Cork City recorded a 2-0 win away to Levadia Tallinn, to put themselves in a great position ahead of the second leg at Turner’s Cross next week.
After a cagey opening ten minutes, City began to impose themselves on affairs and Karl Sheppard fired in an inviting cross on 12 minutes with Garry Buckley arriving just to late to get on the end of it. Greg Bolger was next to try his luck, as he warmed the keeper’s gloves on the quarter hour.
Midway through the half, City created two chances in quick succession, as Stephen Dooley fired a shot goalwards and, after the keeper parried it, Buckley was unable to find the net with the rebound.
As City grew into the tie, so did Seanie Maguire, and the Levadia defence had to be on their toes to close him down on the half hour. Minutes later, central defender Tabi was booked for taking Maguire down as he looked to break clear.
City were pushing now, and won a number of corners in quick succession; with Garry Buckley going close and then Maguire going even closer. On 42 minutes, Maguire tempted Tabi into another rash challenge and the defender was shown his second yellow card as his side were reduced to ten men. It got even worse for the home side as, from the resulting free kick, Bolger tipped the ball to Buckley who fired to the net.
Unsurprisingly, the home side came out fighting at the start of the second half, as they sought to find a way back into the game despite their numerical disadvantage. City still looked a threat when going forward, but the home side were very much in the tie and they almost levelled matters with just under a quarter of an hour to go; a wonderful fingertip save by McNulty diverted Morelli’s strike onto the crossbar.
City sealed the tie within five minutes, as John Caulfield’s three second half substitutes combined on 81 minutes. Shane Griffin showed great tenacity and no little skill to break from midfield, before playing in Achille Campion. The striker then showed good awareness to find Steven Beattie on the edge of the box, who steadied himself before blasting an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
City then, take a 2-0 lead and two away goals back to Turner’s Cross next week.
Tickets for the game are now on sale from the club shop, online from Ticketmaster and from all usual outlets. With a large crowd expected, supporters are urged to buy in advance and arrive early, to avoid disappointment.
Referee: Jørgen Burchardt (Denmark).