Coleraine FC 2-1 UD Leiria Northern Irish cup holders Coleraine produce a battling victory.
Irish Cup holders Coleraine FC recorded a famous victory over Portuguese side UD Leiria thanks to a brilliant battling performance.
The Bannsiders went in front through centre-half Paul Gaston in the ninth minute and although Leiria levelled in the 42nd minute, Rory Hamill headed what proved to be the winner on the stroke of half-time. Coleraine held on comfortably enough in the end, helped by Leiria being reduced to ten men by the 55th-minute dismissal of substitute Maciel.
The hosts went ahead when the visiting goalkeeper Helton Da Silva Arruda failed to gather Stephen Beatty's inswinging corner from the right, and Gaston bundled the ball over the line at the back post.
No focal point
Leiria were dominating possession and playing some pretty passing football, but their attack lacked a central focal point and too many forward forays simply petered out against Coleraine's disciplined defence and well-organised team performance.
Coleraine goalkeeper Davy O'Hare had to save with his feet to keep out a low shot from Ludemar Pereira Barros in the 12th minute, but Leiria's next effort of note was a long-range effort from Gabriel that flew past the post on the half-hour.
The Portuguese side did draw level in the 42nd minute, however, when Coleraine failed to take several opportunities to clear a corner and João Manuel poked the ball in from close range. However, Coleraine restored their lead a minute before the break with Beatty again the provider. His free-kick from the left side found Hamill unmarked at the front post, and the forward headed down and into the goal.
Leiria's hopes of getting something out of the game were hit in the 56th minute, when substutite Maciel was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident just three minutes after coming on. Even though they were a man short, the visitors continued to play much of the match in the Coleraine half, but Leiria were again largely restricted to long-range efforts, skipper Bilro sending a dipping effort just over, then Ludemar's free-kick bringing a fine flying save out of O'Hare.
Leiria must have realised it was not to be their evening when Bilro's inch-perfect cross from the right was somehow headed wide by Ludemar in the 82nd minute.