Linfield FC 1-1 Stabæk IF (Stabæk win 5-1 on aggregate)
Stabæk IF cruised into the UEFA Cup first round with a 5-1 aggregate victory against Linfield FC, but their second-leg draw came at a high price as the visitors had two men sent off.
The Norwegian side had substitute Andre Flem dismissed before captain Martin Andresen joined him on the sidelines. Linfield also had their captain and goalscorer Glenn Ferguson dismissed, the number nine seeing red at the same time as Stabæk's Andresen, the two skippers sent off in the 79th minute after an off-the-ball clash. Earlier, Flem was red-carded in the 62nd minute after another unseemly incident involving Linfield midfielder Darren Murphy.
However, less than three minutes after being reduced to nine men, the Norwegians equalised, striker Tryggvi Gudmundsson seizing on a misplaced pass by Linfield centre-half Hugh Dickson to run clear and slot the ball past Linfield goalkeeper Alan Mannus.
Linfield had taken the lead in the 44th minute when Ferguson cleverly guided in a cross from right-back Stephen Collier but the Northern Irish side never looked like scoring enough goals to overturn the 4-0 deficit from the first leg. The severely understrength Blues applied plenty of early pressure but showed little end product for all their effort against a disciplined and well-organised visiting side.
Hard luck stories
Stabæk almost scored a wonder goal midway through the first period when left-back Christian Holter launched a free-kick from his own half and centre-forward Thomas Finstad swung on the ball as it dropped, his right-foot shot from 15 metres going just wide of the left-hand post with the home goalkeeper stranded. Linfield missed an open goal in the 32nd minute when Ferguson forced goalkeeper Jon Knudsen into a poor clearance, but Russell Kelly fired wide from 20 metres.