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Football | AC Milan defeat Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght

AC Milan have defeated Shamrock Rovers 2-0 in their Europa League qualifier at Tallaght Stadium.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Çalhanoğlu scored either side of half time for the seven-time Champions League winners in Dublin.

The Serie A side dominated possession against the Hoops, and were comfortable winners in the end. Rovers were content to sit back at times and hit the visitors on the counter, and Stephen Bradley's hosts defended valiantly in the empty stadium.

Zlatan opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, playing a neat one-two with Çalhanoğlu before coolly slotting the ball past Alan Mannus after Roberto Lopes' clearance was intercepted.

Milan almost doubled their lead a few moments later, but Aaron McEneff produced a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny Samuel Castellejo.

At the other end, Aaron Greene forced Antonio Donnarumma into a good save after being played through by Jack Byrne.

Late in the half, skipper Ronan Finn saw his header saved by the Italian goalkeeper.

The Hoops went into the break a goal down, but Bradley will have been encouraged by their display against the European heavyweights.

Milan upped the tempo in the second half, pegging Rovers back for sustained periods.

Çalhanoğlu was a danger throughout, and saw an audacious overhead kick come back off the crossbar in the 51st minute, before seeing an excellent free kick saved by Alan Mannus.

The lively midfielder doubled the Rossoneri's lead in the 67th minute, driving a brilliant strike into the top corner from 20 yards after being teed up by Alexis Saelemaekers on the edge of the box.

Greene had a good chance to halve the deficit with 10 minutes remaining after being found in the box by Graham Burke, but the forward's effort was saved by the Italian goalkeeper.

Milan were never in threat of surrendering their lead, and it took a superb block from Lopes to deny the away side a third goal.

A valiant effort from SSE Airtricity League leaders Rovers, but their European adventure is over for another season.

Elsewhere, David McMillan netted the winner as Dundalk beat Andorran side Inter d’Escaldes 1-0.

More to follow...


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