Europa League: FK Ekranas 1-2 Crusaders (aggregate 2-5)

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter celebrates with Paul Heatley
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter celebrates with Paul Heatley

Paul Heatley scored twice as Crusaders beat FK Ekranas 2-1 in the second leg of their Europa League qualifier in Lithuania, winning 5-2 on aggregate.

Heatley and Owens had chances in the first half, before the Crues went ahead in the 56th minute when Heatley poked the ball home from six yards.

Lukas Kochanauskas levelled after the Crues failed to clear on the hour mark.

Heatley beat a defender and shot home on 71 minutes to book his side a place in the second qualifying round.

The Crues will face Swedish outfit IF Brommapojkarna in their next tie.

In the opening period, Heatley shot wide and then Owens was denied by the goalkeeper and headed just over the bar.

Crusaders, who came third in the Irish Premiership in 2013-14, finished the first half strongly at the Aukstaitija Stadium in Panevezys, but Heatley was crowded out as he went to shoot.

Stephen Baxter's side will have skipper Colin Coates available again for the next round after the defender missed Thursday night's game because of a holiday.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter:

"This is a tremendous victory - to win home and away against a side like this is a great achievement and the players deserve all the credit.

"The match was played in 25 degrees heat, which is quite energy sapping, but we are thrilled to be in the next round of the competition.

"We deserved to win the game - we were in control in the latter stages and they ran out of ideas."

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