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Football | Shamrock Rovers fall short against Apollon Limassol

Apollon Limassol have beaten Shamrock Rovers 3-1 after extra time to eliminate the Hoops from Europe.

Aaron Greene scored a wonder goal to send the tie to extra time after Emilio Zeyala and Attila Szalai had given the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Apollon were also reduced to 10 men two minutes before Greene's 69th-minute goal when Fotios Papoulis was given his marching orders.

Lee Grace was then sent off for Rovers after picking up a second yellow early in the first half of extra time.

With the tie delicately poised, substitute Adrian Sardinero's goal in the 102nd minute of extra time gave the Cypriots a 4-3 lead on aggregate, and the Hoops were unable to score a second away goal which would have seen them progress.

Apollon - who are unbeaten in their last 10 European home qualifiers - will now face Rapid Vienna in the next round of Europa League qualifiers, while Rovers' European adventure is over for this year.

The hosts took the lead in the 18th minute.

Zelaya rose above Alan Mannus to nod home Gianniotas's cross to draw Apollon level on aggregate (2-2), with the advantage of having come away from Tallaght with an away goal.

Mannus made a good save to deny Serge Gakpe just after the half hour mark, before reacting quickly to prevent Papoulis from converting the rebound.

A few minutes later, the Rovers 'keeper made a fantastic save; tipping Gianniotas's curling effort from distance around the post.

Zelaya then forced Mannus to tip a driven free kick over the bar before the interval, with Rover struggling to create any notable chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Stephen Bradley's visitors improved after the break, but conceded a second goal in the 64th minute.

Diego Aguirre's shot was parried by Mannus, with substitute Szalai reacting quickest to smash home the rebound.

Three minutes later, Apollon skipper Papoulis was shown a straight red card for a coming together with Sean Kavanagh, with the Hoops man picking up a booking.

Rovers made their numerical advantage count within two minutes.

Jack Byrne found Greene with a clever ball, and the 29-year-old turned before unleashing a brilliant strike into the top corner from 25 yards.

#RT @foetball247: RT @ryanmcdyer: Aaron. Fucking. Greene. — GOALs (@Sports1RT) August 2, 2019

His goal made it 3-3 on aggregate, with both sides registering an away goal.

There were few noteworthy chances in the remainder of normal time.

The Hoops suffered a blow two minutes into extra time when Grace was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a foul on Ioannis Pittas.

10 minutes later, Sardinero fired across Mannus into the far corner after being played through by Zelaya.

Substitute Dylan Watts forced Apollon 'keeper Joel Mall to swat away a volley in the dying minutes, but Rovers' search for a second goal fell short.

Bradley's men will now turn their attention back to the league and their fading title challenge.

#RoversInEurope2019 — Shamrock Rovers FC 🇮🇪 (@ShamrockRovers) August 1, 2019

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