Europa League: Linfield beat NSI Runavik 2-0 in first leg

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Guy Bates scored his first goal for Linfield

Linfield are well placed to reach the second qualifying round of the Europa League after beating NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands 2-0 at Windsor Park.

Skipper Andrew Waterworth and debutant striker Guy Bates scored the second-half goals to give the Blues a handy cushion going into the second leg.

Waterworth hooked the opener into the roof of the net in the 57th minute after Ivan Sproule's corner.

Stephen Lowry then sent Bates through to make it 2-0 in the 73rd minute.

Former Glenavon front man Bates saw off his marker before side-footing past keeper Andras Gango.

The second leg will be played at Toftir in the Faroe Islands on Thursday, 9 July.

Runavik had a couple of early chances in Belfast with Haraldur Hojgaard firing over from the edge of the box and Ara Frederiksberg shooting wide.

But it was Irish Premiership runners-up Linfield who had the best opportunity of the first half when a long ball over the top sent Waterworth through in the ninth minute. The Blues striker was well-placed on the right side of the penalty area but dragged his shot wide of the far post.

The side from the Faroes were prepared to attack and caused an anxious moment for Linfield when a cross fell to Jens Joensen, and home defender Mark Haughey saved the day with a superb clearance.

Linfield pressed in the second half and saw an effort blocked before Lowry's strike was deflected for a corner.

Sproule's delivery was headed on by Haughey and Waterworth pounced to hook in.

The second goal was created by an accurate pass from Lowry and Bates did well to finish it off for his first goal in a Linfield shirt.

There were other chances for Warren Feeney's men but they will probably be content to take a two-goal lead into the away leg.

Linfield manager Warren Feeney: "It is a banana skin going into games like these and people do not realise how hard it is against side who are 17 days into their season.

"We had a shaky start but looked comfortable for most of the game.

"They were no mugs and looked to knock the ball about in the first half.

"But we got the right result and the big thing for us was keeping a clean sheet.

"There is still a long way to go and we will not be sitting back in the second leg. I do not believe in that - I like to get at teams."

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