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Linfield and Rosenborg draw blank

Linfield FC 0-0 Rosenborg BK
Chances were at a premium as the Northern Irish side and the Norwegian league leaders played out a goalless draw in Belfast.

David Jeffrey's Linfield team will travel to Norway with the tie all square
David Jeffrey's Linfield team will travel to Norway with the tie all square ©Sportsfile

Linfield FC and Rosenborg BK will reconvene for the deciding leg of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie with everything to play for following a goalless draw at Windsor Park.

A first half devoid of any significant chances gave way to a more open encounter after the break, with Rosenborg twice coming close to taking the lead with opportunities in the final 20 minutes. As it was, Linfield held firm, though, leaving the tie finely balanced for the return in Trondheim next Wednesday.

A low-key first period was nearing its conclusion when Robert Garrett broke from midfield, skipped past defender Vadim Demidov and sent his attempted chip over the Rosenborg crossbar, while moments later Markus Henriksen fired straight at Linfield's Alan Blayney. Four minutes after the restart, Billy Joe Burns crossed for Brian McCaul, who evaded his marker but could only hit a half-volley into the ground and over.

The Norwegian league leaders gradually began to gain a measure of control, with 40-year-old Roar Strand – a half-time substitute – injecting some much-needed urgency into proceedings. The midfielder flashed a shot wide of the far post past on 63 minutes before Anthony Annan's clever cutback found Henriksen, who brought a full-stretch save from Blayney at the far post.

With five minutes remaining Morten Moldskred looked certain to stab in the winner after Mikael Lustig's initial attempt was blocked by Blayney, but Linfield captain Noel Bailie somehow produced a goal-line clearance to ensure honours remained even.