Rade Prica and Markus Henriksen were on target as Rosenborg BK beat Linfield FC 2-0 to set up a mouth-watering third qualifying round tie with Swedish champions AIK.
Going into tonight's game Linfield striker Peter Thompson had spoken of the need for "a little bit of luck" and it all but deserted the visitors just after the half-hour when Brian McCaul, clean through, lost his balance at the key moment and fired wide. Within 60 seconds Prica's header put Rosenborg in front with the first goal of the tie and the Norwegian titleholders did not look back, Henriksen sealing victory three minutes from time.
The visitors were left wondering what might have been had McCaul managed to keep his composure after outstripping Kris Stadsgaard. The relief was tangible among the home support, swiftly turning to joy when Prica met Morten Moldskred's fine cross at the far post. In truth Rosenborg had been on top from the off, and should have been 2-0 up by the interval but Moldskred fired wide when it seemed easier to score.
Linfield rallied at the start of the second period, Thompson going close, but the home side were soon back in control. Alan Blayney twice denied Anthony Annan and Mikael Lustig's header was cleared off the goal line. Pressing for an equaliser, there was nothing anyone could do late on as Henriksen applied an emphatic finish to Trond Olsen's centre to set up a trip to Sweden next week.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.