Odhrán Crumley reports from the Brandywell Stadium
Dinamo Minsk have all but advanced to the second qualifying round of the Europa League ahead of next week’s return leg in Belarus with a 2-0 win at the Brandywell on Thursday evening.
Minsk opened the scoring in just the second minute of the game as Nino Galovic fired home at the back post in emphatic fashion.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 64thminute of the game with Pilip Ivanou squaring the ball to Uladzimir Khvashchynski who tapped into the empty net.
The small size of the evening’s crowd at the Brandywell for this European tie was fairly disappointing but not unsurprising given the debate over high ticket price.
That said those home supporters in attendance did their upmost to make their voices heard and get behind their team.
Derry lost Rory Hale in the opening few minutes as he bravely blocked a Minsk free on the edge of the box with his head.
It became a double blow for the Brandywell men as Galovic had just fired into the net to give the visitors a dream start.
13 minutes were played when Gerard Doherty made a miraculous save to stop the away team from doubling their advantage.
Uladzimir Khvashcynshki’s header was saved from point blank range by the Derry number one. The resulting corner fell to Seidu Yahaya on the edge of the area missing the top right corner of the net by inches.
Midway through the first half, the Candystripes had their best spell of play with Jamie McDonagh bursting down the right crossing to Ronan Hale but his aerobatic effort went over the top of the bar.
Despite opening the scoring in the first two minutes of the game, the Belorussian side held a slender one goal lead at the break.
Kenny Shiels’ men could have restored parity early in the second half after a sublime run down the line from Conor McDermott.
McDermott drove the ball across the face of goal but Ronan Hale could not get his head on the ball as a matter of centimetres made the difference.
Maksim Zhaunerchyk tried a shot at the other end which Gerard Doherty was forced to watch all the way before it went wide.
Ronan Hale meanwhile showed neat feet at the edge of the area before his left footed shot drifted harmlessly wide of the goal.
Dinamo Minsk did double their advantage just after the hour mark when Uladzimir Khvashchynski tapped into the empty net after being squared the ball by Ivanou.
Derry lost Conor McDermott to a fairly innocuous second yellow card late in the game before the referee brought the game to an end.
It is be a massive uphill task that now faces Derry out in Minsk next Thursday night when they take a two goal deficit into the second leg in Belarus.
Derry City:Gerard Doherty; Conor McDermott, Danny Seaborne, Darren Cole, Jamie McDonagh; Aaron Spilane, Rory Hale (Ronan Hale 6), Aaron McEneff, Ben Fisk (Gavin Peers 78); Dean Shiels, Ally Roy (Rory Patterson 60).
Yellow Cards: Ronan Hale (51), Conor McDermott (56)+(81)
Red Cards: Conor McDermott (81)
Dinamo Minsk: Andrei Harbunou; Nino Galovic, Yuri Ostroukh (Roman Begunov 77), Maksim Shvetsov, Maksim Zhavnerchik; Artem Gurenko (Fillip Ivanov 29), Vladimir Khvaschinski (Artem Solovi 66), Uros Nikolic, Seidu Yahaya; Anton Saroka.
Yellow Cards: Maxsim Shvetsov (26).
Referee: Nikola Popov (Bulgaria)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Nino Galovic (Dinamo Minsk)