One day on from Cliftonville’s Europa League First Qualifying Round opener with Haugesund, we continue our mini series of continental anniversaries by turning the clock back seven years to a prior encounter with Scandinavian opposition.
For it was on this day in 2012 that the Reds were eliminated at this same stage of the competition when Kalmar overcame a one goal deficit to record a comfortable 4-0 win at the Guldfageln Arena in Sweden.
Leading thanks to Liam Boyce’s strike in Belfast seven days earlier, Cliftonville saw their advantage wiped out after just 10 minutes thanks to Erik Isrealsson’s opener.
Nenad Dordevic and Abiola Dauda converted to make it 3-0 before half-time and, though the Reds came agonisingly close to bagging the away goal that would have set up a tense finale, the Swedes wrapped up a 4-1 aggregate success when goalkeeper Etrit Berisha scored an injury-time penalty.
Cliftonville: Brown, McGovern, R Scannell, Caldwell, McMullan, Garrett, Donnelly, Smyth, O’Carroll, Catney, Cosgrove.
Subs: Devlin, Johnston, C Scannell (for O’Carroll), Seydak, Gormley (for Donnelly), Lynch, Boyce (for Garrett).
More recently, today also marks a year since Cliftonville were beaten 1-0 by Nordsjælland at Solitude.
Just like last night’s game, the Reds produced a stirring performance but just lacked the clinical edge necessary to impact the scoresheet and, as was the case less than 24 hours ago, went down to a first-half strike; Andreas Olsen doing the damage after 19 minutes.
Debutant Conor McMenamin and Garry Breen each went close to levelling matters for the hosts but, try as they might, Cliftonville took a single goal deficit with them into the second leg in Denmark the following week.
Cliftonville: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Curran, R Donnelly, Bagnall, Gormley, McMenamin.
Subs: Dunne, Garrett (for McMenamin), McDonald, Catney (for McGovern), Lavery, A Donnelly, McNulty.