Roberto Lopes found redemption at the death on a sweltering night in Bergen as Shamrock Rovers twice came from behind to shock SK Brann in their Europa League first qualifying round, first leg.

Central to much of the key action, defender Lopes first forced an own goal before conceding a penalty. The 27-year-old then delighted the raucous band of 200 or so Hoops fans in the Brann Stadion to pop up with a fairytale equaliser deep in stoppage time.


Having gone into the first leg underdogs against a vastly experienced Norwegian side, Stephen Bradley's Hoops now want Tallaght Stadium rocking for the second leg next week in the hope of completing their passage through to the second round.

With three at the back, Rovers started positively in the evening sunshine, pressing Brann high up the pitch.

But it counted for little as the home side took the lead against the run of play from the first corner of the game on 12 minutes.

Ethan Boyle headed away Fredrik Haugen's delivery. But the ball dropped inviting for Estonian international Taijo Teniste who chested in down onto his left foot to strike a crisp left-foot volley that beat Alan Mannus from some 25 yards.

Buoyed by that, Brann upped their tempo with Rovers having a let off on 26 minutes.

Gilbert Koomson raided on the left. His cross was poorly dealt with by Joey O'Brien with Greg Bolger’s attempted clearance thankfully coming off a Brann player for a goal kick.

Rovers responded with Lopes inches from getting his head on the end of a superb Jack Bryne free kick before keeper Hakon Opdal punched clear.

Byrne’s touch and guile was Rovers’ chief foil and he was instrumental in their equaliser on 34 minutes.

Having initially won the free kick, Byrne curled it in to the near post for the run of Lopes.

And though the Hoops defender didn’t quite make it with an attempted diving header, the ball flew off the knee of Amer Ordagic and into the far corner of the net.

If Lopes initially claimed the goal, he was suckered into conceding a penalty within two minutes.

Nutmegged by Veton Berisha, Lopes took the Norway international down just inside the area. Berisha drilled the spot kick low and hard to the bottom corner despite Mannus going the right way.

In an open game, Brann’s uncertainty at the back gave Rovers chances and they were close to levelling again on 38 minutes.

While Byrne’s ball didn’t quite find the run of Boyle, Opdal and Ruben Kristiansen got themselves into a bit of a mess in attempting to clear.

With Opdal stranded, Aaron Greene pounced on the loose ball to shoot with Kristiansen recovering to make a crucial block.

A howler in the Rovers' then defence gifted Brann a chance five minutes into the second half.

Lee Grace wasn’t aware that Berisha was behind him as he tried to head Opdal’s long ball back to Mannus.

Berisha, perhaps not believing his luck, failed to capitalise as his poor lob was gathered by Mannus, much to Grace’s relief.

It was Rovers who then failed to make a mistake count on the hour mark.

Skipper Ronan Finn, on his club record-breaking 20th appearance in Europe for Rovers, intercepted a poor pass and worked a one-two with Greene, only to be thwarted by a saving tackle from Bismar Acosta.

Greene then broke through on the counter with Teniste tracking him well to make a superb challenge to win the ball.

Loan striker Greene then wasted Rovers’ most clearcut chance of the game on 64 minutes.

Byrne’s delightful ball put Trevor Clarke in on the left to cross. Looking set to score, Greene shot straight at Opdal who, in fairness, stood up well to make the save.

Brann pressed late on, but could find no further way past Mannus who made a couple saves, on both occasions from Haugen.

Rovers then struck for their due reward four minutes into added time.

The excellent Byrne floated over a perfect corner and Lopes redeemed his earlier penalty concession with a powerful downward header to the bottom corner to the delight of the Hoops faithfully gathered in the corner.

SK Brann: Hakon Opdal; Taijo Teniste, Bismar Acosta, Christian Eggen Rismark, Ruben Kristiansen; Fredrik Haugen, Amer Ordagic (Ruben Jenssen 75), Kristoffer Lokberg (Petter Strand 68); Gilbert Koomson (Daouda Bamba 83), Veton Berisha, Gilli Rolandsson.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Ethan Boyle, Greg Bolger, Sean Kavanagh, Trevor Clarke (Dylan Watts 66); Jack Byrne, Ronan Finn (Aaron McEneff 77); Aaron Greene (Graham Cummins 66).

Referee: Juxhin Xhaja (Albania)

Attendance: 4,560