By Miron Goihman at the Sheriff stadium
Rosenborg BK saw off a confident challenge from Moldovan title-holders FC Sheriff to book a place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.
Despite conceding a late goal in the first leg in Norway to trail 2-1, Sheriff came into the match confident they could put a stop to their run of three Champions League second qualfying round defeats in as many years. In fact, with the winners drawn to face Israeli team Maccabi Haifa FC in the next round, there was even talk about advancing to the group stage, but that dream ended tonight.
The home side controlled much of the first half, but their dominance of possession created few clear-cut chances to test Espen Johnsen in the Rosenborg goal. There best opportunity of the half came from George Florescu, whose snapshot forced the goalkeeper to concede a corner.
In truth, Sheriff never really looked like snatching the 1-0 win that would have seen them win the tie and, having soaked up the play with resolute defending, Rosenborg began to step up the tempo after the half-hour mark. They quickly began to dominate and on 36 minutes Ørjan Berg took advantage of defensive lapses in the Sheriff penalty box to give the away side the lead.
Four minutes later it was 2-0. Harald Brattbakk hit the crossbar from a free-kick and Sheriff goalkeeper Sebastian Hutan was helpless as it rebounded off his back and into the empty net. The goal left the Moldovan side needing to score at least three goals to turn the tie around and, although they made a number of substitutions, it was to no avail.
Despite a moment of worry on the hour when Sergiy Alekseev shot wide from point-blank range, the visitors cantered through the second half. Indeed, in the closing minutes they could have added to their lead but Hutan made no mistake this time and turned away another powerful shot by Brattbakk.
Group stage hope
A 4-1 aggregate win was enough though and the Norwegian side can continue to look to keep up their own Champions League record of reaching the group stage every year but one since 1994/95 - the exception being last season.