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Eu Reds: Tiligul Tiraspol

There’s not long left now until the Europa League First Qualifying Round draw and, as we begin counting down the days towards proceedings at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on Wednesday, we’re kicking off a mini series of continental anniversaries – starting with a stirring performance in Moldova.

It was 17 years ago this very day that Cliftonville, barely refreshed since the end of the Irish League’s domestic season, took on Tiligul Tiraspol in the InterToto Cup.

Despite falling behind to a ninth minute penalty from Serghei Covalciuc (pictured), the Reds battled gamely and avoided the concession of any further goals to claim a respectable First Leg result in front of a 4,000-strong crowd at the Stadion Municipal.

At Solitude the following week, Chris Scannell levelled the aggregate score with an early strike but, with Cliftonville reduced to nine men following the dismissals of Pat Wall and Michael Collins, Covalciuc put Tiligul back in front in Extra Time before Iurie Priganiuc and Valentin Ivahnenco secured progress for the visitors.