Linfield crash out of Champions League after defeat in Norway

Linfield's Jordan Stewart and Jamie Mulgrew.
Linfield's Jordan Stewart and Jamie Mulgrew.

Rosenborg 4 Linfield 0 (Linfield lose 6-0 on agg)

LINFIELD crashed out of the Champions League at the first hurdle following a 6-0 aggregate defeat by Norwegian champions, Rosenborg in Trondheimds.

The Blues arrived at the Lerkendal Stadium in hope rather than expectation as they trailed Rosenborg 2-0 from the first leg tie at Windsor Park.

Goals in either half by Anders Konradsen and second half strikes from David Akintla and Pal Helland saw the Irish League champions suffer an emphatic 4-0 away loss.

And while David Healy's men's Champions League adventure ended abruptly, they must quickly dust themselves down as they turn attentions to a Europa League second round qualifying clash with HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands next week. The first tie will take place in the Faroe Islands on Tuesday, July 23rd.

Linfield’s inspirational captain and club legend, Jamie Mulgrew led the Blues out on a night when he would reach another milestone, making his 550th appearance in the blue shirt.

It was a significant night for defender Ross Larkin, too, as the 20 year-old made his competitive debut for Linfield after joining from Portadown earlier in the summer, coming in for the injured Mark Stafford.

There were a further two changes to the team which lost 2-0 at Windsor Park in the first leg, with Shayne Lavery and Daniel Kearns coming in for Andrew Waterworth and Kirk Millar, respectively.

The hosts had the ball in the net early on when attacker Helland nodded home a cross from the left but he was well offside and the goal was chalked off. That was Linfield’s only real worrying moment in an otherwise comfortable start.

Rosenborg carved open a 20th minute lead as Konradsen headed home from a corner kick as Linfield needed three goals to keep alive their fading hopes of progressing in the competition.

The visitors were then fortunate to survive another attack by Rosenborg as De Lanlay volleyed narrowly over the crossbar from 10 yards on 34 minutes.

Linfield’s best move of the half came late in the half when Bastien Hery picked out Jordan Stewart and he fed the overlapping Chris Casement, who saw his low strike brilliantly saved by the outstretched Andre Hansen. Jordan Stewart also had a go from distance in the first half but it was past the far post.

However, Konradsen completed his brace just six minutes into the second half to make it 2-0 to Rosenborg on the night and 4-0 on aggregate.

Linfield fought back and Matthew Clarke saw his strike from the edge of the box sail over the target on 54 minutes.

Rosenborg, however, refused to let up and Helland's thunderous free-kick rattled the crossbar from 20 yards 10 minutes later.

Akintola then compounded Linfield's misery when he headed into the net from close range on 69 minutes following a defensive error. Indeed, it was another cheap goal to concede from Linfield’s perspective as casual playing out from the back was punished. Deane did well to deny Helland from close range initially but winger Akintola was on hand to head the ball home.

And Akintola then turned provider as he found Helland who applied the finishing touch on 85 minutes to complete the rout and send the Norwegians into the second round.

Linfield: Gareth Deane (GK), Chris Casement, Jimmy Callacher, Ross Larkin, Matthew Clarke, Jamie Mulgrew © (Stephen Fallon 58’), Bastien Hery, Niall Quinn, Jordan Stewart (Kirk Millar 74’), Daniel Kearns, Shayne Lavery (Andrew Waterworth 57’).

Rosenborg: Hansen (GK), Hedenstad (Trondsen 45’), Reginiussen, Hovland, Meling, Konradsen, Lundemo, Asen, Helland, Soderlund (Akintola 57’), de Lanlay.

Referee: Enea Jorgji (ALB