UEFA Champions League: Shamrock Rovers cruise to second round after holding Hibernians in goalless draw

Shamrock Rovers of Ireland held Hibernians in a goalless draw in the second leg of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League first qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday to make it to the next round of the competition with a comfortable 3-0 aggregate score.

In the next round, the Hoops would be facing PFC Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria who eliminated FK Sutjeska Niksic of Montenegro with a 3-0 aggregate score.

Hibernians, on the other hand, move to the champions path of the UEFA Europa Conference League second qualifying round where they would face Levadia Tallinn of Estonia who had been eliminated from the Preliminary Round semi-finals after losing 6-1 to Vikingur of Iceland. The Paolites should host the first leg but this has to be confirmed by UEFA.

Making his debut for Hibernians was coach Andrea Pisanu, who took over from Stefano Sanderra who joined the SS Lazio primavera side. Pisanu named the returning Jake Grech in the starting line-up after serving a one-match ban but Ferdinando Apap, Andrei Agius and Bjorn Kristensen were still rouled out injured. Apart from Grech, Ayrton Attard and Terence Groothusen were also handed a start as these were preferred to Joseph Zerafa, Thaylor and Gabriel Mensah.

The first half was rather quiet, although Hibs went close with a Groothusen effort from close range turned into a corner by following an assist by Dunstan Vella on the 14th minute. However one minute from half-time, Jurgen Degabriele hit just wide off an inviting cross by Izquier while in added time, Jake Grech hit wide following a cross by Zachary Grech and a short clearance by a defender and then, a cross shot by Ali Diakite was parried by goalkeeper Alan Mannus.

Substitute Richie Towell hit home off a cross from the right by the goal was disallowed for an offside on the 66th minute. The Paolites, on the other hand, failed to penetrate their opponents rear-guard, hardly testing goalkeeper Alan Mannus. In fact, it was only in stoppage time that Jurgen Degabriele had a shot from outside the area saved by the Shamrock goalkeeper when served from the right by Thaylor.

HIBS Ibrahim Kone, Gonzalo Llerena (84′ Andreas Baekskov Laursen), Ayrton Attard (68′ Thaylor Aldama) Jake Grech, Terence Groothusen, Jurgen Degabriele, Dunstan Vella, Zachary Grech (75′ Gabriel Mensah), Gabriel Izquier Artiles (68′ Joseph Zerafa), Ali Diakite, Rodolfo Soares (84′ Lorenzo Soares Fonseca). 

SHAMROCK Alan Mannus, Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Dylan Watts (77′ Jack Bryne), Ronan Finn (77′ Sean Gannon), Aaron Greene (59′ Richie Towell), Gary O’Neill, Rory Gaffney (80′ Aidomo Emakhu), Andrew Lyons, Chris McCann (77′ Sean Kavanagh).

Referee: Manfredas Lukjančukas LTU
Assistant referees: Vytenis Kazlauskas, Edgaras Bučinskas LTU
Fourth Official: Donatas Šimenas LTU