Cork City’s hopes of progressing to the second qualifying round of the Europa League are all but over as they were beaten 2-0 by Progrés Niederkorn at Turner’s Cross on Thursday evening.
City fell behind after 11 minutes as Colm Horgan was caught in possession on his own end line allowing Belmin Muratovic to steal possession and drill the ball past a helpless Mark McNulty at his near post to give the visitors the lead.
Horgan’s misery was compounded in the 21st minute when he brought down the lively Mayron De Almeida inside the area and the attacker emphatically fired the ball into the top left corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Cork were handed a lifeline midway through the first period when Latvian referee Aleksandrs Anufrijevs again pointed to the spot following a foul on Conor McCarthy inside the area. But Karl Sheppard failed to place the ball home from 12 yards as his strike down the middle was turned over the crossbar by the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Sebastian Flauss.
City tried to force their way back into the tie but they never truly threatened their opponent’s goal with Gearoid Morrissey firing straight at the keeper before the break and Ronan Hurley slicing a volley wide for their best chance in the second half.
Progrés threatened to add a third on the counter-attack as the game drew to a close but in the end they gladly settled for the significant lead they had already earned going into the second leg next Thursday night.
Referee: Aleksandrs Anufrijevs (Latvia).