It has been a year of sporting upsets: Japan caused a massive upset to the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup, Michael Bisping won the UFC Middleweight title on 17 days notice, and Leicester City defied the odds to win the Premier League; it has certainly been the year of the underdog. Tomorrow evening Cork City FC will be hoping to add their name to that list as they take on BK Häcken of Sweden in the 2nd Round of Qualification for UEFA Europa League.
Poised at 1-1 from the first leg, City come in to tomorrow night’s game with everything to play for, knowing that the Leesiders only need a 0-0 draw to progress.
In what was a close knit affair last Thursday in Sweden, City went all-out from the opening whistle. Bolstering their squad with some of the ‘League of Ireland’s’ brightest prospects, from striker Sean Maguire to midfielder Greg Bolger, City travelled to Sweden with no intentions of sitting back. Attacking from the get-go, City amassed a total of 16 shots on-goal, 6 on-target. In contrast BK Häcken had 10 shots total, with 7 on target. This aggressive play from City was quickly rewarded with Sean Maguire successfully converting a penalty, giving City a 1-0 lead. However, an error from the defence saw BK soon equalise, thanks to a Owoeri tap in from a set piece.
Tomorrow evening both sides will be bursting with talent, eager to give their side the edge. Cork City, a club with a budget of €1.2 million a year, against BK Häcken’s €25 million per annum, will certainly be facing an uphill battle. Both teams have an incredibly talented pool of players to call on, with City having Republic of Ireland Under 21 internationals Kevin O Conner & Sean Maguire, as well as former senior internationals Alan Bennett in defence & Colin Healy in midfield, and BK Häcken having Finnish international Rasmus Schüller & Ghana’s Nasiru Mohammad. There is a massive fight awaiting the Rebel Army at Turners Cross tomorrow.
If victorious, Cork City will be playing the winner of Belgium’s KRC Genk and Montenegro’s ‘First League’ runners-up FK Budućnost Podgorica. Both matches are being played tomorrow evening.