Derry City produced a spirited display but were sent crashing out of the Europa League following a 3-0 defeat by Turkish side Trabzonspor.
A second-half double from Brazilian Paulo Henrique proved to be the difference as the Candystripes will wonder what could have been following some horrendous defending in Turkey Substitute Abdulkadir Ozdemir added a brilliant third in injury time to complete a scoreline which was harsh on the home side.
Trabzonspor chose to stick with the same starting XI, featuring five full internationals, that should have won more convincingly in Turkey last week.
After that defeat, City manager Declan Devine called on the home fans to create an intimidating atmosphere, and the roar that greeted the players' arrival echoed the famous roar that greeted teams of yesteryear.
Within 15 minutes in Trabzon, Derry were two goals down and looking desolate; 15 minutes in at the Brandywell told a different story. In the sixth minute, Barry Molloy set Ryan McBride free on the left and his dangerous cross almost fell for Simon Madden. Minutes later, Shane McEleney stepped out of defence, beat two men on a marauding 80 yard run, with Onur Kivrak having to be alert to pick out his cross.
Derry could have led just after the half-hour when Ruaidhri Higgins volleyed a wonderful ball into the path of Eoghan Osbourne and was picked out by the full-back, but his header was just within the grasp of Kivrak. But Devine will know his men were mightily lucky to go in level at half-time and still in the tie.
Adrian Mierzejewski sent Volkan Sen clear with the Turkish international springing the offside trap, and his shot was goalbound via a deflected off Gerard Doherty, but Simon Madden produced a stunning goal-line clearance.
In the 54th minute, the Candystripes again had a chance to reduce the arrears, this time Higgins’ header from Paddy Kavanagh’s corner was tipped over the crossbar by Kivrak. A minute later, the Turkish Super Lig side broke the deadlock and, in the process, the tie. Mierzejewski found himself one-on-one with Doherty, and his scuffed shot fell to Henrique to tap home.
Yet Derry kept coming and Higgins’ drilled free-kick flew narrowly wide with substitute Barry McNamee lurking. With the hosts pressing for a consolation, Sen got in behind the out-of-position Osbourne to cross for Henrique, who calmly slotted underneath Doherty.
In injury time, Henrique teed up Ozdemir who took a touch and launch a fine strike into the bottom corner from 20 yards. With a 7-2 aggregate win, Trabzonspor go on to face Dinamo Minsk, who won 3-2 at Lokomotiva Zagreb to progress on the away goals rule.
Derry City, meanwhile, must return their attentions to Sunday’s trip to Limerick as they look to get back to winning ways in the League.