Champions League Qualification second leg: Shamrock Rovers v Slovan Bratislava (aggregate score 0-2) - Tallaght Stadium, kick-off 8:00pm


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Losing 2-0 from the first leg, and based on the first meeting between the two sides, it would be fair to suggest that Rovers face an uphill task to progress to the next phase of the Champions League.

They just about stayed in the tie thanks to an injury time penalty save by Alan Mannus. Returning with a three-goal deficit would have surely made the home tie a stroll of sorts for the visitors.

However, the League of Ireland champions now have the chance to show that they are a better team than showed in Slovakia and will be aware that one goal will get them right back into the contest.

Stephen Bradley’s side will also be conscious of the new away-goals rule, or lack thereof, which means that should Slovan score in Tallaght, the game will not automatically be beyond reach.

The Hoops should also feel a lot more comfortable playing back home in normal Irish summer conditions, after really struggling to cope with the soaring temperatures last week, where it was around 36 degrees inside the stadium. The forecast for Tallaght should be around 15-18 degrees at kick-off time this evening.

Having said that, Rovers will need to gel at a more consistent level than they have performed this season if they are to turn this tie around. Bradley's side will also take confidence from certain situations in the first leg where the Hoops matched the Slovakian side and threatened in the final third.

Their possession-based football and formation is designed to be able to compete with quality European sides and the manager will be looking for inspiration from last season’s home game against AC Milan, where Rovers competed and created against a team a level above tonight’s opponents.

And Bradley will also remind his side of the previous European encounters, where Rovers impressed with victories against Brann over two legs and Apollon Limassol at home, while they also took Swedish side AIK to extra-time in the second leg in Stockholm.


Stephen Bradley acknowledged that his team should have performed better last week, but believes that the Hoops have a chance to get back into the tie.

The manager felt that his side lost focus in last week’s encounter at vital moments and as a result, were punished with the two goals.

Bradley expects his side to put in a greater collective performance in tonight’s second leg, although he did feel that the team still needs to give the visitors the respect that they deserve, having dominated Slovakian football over the past decade.

"They are very good, there is no doubting that," said Bradley.

"They have been dominant in Slovakian football for the last number of years. They have a lot of internationals.

"You don’t get a real feel until you see them in the flesh and play them but they were what we thought they would be.

"I still feel there is more in us, and I think we will show that [tonight]. We can be better in every aspect, we know that and I am sure we'll show that, without being naive and not respecting what they are.

"Over there, we showed them too much respect and the conditions played a part as well, but they are a good side."

Mannus hoping for his own shootout glory in Tallaght


Still in pre-season, Slovan showed that they were already at a high level in last week’s first leg clash in Bratislava.

The Slovakian champions are still two weeks away from beginning their league campaign, taking on Liptovsky Mikulas on 24 July, and if anything, Vladimir Weiss’ side should be in even better shape coming into the game.

There is quality throughout the team and players like Ezekiel Henty, Aleksandar Cavric and Ibrahim Rabiu caused the Hoops problems in the first leg, not to mention Brazillian Rafael Ratao, who bagged both goals.

The manager’s son of the same name is well known, having played for the national side in the recent Euro 2020, and he impressed off the bench.

The former Rangers and Espanyol winger will be in contention to start tonight and will offer an additional attacking threat to the visitors.

Rovers will hope that Slovan may be a touch complacent believing that they are a better side and progression will be a mere formality.

An early goal in Tallaght, combined with the fact that the Hoops will have 1,500 supporters inside the stadium could create quite the night at the Dublin venue.


Rovers have no fresh injury worries going into tonight's game.

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