Champions League - Qualifying - Second Round - 1st Leg
Skenderbeu4Crusaders1

Skenderbeu Korce 4-1 Crusaders

Action from the match between Skenderbeu and Crusaders

Irish Premiership champions Crusaders were beaten 4-1 in Albania by Skenderbeu in their Champions League second qualifying round first leg.

After first-half goals by Bakary Nimaga and Hamdi Salihi, Jordan Owens pulled back an away goal for the Belfast side on 48 minutes.

Declan Caddell went close to equalising before Bernard Berisha restored Skenderbeu's two-goal advantage.

Salihi struck his second goal of the night seven minutes from time.

The two late goals leave the Crues with a massive task in next Tuesday's home leg.

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Jordan Owens says heat hit Crues in Albania first-leg defeat

They arguably deserved better in Albania after battling bravely for the entire game.

The Northern Ireland champions were relatively untroubled in the early stages before falling behind on 15 minutes after Berisha set up Nimaga to score despite Sean O'Neill getting a hand on to the shot.

But Crusaders regrouped and went close to levelling just on the half-hour mark as Owens headed a Craig McClean free-kick inches wide.

However, within three minutes the Albanian champions doubled their advantage as Salihi prodded home after the unlucky O'Neill had been unable to hold a deflected shot.

But Crusaders looked right back in the tie three minutes after the interval as Owens superbly headed a Billy Joe Burns cross to the net.

Marko Radas hit the Crusaders woodwork on 60 minutes but Crusaders then produced pressure of their own as Caddell was denied by Skenderbeu keeper Orges Shehi.

But a neat build-up set up Berisha to restore Skenderbeu's two-goal advantage on 76 before Salihi's second strike late on surely put the tie beyond Crusaders's reach.

However, the Belfast side will earn in the region of £525,000 from their European endeavours even if they bow out next week.

Line-ups

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Atl Madrid64111431113
2Juventus631274310
3Olympiakos63031013-39
4Malmö FF6105415-113

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid66001621418
2FC Basel621378-17
3Liverpool612359-45
4Ludogorets6114514-94

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Monaco632141311
2B Leverkusen631274310
3Zenit St Petersburg621346-27
4Benfica612326-45

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Dortmund64111441013
2Arsenal6411158713
3Anderlecht6132810-26
4Galatasaray6015419-151

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bayern Munich65011641215
2Man City62229818
3Roma6123814-65
4CSKA Moscow6123613-75

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona65011551015
2PSG6411107313
3Ajax6123810-25
4Apoel Nicosia6015112-111

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea64201731414
2Schalke6222914-58
3Sporting6213121207
4NK Maribor6033413-93

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto64201641214
2Shakhtar Donetsk6231154119
3Ath Bilbao621356-17
4BATE Borisov6105224-223
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