Europa League: Crusaders 1-2 Rosenborg

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Crusaders manager Stephen Bexter is "extremely proud" of his players as they take the lead against Rosenborg in the Europa League qualifier first leg at Seaview before going down to a 2-1 defeat.

Crusaders went down to Norwegian side Rosenborg in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie at Seaview on Thursday night.

Jordan Owens curled a fine shot into the top corner of the net from 25 yards to give the Crues a 22nd minute lead.

John Chibuke headed home the equaliser from a Nicki Bille Nielsen right-wing cross in first half added time.

Jonas Svensson scored the winner on 77 minutes when he sidefooted in from eight yards from a Borek Dockal cross.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and Sean O'Neill got down well to save a Tore Reginiussen shot from Dockal's free-kick in the ninth minute.

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Baxter pride as Crues test Rosenborg

Paul Heatley was the provider for Owens' opener when he put in some good work on the left and cut the ball back for Owens to fire home.

The pair combined again just after the half hour mark, when Heatley teed the ball up for his team-mate, who shot wide of the post when he should have found the target.

Nigerian Chibuke was then left unmarked to head in from four yards at the back post just before the interval.

The second half was a more quiet affair, but Chibuke headed straight into the hands of O'Neill in the 72nd minute.

Svensson found the net for what turned out to be the matchwinner, although Eamonn McAllister had a late chance, his dipping volley being easily collected by Alexander Lund Hansen.

Crusaders lost 4-0 on aggregate to the Norweigans in last year's Europa League competition, losing 3-0 at Seaview and 1-0 away from home.

The second leg will be played in Norway next Thursday, with the winners facing Tommy Wright's St Johnstone in the next round.

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