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Date Time League Season
4 August 2022 6:00 pm UEFA Europa Conference 2022

Match Report

Pats pounce late to take advantage home from Bulgaria

Serge Atakayi was St. Patrick's super sub, as his anticipation and quick thinking helped them snatch a late winner in Bulgaria against CSKA Sofia, giving them a slender cushion ahead of next week's UEFA Conference League second leg tie.

Having entered Bulgaria after an early cup exit on Sunday, Tim Clancy's men started well and watched as their hosts struggled to take control of a game most expected they would with ease.

Joe Redmond made crucial interceptions on multiple occasions, while Joseph Anang responded well when busy in the St. Pats' goal, as they were deserved winners in a slow-burning European affair.

CSKA's inaccuracy from promising set-pieces was jarring to watch early on, as the visitors made their presence felt early on -- Adam O'Reilly and Billy King in particular looking lively.

Sofia largely played down the flanks, though their supporters were increasingly restless at their team's struggles to truly test Anang as multiple attacks were snuffed out and the final ball - for both sides - frequently disappointed.

Barry Cotter was much better without the ball than with it, making timely interceptions which led to promising breakaways, only for his decision-making and lack of composure to see them fizzle out.

The only real chance of the half for Sofia came through Mauricio Garcez, who cut inside and struck goalwards after a defence-splitting pass by Jurgen Matheij. He rued his lack of luck as Anang spilled his low effort, but subsequently won a free-kick after absorbing a high boot moments later.

In the second-half, Christopher Forrester and O'Reilly had chances but scuffed their lines, as Sofia made substitutions galore. King fired wide after a marauding run through midfield, before matchwinner Atakayi replaced him.

Anang saved well from Stanislav Shopov and Jonathan Lindseth as the hosts pressed intently with tiring legs a factor, but the better team on the night stole it late on.

Atakayi's forward pressure proved key, anticipating a weak headed backpass by Asen Donchev's as goalkeeper Gustavo Busatto charged off his line. His quick turn of pace helped him bravely challenge for, and poke the loose ball through the keeper's legs before slotting into an empty net.  

This result was deserved on the balance of play, even after a frenzied second-half which could've gone either way. Next week, they start from scratch and must not get over complacent, even if 90 minutes separate them and a place in the Conference League play-off round later this month. 

  • Thanks for joining me tonight, I've been Mosope Ominiyi... hope you've enjoyed following this clash - stay tuned for the report and more, as Shamrock Rovers are about to get underway themselves. Until next time, goodnight!

  • 95'

    FT: CSKA Sofia 0-1 St. Patrick's Athletic - Yes they can! Redmond with a big interception in stoppage-time, it's all over. Can't deny they didn't deserve it after a frenzied second-half, but the job isn't finished yet...

  • 90'

    Five minutes of stoppage-time to come... can St. Pats hang on for a famous win?

  • 88'

    Anang tips Lindseth's header over the crossbar, Redmond then produces a big header away!

  • 87'

    GOAL!!! ST. PATS STEAL IT! Serge Atakayi\'s pressure and pace helps anticipate a weak backpass and Asen Donchev\'s header back to the goalkeeper is duly pounced upon. He pokes through the keeper\'s legs and it\'s 1-0!

  • 83'

    Anang dives low to his near post and denies Shopov's driving effort, which could've crept in.

  • 82'

    Matheij looks to have been physically flagging and gets away with an awful clearance! Doyle fires wide after winning the ball, but really should've kept that on target.

  • 78'

    King marauds forward on a lung-busting run but fires narrowly high and wide of the goal! That will be his last action of the evening, as Atakayi replaces him.

  • 75'

    Lennon is now booked for a lunging tackle on Shopov. The graphic on screen was wrong, Billy King booked earlier rather than the midfielder.. so still 11 vs. 11!

  • 74'

    16-year-old Sam Curtis is now in Brockbank's place, as he trudges off in pain with the physio.

  • 72'

    Brockbank is down with cramp just before a Sofia corner and the referee's helping him stretch out, that's a sight you rarely see! Boos reverberate around the stadium by the hosts.

  • 70'

    After a frantic ricochet causes indecision in the box, you can visibly see St. Pats players struggling with cramp with 20 minutes left... understandably so, you've got to think changes are incoming shortly.

  • 64'

    Doyle hits the crossbar! But thankfully for his peace of mind, the linesman flags for offside.

  • 62'

    Lennon also booked now, just after that double change. Lindseth's forceful foul on O'Reilly surprisingly goes unpunished by the match official though..

  • 60'

    Two players coming on for their debuts now: Bamba and Lindseth on for Nazon and Vion.

  • 58'

    Breslin booked now, for what the referee believes is time-wasting at a throw-in...

  • 55'

    Grivosti with a well-timed headed clearance as Sofia share the ball down the flank with a patient passing sequence, cross was in a dangerous area...

  • 52'

    Chance! Breslin's free-kick finds Forrester, open in space with the goal to aim at... but he scuffs the attempt and Sofia clear their lines. Must do better there. Shortly afterwards, O'Reilly also got his feet caught on a marauding run.

