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Eu Reds: Aalborg

Continuing our mini-series of European anniversaries in the countdown to Cliftonville’s return to action, we’re turning the clock back to the Club’s first ever visit to Scandinavia.

For it was on this day in 1996 that the Reds completed their InterToto Cup obligations with a clash against Aalborg.

Having garnered a solitary point from their prior Group 1 outings against Standard Liege, Hapoel Haifa and Stuttgart, Marty Quinn’s side travelled to the Nordjyske Arena playing for pride more than anything else and were certainly giving a more than decent account of themselves despite midfielder Mark O’Neill having to assume goalkeeping duties following Dean Smyth’s dismissal.

Unfortunately for the visitors, a late flurry of Aalborg goals saw them turn a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 victory that sent the Danes to the top of the table, a position from which they were usurped courtesy of a 1-0 loss in Liege the following week.

Cliftonville: Smyth, Hill, Flynn, Small, McDonagh, Strang, McCann, O’Neill, O’Connor, Stokes, Donnelly.
Subs: Collins (for Hill), McGlinchey (for McCann), Feehan (for Stokes).

Today also marks 13 years since another 4-0 defeat in the InterToto Cup – this time inflicted by KAA Gent of Belgium.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg of the 2007 Second Round tie, The Buffalos opened the scoring at Windsor Park through Dominic Foley – the former Ireland international who had netted both goals at Jules Ottenstadion the previous week – before Adekambi Olufade (2) and Davy De Beule completed a 6-0 aggregate success.

Cliftonville: Connolly, Fleming, M Holland, Johnston, McAlinden, B Holland, Murphy, O’Hara, Kennedy, Sweeney, O’Connor.
Subs: Friars (for Murphy), Smyth (for McAlinden), C McMullan (for Sweeney).

And, as if to further demonstrate that July 14 is far from a favourable date for the Club, today is also the fourth anniversary of a heartbreaking home loss to AEK Larnaca.

Ahead through Jason McGuinness early on, a little bit of history was made when Jay Donnelly – who had scored against Differdange the previous week – became the first ever Cliftonville player to net in successive European games when he made it 2-0, only for the visitors to roar back in a stunning 16 minute spell that saw Ivan Trickovski, Elias Charalambous and Joan Thomas hit the target in a 3-2 win for the Cypriots.

Cliftonville: J Mooney, Ives, Bonner, McGuinness, Curran, Knowles, McDaid, M Donnelly, Winchester, J Donnelly, Cosgrove.
Subs: Burke, McGovern, Ramsey, Garrett (for Winchester), Hughes (for McDaid), D Murray, Lavery (for M Donnelly).