Champions League - Qualifying First Round - 1st Leg
LinfieldLinfield1La FioritaLa Fiorita0

Jordan Stewart scores a dramatic goal to give Linfield first-leg advantage in Champions League qualifier

Jordan Stewart rounds Gianluca Vivan to score the winning goal
Jordan Stewart rounds Gianluca Vivan to score the winning goal

Linfield have inched closer to a tie against Celtic after a dramatic win over San Marino's La Fiorita in the first leg of their Champions League first-round qualifier.

Jordan Stewart came off the bench to score the winner on his Blues debut.

Aaron Burns also had a penalty saved by La Fiorita keeper Gianluca Vivan, who repeatedly frustrated the home side.

Stewart's 89th-minute strike gives Linfield a slender advantage ahead of the return leg on Tuesday.

The build-up to the game had been overshadowed by the possibility of a second-round tie against Celtic but Linfield boss David Healy insisted they had to respect the challenge of the San Marino champions.

The hosts dominated from the kick-off at Windsor Park but found it difficult to beat Vivan as Niall Quinn, Mark Stafford and Stephen Lowry all went close to scoring in the first half.

Stewart, a former youth team player with the Blues, was one of three new signings made by Healy in the off-season and his introduction in the 60th minute had an immediate effect.

Moments later, Linfield were awarded a penalty when Vivan was booked for a high challenge on Lowry as he competed for a cross.

But the goalkeeper spared his own blushes as he dived to his right to save Burns' effort.

It had looked as though Aaron Burns' missed penalty would prove costly for Linfield.
It had looked as though Aaron Burns' missed penalty would prove costly for Linfield.

Linfield continued to press forward and their persistence was finally rewarded in the dying minutes when Stewart turned his marker and rounded the goalkeeper to slot home a dramatic winner.

The Irish League champions will now travel to San Marino for the second leg on 4 July, with the tie still in the balance.

The dates for the second qualifying round games are 11/12 July and 18/19 July.

However, if Linfield progress the first leg in Belfast would be moved to 14 July because of security concerns.

Line-ups

Linfield

  • 1Carroll
  • 16Clarke
  • 5Haughey
  • 31QuinnSubstituted forStewartat 60'minutes
  • 14BurnsSubstituted forStewartat 75'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 18Casement
  • 2Stafford
  • 22Mulgrew
  • 8Lowry
  • 38Smyth
  • 7Waterworth

Substitutes

  • 3Stewart
  • 10Stewart
  • 12Millar
  • 24Garrett
  • 27Mitchell
  • 32Clarke
  • 35Deane

La Fiorita

  • 27VivanBooked at 63mins
  • 18Gasperoni
  • 6Olivi
  • 5Di Maio
  • 3Martini
  • 4Brighi
  • 17Tommasi
  • 8MigliettaBooked at 22minsSubstituted forLunadeiat 90'minutes
  • 16Rinaldi
  • 20HirschBooked at 68minsSubstituted forZafferaniat 80'minutes
  • 9OlceseSubstituted forGuidiat 90+2'minutes

Substitutes

  • 15Lunadei
  • 19Pancotti
  • 21Cangini
  • 25Colonna
  • 33Zafferani
  • 77Michelotti
  • 99Guidi
Referee:
Duje Strukan
Attendance:
2,839

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Linfield 1, La Fiorita 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Linfield 1, La Fiorita 0.

  3. Booking

    Jordan Stewart (Linfield) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, La Fiorita. Alessandro Guidi replaces Emiliano Olcese.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, La Fiorita. Lorenzo Lunadei replaces Crocefisso Miglietta.

  6. Goal!

    Goal! Linfield 1, La Fiorita 0. Jordan Stewart (Linfield) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, La Fiorita. Tommaso Zafferani replaces Adolfo Hirsch.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Linfield. Cameron Stewart replaces Aaron Burns.

  9. Booking

    Adolfo Hirsch (La Fiorita) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Booking

    Gianluca Vivan (La Fiorita) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Linfield. Jordan Stewart replaces Niall Quinn.

  12. Second Half

    Second Half begins Linfield 0, La Fiorita 0.

  13. Half Time

    First Half ends, Linfield 0, La Fiorita 0.

  14. Booking

    Crocefisso Miglietta (La Fiorita) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Kick Off

    First Half begins.

  16. Post update

    Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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