  • 48'

    Cotter latest into the referee's book for a cynical challenge.

  • 46'

    Second-half is underway, no changes by either side so far.

  • 45'

    HT: CSKA Sofia 0-0 St. Patrick\'s Athletic. A few promising St. Pats half-chances fizzled out due to poor final balls, but no real clear chances to speak of just yet - that will suit Tim Clancy\'s men just fine. Goalless.

  • 45'

    Just the one minute of stoppage-time to be played here.

  • 44'

    Youga tries his luck with an ambitious shot from distance, but it trickles harmlessly wide.

  • 41'

    Redmond excellent in the air twice in quick succession, as St. Pats do a good job at nullifying their hosts from another dangerous inswinging ball and subsequent corner.

  • 35'

    Grivosti then makes an important headed interception as Sofia intensify their build-up play, stretching the visitors now...

  • 34'

    Grivosti is first into the referee's book for a deliberate handball to stop Nazon in his tracks as he looked to advance with the ball in mid-air. No complaints either!

  • 33'

    Vion retrieves possession well in a dangerous area, delivers a hopeful cross but Anang holds firm with a good catch to relieve pressure on his defenders.

  • 31'

    Jurgen Matheij shows his passing range with an excellent ball for Garcez, who cuts inside and strikes goalwards... Anang spills the shot but the referee blows his whistle for a foul on the goalkeeper after a trailing boot.

  • 29'

    Bradley de Nooijer's overlapping run and subsequent low cross inside the box is blocked by Cotter, who tracked the sprint well while matching him for pace... resulting corner comes to nothing though.

  • 28'

    Redmond with a big header away as Sofia float their most dangerous corner of the evening so far, O'Reilly takes charge and danger is averted.

  • 25'

    Cotter reads the play well to snuff out an attempted crossfield cross but again, lacks the conviction with his passing... another half-chance fizzles out. The reaction from St. Pats' coaching staff on the touchline is one of exasperation.

  • 24'

    Overhit crosses galore from the hosts, twice in quick succession and Sofia's sluggish start continues. Their fans are already booing Anang as he's in no rush to take goal-kicks, but it's clear where the frustrations lie.

  • 18'

    Cotter again doesn't execute the final ball well, this time after driving into the box with Doyle calling for it in the six-yard box. He kicks the advertising hoardings in frustration and while the pitch could be in better condition, needed to be more composed there.

  • 16'

    Breslin with a good bit of defensive awareness to snuff out a dangerous situation down the right-hand side as Sofia charge forwards intently.

  • 10'

    Harry Brockbank is given a talking to by the referee after a clumsy challenge on Tufegdzic down the flank, though a poor delivery from the eventual free-kick leaves St. Pats' off the hook.

  • 8'

    Billy King finds himself with a yard of space just outside the area, he shapes to shoot... and curls an ambitious effort over the bar. Off target but this has been an encouraging start from the visitors.

  • 4'

    CSKA's corner fizzles out quickly and Adam O'Reilly charges with the ball at his feet in transition on the counter before releasing a teammate in space. Cotter's subsequent pass is poor and despite a handball shout, St. Pats' half-chance is dead.

  • And we're off! St. Pats kicking from right to left in this first-half, it'll be interesting to see how quickly they can settle early on here.

  • Kick-off is nearly upon us now, check the respective teams' in the line-up tab!

  • Just under half-an-hour until KO now, fancy a spot of pre-match reading? Check my match preview in the article tab.

  • The 22-year-old Englishman, signed on-loan from Stevenage back in January, was St. Pats' hero in the previous round as they were taken all the way to penalties during their second leg against Mura.

  • My name's Mosope Ominiyi and I'll be taking you through the evening's action from Bulgaria, in what could be a very busy night's work for visiting goalkeeper Joseph Anang.

  • Good evening and welcome to tonight\'s live play-by-play commentary, as St. Patrick\'s Athletic face CSKA Sofia in the first leg of their final UEFA Europa Conference League qualification round. Kick-off is at 6pm.

St. Pat's Ath.

1Joseph Anang Goalkeeper
Eoin Doyle 10 Forward
3Anto Breslin Defender 58'
5Tom Grivosti Defender 34'
2Barry Cotter Defender 48'
12Harry Brockbank 22 Defender
20Joe Redmond Defender
6Jamie Lennon Midfielder 75'
8Chris Forrester Midfielder
8Adam O’Reilly Midfielder
15Billy King 7 Forward 60'
23David Odumosu Goalkeeper
29Paddy Barrett Defender
22Sam Curtis 12 Defender
18Ben McCormack Midfielder
25Thijs Timmermans Midfielder
7Serge Atakayi 15 Forward 87'
10Ronan Coughlan Forward
11Jason McClelland Forward
45Babatunde Owolabi Forward

Ground

Stadion Balgarska Armia
Georgi Asparuhov Stadium, 47, Todorini kukli, zh.k. Suhata reka, Poduyane, Sofia, Sofia City, Sofia-City, 1517, Bulgaria