Europa League first qualifying round: Malmo put seven past outclassed Ballymena
Ballymena United were hammered 7-0 by Malmo in the Europa League first qualifying round first leg in Sweden.
David Jeffrey's Irish League runners-up held out for 31 minutes before Markus Rosenberg hit two goals in two minutes.
Erdal Rakip added a third on 44 minutes to leave Ballymena up against it at half-time in the Swedbank Stadion.
After Franz Brorsson made it 4-0 after the restart, Rosenberg completed his hat-trick with further goals coming from Guillermo Molins and Rakip.
The results leaves Ballymena with only pride to play for in next Thursday's second leg at the Showgrounds.
Ballymena went into the game in Sweden after earning their club's first ever win in a European tie as they overcame NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands 2-0 in the preliminary round.
Malmo, managed by former Leeds and Brentford boss Uwe Rossler, went into the game as overwhelming favourites after putting together an unbeaten 13-match run in the Allsvenskan to lead the Swedish table by six points.
Ballymena keeper Ross Glendinning denied Behrang Safari early on before Molins struck United's woodwork in the 18th minute.
After Glendinning saved an Oscar Lewicki effort on 27 minutes, Jude Winchester had Ballymena's first attempt on goal on the half hour as former Sweden goalkeeper Johan Dahlin made the stop.
However, a minute later 36-year-old Rosenberg opened the scoring after being set up by Safari and the veteran striker doubled the advantage within two minutes.
Rakip's goal a minute before the interval was a sucker punch for Ballymena and it was 4-0 within a minute of the restart, with the influential Safari again the provider for Frorsson.
Lewicki set up Rosenberg to complete his hat-trick two minutes later before the hat-trick hero played in Molins for the sixth goal on 54 minutes.
With still some 36 minutes of normal time left, there would have been fears at that stage that Ballymena could be dealt a double-figures demolition but the only remaining goal was Rakip's second on 74 minutes as the hosts missed several other chances.
- 9RosenbergSubstituted forAntonssonat 59'minutes
- 7BachirouSubstituted forInnocentat 69'minutes
- 32BergetSubstituted forLarssonat 59'minutes
- 16CarvilleSubstituted forBurnsat 51'minutes
- 20WinchesterSubstituted forMcGintyat 75'minutes
- 19BalmerBooked at 82mins
- 22LeckySubstituted forFrielat 72'minutesBooked at 90mins
- Igor Pajac