Stephen O'Flynn rallies the troops after opening the scoring (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)

CRUES WIN NOT ENOUGH TO PREVENT EURO EXIT

Crusaders exited the Champions League this evening at Seaview but not before recording a 3-2 victory on the night over Albanian visitors Skënderbeu.

It was always going to be a tall order for Stephen Baxter's side, trailing 4-1 from the first leg, but they were given a boost after just 11 minutes when Skënderbeu were reduced to ten men following Renato Arapi's dismissal for an off the ball incident with Billy Joe Burns.

Despite creating numerous opportunities in the first half it took the Crues until five minutes after the break to make the extra man count when Stephen O'Flynn touched the ball home after Jordan Owens had headed down Craig McClean's cross.

Skënderbeu levelled on the night through Bernard Berisha on 69 minutes when he latched onto a poor backpass to slot the ball past Sean O'Neill.

Then, eight minutes after that, the visitors edged in front after Lindon Latifi finished off a good passing move.

Although any hopes the Crues had of progressing had long since gone they did manage hit the woodwork through Michael Carvill and Matthew Snoddy in the closing stages .... before managing two stoppage time goals to win the tie on the night.

Snoddy headed into the bottom corner in the 92nd minute with Andrew Mitchell grabbing a third from 25 yards a few seconds after that.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Robinson, McClean, Mitchell, Caddell, Snoddy, O'Flynn, Owens, Carvill subs McKibbin (not used), Stewart (not used), Magowan (not used), Friars (not used), Clarke (replaced Caddell 73), O'Hanlon (not used), O'Carroll (replaced O'Flynn 67)

Skënderbeu: Shehi, Arapi, Jashanica, Vangjeli, Radaš, Nimaga, Latifi, Esquerdinha, Shkëmbi, Salihi, Berisha subs Lapanji (not used), Dema (not used), Progni (replaced Latifi 85), Abazi (not used), Lilaj (not used), Hristov (replaced Salihi 90), Abilaliaj (not used)

Tags:  Crusaders