Bohemians face a tough on Thursday when they take on Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia in the Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round. Pat Fenlon’s men trail by two goals following the first league and will need a big performance if they are to progress to a clash against Austria Vienna.
Bohemians will benefit from having a free weekend following the defeat in Slovenia and will be fresher for it, although they will have to plan without Anto Flood who is unavailable after suffering a shoulder injury in a car crash.
Olimpija will come in to the clash on the back of a 3-0 defeat at home to Celje in the opening round of the Slovenian national league, all the goal coming in the second half after they had Erik Salkic sent off after 19 minutes.
Despite that result leaving Olimpija bottom of the table they will come into game with confidence after controlling proceeds in the first leg. Dusan Kosic’s side impressed in patches last week however their cause was aided by some poor referring that lead to both goals. Kosic will once again look to Matic Fink on the flanks while Dare Vrsic, who scored both of Olimpija’s goal look a handy component of the set piece.
Despite hailing his players efforts in Slovenia, Bohs manager Fenlon did feel aggrieved with the manner in which they conceded from a free and a penalty, saying “I’m disappointed, because when you don’t concede from play you have to think your game plan’s been quite good,”
“I thought both decisions, for the penalty and the free-kick were very, very dubious, particularly the free-kick. The penalty was hard for me to see and the free-kick was a great tackle from Owen, the player fell into him. To concede two set-pieces is more disappointing than anything.”
However the former Shelbourne manager was quick to praise his player’s ethic and work rate “The heat was sapping and the work-rate from the players was incredible. I don’t think anyone could realise how warm it was out there. But I thought we coped OK. We soaked up a lot of pressure and I can’t remember when they played little one-twos and got in behind us.”
Ahead of the second leg, Fenlon was remaining optimistic about his team’s chances. “We’ve got to score the first goal and see how they react; do they panic a little bit? It’s about scoring the first goal. They are a good side and we’ll have our work cut out.”
However History is not on Bohemians side as only twice in the clubs history has the club managed to overturn a first leg defeat to progress in Europe. The first time came in September 1978 in the European Cup 1st round when Bohs beat AC Omonia of Cyprus on away goals. Having lost 2-1 in Cyprus, a Paddy Joyce goal gave Bohs a 1-0 home win and saw them progress.
It was almost 25 year later before Bohs would repeat the trick when they beat BATE Borisov 3-0 at home after losing 1-0 away.
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