Europa League play-off: Cliftonville 3-2 Glentoran

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Cliftonville beat Glentoran in Europa League play-off

Cliftonville sealed a place in next season's Europa League with a dramatic 3-2 win over Glentoran at Solitude.

Jay Donnelly headed the hosts ahead but Glentoran replied with a Curtis Allen free-kick and Jay Magee header.

Cliftonville keeper Conor Devlin and Glentoran's Chris Lavery were sent-off for fighting and the Glens were down to nine when Barry Holland was red-carded.

Cliftonville equalised with a James Knowles penalty and got an 80th-minute winner through sub David McDaid.

Cliftonville celebrated an incident-packed win over Glentoran
Cliftonville celebrated an incident-packed win over Glentoran

Cliftonville's win is worth at least £160,000 in Uefa qualification payments.

They took the lead in the 11th minute when Donnelly headed in from close-range after his first effort had come off the crossbar.

Glentoran equalised through a superb free-kick from 22 yards by striker Allen and defender Magee headed in from a Chris Lavery corner five minutes later for 2-1.

Cliftonville claimed they should have had a penalty for hand ball against Jay Magee but referee Raymond Crangle felt the contact had been accidental.

Cliftonville players will not have much of a break as the first legs of the first qualifying round are scheduled for 30 June
Cliftonville players will not have much of a break as the first legs of the first qualifying round are scheduled for 30 June

The first half ended with players getting involved in a mass brawl and keeper Devlin and midfielder Lavery were shown red cards in the tunnel.

Glentoran were then reduced to nine when skipper Holland brought down Stephen Garrett in the box.

Jay Donnelly took the resulting penalty but Glens keeper Elliott Morris saved it.

Then came another penalty for hands by Curtis Allen and this time Knowles found the net for 2-2 in the 63rd minute.

In the end, Glentoran were running out of steam and the winner came in the 80th minute when McDaid scored with a shot from just outside the penalty area.

What they said

Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle: "It was all about digging deep and I have to applaud the players for that.

"To be fair to Glentoran they played their part. They had two players sent off but made it hard for us.

"I am over the moon for everyone involved. The ultimate goal was to qualify for Europe and we have won a cup as well."

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Alan Kernaghan took charge of Glentoran last November

Glentoran manager Alan Kernaghan: "The game was there for us to have but decisions and indiscipline cost us.

"I think the half-time incident hurt us more than Cliftonville. We just could not get going after that.

"I am hugely proud of the players in terms of what they did. They gave it everything and should not be too down on themselves."

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