Bohemians' Champions League dream came to a cruel end as Red Bull Salzburg stole a late winner to book a third qualifying round clash against Dinamo Zagreb, writes Shane Murray.
The League of Ireland champions held their illustrious opponents until the 86th minute when substitute Patrik Jezek capitalised on a poor headed back pass from a tired Mark Rossiter to head past goalkeeper Brian Murphy.
A 1-1 draw in Austria last week put Bohs in the driving seat, but although dictating much of the play, the visitors failed to test Murphy until fatigue saw Bohs undone at the death.
Salzburg, as expected, started brightly in front of a packed Dalymount Park as they sought to avenge the surprise draw at the Red Bull Arena last Wednesday, when Joseph Ndo equalised Milan Dudic 25th-minute opener.
The visitors pushed forward from the off, and in the fifth minute Thomas Augustinussen went down in the box under a challenge from Ken Oman, but the referee waved play on.
Christoph Leitgeb then almost got in behind the Bohs back four from a quick throw-out from Salzburg goalkeeper Douglas Gustafsson, but Brian Shelley spotted the threat early and managed to get the ball back to Murphy, Man of the Match in the first leg.
Pat Fenlon's men began to settle and had a chance to break the deadlock when Killian Brennan's 11th-minute free-kick from the right found Jason Byrne, but he couldn't get over the ball and his header landed on the top of the visitors' net.
An excellent passage of play in the 14th minute saw Bohs knock the ball around with confidence, although Salzburg showed their considerable threat when Brennan carelessly conceded possession inside the opponents' half and Christoph Leitgeb drove forward only to pull his left-footed shot wide of Murphy's left post.
In the 18th minute, Conor Powell, getting plenty of room down the left, forced Gustafsson into tipping his dangerous inswinger over the bar for a corner with the ball threatening to sneak in under the Salzburg crossbar.
Somen Tchoyi then saw a snapshot trickle harmlessly wide in the 23rd minute at the other end, while Augustinussen header over in the 28th minute with the goal at his mercy, after Murphy had misjudged the cross.
The Gypsies were denied a possible penalty in the 35th minute when Byrne went down in the box, seemingly barged to the ground when the player blatantly played man and not ball, but the Macedonian referee waved play on.
The sides went in scoreless at the break, with Bohs more than holding their own despite Huub Stevens' claim that his Salzburg side would find it easier to score at Dalymount than they did at home.
A disjointed start to the second half saw both sides concede possession a number of times, before the alert Murphy came out to collect well at the feet of Janko in the 53rd minute for the first meaningful chance of the half.
Play continued to lack the cohesion and precision you'd expect from a Champions League qualifier, but the hosts were the next to threaten when Byrne played an excellent one-two with Ndo on the right and but his tired left-footed shot was easily gathered by Gustafsson in the 67th minute.
Substitute Anto Murphy was harshly booked for appearing to time waste while taking a throw a couple of minutes after coming on for Brennan, who was guilty of giving the ball away cheaply on several occasions.
Murphy didn't prove much better at retaining possession Brennan, and his careless pass ten minutes from time allowed Salzburg to whip the ball whipped in from the right, but Marc Janko – ineffective for the most part - headed narrowly wide at the near post.
Fenlon was not impressed with his sub, and with Salzburg pressing for the goal that could see them through, Augustinussen had another header saved by Murphy in the 83rd minute.
Murphy, anxious to impress the watching Alan Kelly – Giovanni Trapattoni's goalkeeping coach – did well throughout and especially in the closing stages, notably collecting Somen Tchoyi's right-wing centre in the 85th minute.
Bohs, visibly tiring following their exploits in Austria and the 1-0 win over Derry City on Sunday, were leaving gaps and allowing Salzburg more time and space, while also relinquishing possession all too frequently.
And so the winner came in the cruellest of fashion in the 86th minute, the ball played in harmlessly from the left, with Rossiter attempting to guide his header back to the advancing Murphy.
However, the exhausted full-back could only direct his tired header into the path of Jezek, the smallest man on the field, and the Croatian substitute calmly headed beyond the out of position Murphy to steal a victory they scarcely deserved.
The defeat is the latest in a long line of hard luck stories for the league's representatives in Europe, with the wisdom in forcing Bohs to fulfil their fixture against Derry surley to be called into question.
The defeat could also the immediate future of Bohemians and its players, with the club publicly revealing in recent weeks that a decent European run was necessary if the club is to meet its financial commitments this season.
Bohemians: Brian Murphy; Conor Powell, Ken Oman, Brian Shelley, Mark Rossiter (Jason McGuinness 87 mins); Killian Brennan (Anto Murphy 66 mins), Gary Deegan, Paul Keegan, Joseph Ndo, Jason Byrne (Glenn Cronin 84 mins); Glen Crowe.
Substitutions not used: Matt Gregg, Neale Fenn, Patrick Madden, Ryan McEvoy.
Red Bull Salzburg: Douglas Gustafsson; Milan Dudic, Christian Schwegler, Thomas Augustinussen, Somen Tchoyi, Franz Schiemer, Anderas Ulmer (Patrik Jezek 59 mins), Dusan Svento, Marc Janko, Sasa Ilic (Admir Vladavic 63 mins), Christoph Leitgeb (Robin Nelisse 73 mins).
Substitutes not used: Heinz Arzberger, Mejdi Traoui, Barry Opdam, Rene Aufhauser.