St Patrick's Athletic 2-1 extra time victory over NK Široki Brijeg in the Europa League has sealed a Third Qualifying Round tie with German outfit Hannover 96. Pat's held the advantage after a 1-1 draw in Bosnia, but needed extra time to seal their progress at Richmond Park.
The visitors had the better start in Inchicore, but Liam Buckley's men were set up well defensively, as Brendan Clarke was well protected by his back four. Ian Bermingham and Kenny Browne both put in great tackles to keep Siroki Brijeg at bay, At the other end Luka Bilobrk was forced to tip the ball over after a stinging shot from Sean O'Connor.
Pat's grew into the match as the first half went on, with James Chambers impressing in the middle and testing Bilobrk with a couple of decent chances. Biolbrk really should have done better to collect O'Connor's 39th minute centre, but was left stranded as Chris Forrester pulled the ball back for John Russell to give the Saints the lead.
The hosts went in 1-0 at the break, but because of Pat's away goal in the first leg, Siroki always needed to score in Dublin to stand any chance of progressing. The Bosnians came out more attack-minded after the break, and saw Krešimir Kordić and Wagner both get early chances. Clarke was a match for the first effort, while the Brazilian midfielder fired over.
A dangerous shot from Wagner was deflected out for a corner on 65 minutes, with defender Ivica Dzidić heading in Dalibor Šilić's set piece. The goal levelled the tie on aggregate and cancelled out Pat's away goal. Both teams seemed happy to settle for extra time, with only one real effort coming in the rest of normal time, as Bilorbk saved Bolger's header.
Liam Buckley's teamtalk spurred the Saints on, with Chris Forrester and Fagan both carving out good chances in the first half of extra time. Christy Fagan finally got the goal Pat's deserved in the 104th minute after being played in by Conor Kenna.
Siroki pressed for that vital goal, but Pat's defence held firm for the last few minutes to guarantee their progress with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
St Patrick's Athletic will face German Bundesliga side Hannover 96 in the Third Qualifying Round. The first leg takes place in Dublin next Thursday, August 2nd, but is likely to be held at the Tallaght Stadium due to UEFA regulations.
Meanwhile Sligo Rovers suffered a 4-2 aggregate loss to Spartak Trnava and Portadown were heavily defeated by Slaven Belupo, losing 10-2 over two legs.