were set for penalties.

Riga were up first, and both sides converted each of their three opening spot kicks. Then things went to the dogs a bit.

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Both sides missed their fourth and fifth penalties, with Georgie Kelly scuppering the chance to win it for Dundalk with the final penalty.

Off to sudden death we would go, where Gary Rogers pulled off his second save of the shootout to hand the impetus to his side. This time, Sean Hoare made no mistake.

Huge scenes.

Dundalk will now face Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the next qualifying round, a team who have featured in the Champions League group stages in recent times.

That one will no doubt be a huge task, but for now they can enjoy a well deserved victory in Latvia.

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Gary Connaughton

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