Shamrock Rovers FC will travel to Estonia next week with a 1-0 advantage after overcoming Estonian champions FC Flora Tallinn in Dublin.
Chris Turner's first-half goal separates the two teams but the result could have been very different had Flora not missed a penalty a minute earlier. Goalkeeper Alan Mannus proved the home side's other hero, saving Valeri Minkenen's spot kick on 33 minutes.
There had been little goalmouth action up until that point, with the exception of Ronan Finn's fierce long shot, which brought a wonderful save out of Stanislav Pedõk. Thereafter there was little to choose between the two sides until Craig Sives upended Markus Jürgenson in the penalty area.
Minkenen took the responsibility but was second-guessed by Mannus, who thwarted him with a fine stop. To compound matters for the visitors Michael O'Neill's charges took the lead from their very next attack, as Flora's defence failed to deal with Finn's cross and Turner drove in the loose ball.
Turner might have added to his tally before half-time but could only put Billy Dennehy's corner over the bar, while Minkenen was frustrated again by Mannus on the stroke of half-time.
Although Shamrock enjoyed by far the better of the second half with Gary Twigg, Dean Kelly and Gary McCabe – with a last-gasp free-kick – spurning opportunities to put a more flattering gloss on the scoreline, the hosts were grateful Sergei Mošnikov also fluffed his lines five minutes from time.
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