Q Radio Sport
Linfield need to overturn a two-goal deficit in Champions League qualifying following a 3-1 first leg defeat to Zalgiris Vilnius in Lithuania.
The Blues almost got off to a dream start when, after just 11 minutes, Christy Manzinga got past the home defence only to see an effort crash back off the crossbar.
There was little between the sides as the game progressed but two goals late in the first half handed Zalgiris a distinct advantage at the break.
They opened the scoring on 37 minutes courtesy of a superbly executed free-kick by Frenchman Hugo Vidémont which he sent over the wall and past Chris Johns from around 25 yards.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, the home side were awarded a penalty after Stephen Fallon was adjudged to have handled in the box with Tomislav Kiš duly stepping up to convert.
But Linfield were thrown a lifeline early in the second half when, on 54 minutes, a deflected Fallon effort was pushed out by keeper Edvinas Gertmonas only as far as Manzinga who returned it into the net.
However, Zalgiris restored their two goal advantage just over ten minutes after that when Jakub Sylvestr met a corner to head against an upright with the ball coming back off Johns and into his own net.
FT: Champions League— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) July 6, 2021
1st Qualifying Round
Žalgiris Vilnius 3-1 Linfield
Christy Manzinga goal for battling Blues in Lithuania.
Not over yet, 2nd leg to follow at Windsor.@OfficialBlues #UCL pic.twitter.com/mkouLwBu8z
The sides meet again next Tuesday night at Windsor Park, kick-off 7:45pm.
Zalgiris Vilnius: Gertmonas, Bopesu, Gamakov, Kiš, Vidémont, Sylvestr, Mikoliūnas, Verbickas, Diaw, Ljubisavljević, Kyeremeh subs Duka (not used), Uzėla (replaced Gamakov 83), Tatomirović (not used), Piliukaitis (not used), Onazi (replaced Verbickas 59), Tadic (replaced Sylvestr 83), Karamarko (replaced Kyeremeh 84), Mikulenas (not used), Jarusevičius (not used)
Linfield: Johns, Newberry, Shields, Callacher, Manzinga, M. Clarke, Fallon, Mulgrew, Pepper, Quinn, Palmer subsWalsh (not used), Williamson (not used), Hume (not used), Stewart (replaced Quinn 77), Nasseri (replaced Manzinga 78), A. Clarke (not used), Carroll (not used)
Fixtures have been released for the new season and the Blues have an early encounter with old rivals:
Here are the #DanskeBankPrem fixtures for the new season in full, including a Big Two derby @Glentoran— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) July 7, 2021
v @OfficialBlues at The Oval on match day two, Tuesday August 31st!https://t.co/31IGkXUmM3