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Stjarnan 3-2 Motherwell: Well out of Europa League

Lionel Ainsworth: second goal. Picture: SNS

Lionel Ainsworth: second goal. Picture: SNS

  • by MARK WALKER AT SAMSUNG VÖLLURINN
 

MOTHERWELL were the only Scottish side to crash out of Europe last night after an embarrassing extra time loss in Iceland.

Scorers: Stjarnan - Finsen (37 pen), Toft (84), Johannsson 113); Motherwell - Hammell (11), Ainsworth (66)

After extra time, 2-2 after 90mins

Stjarnan won 5-4 on aggregate

After a rare goal from long-serving full back Steven Hammell had handed Well an early lead, skipper Keith Lasley incredibly gave away his third penalty of the tie to gift Stjarnan a leveller through the spot.

Lionel Ainswoth grabbed a precious volleyed goal that seemed set to give Motherwell their first win in ten European games and their first away win in Europe since 2010 they also won in Reykjavik by beating Breioablik. However, they allowed sub Rolf Toft to level with five minutes left to take the tie into extra time and the home side’s Atli Johannsson snatched it with a late volley.

McCall picked the same team as last week and they certainly started in the same positive manner by forcing a couple of corners within the first five minutes in Stjarnan’s tiny, but sold-out Stjornuvollur ground.

However, the Scots stunned the home fans by taking an 11th minute lead thanks to another corner. Ainsworth’s flag kick picked out the unmarked Hammell who bulleted a header into the top corner from 15 yards out.

It was the perfect start for Well and their 250-strong support celebrated Hammell’s first goal for the club since March 2012. But the home side came increasingly into the game and equalised in the 37th minute and once again it was down to a penalty conceded by Lasley – the third spot kick he’d given away in the tie. He took an extra touch when trying to clear his lines and bundled Johansson over in the box. Greek ref Athanasios Giachos took his time before pointing to the spot, with Motherwell’s players insisting it was a harsh decision. Olafur Karl Finsen easily converted the penalty to give the Icelanders the lead because of the two away goals Finsen scored in Scotland.

Motherwell grabbed the lead again in the 66th minute and it was all down to some superb good, old-fashioned wing play by Josh Law.

The summer signing, who grabbed a double in his debut last week in the first leg, bolted down the left and got past his man with a combination of speed and trickery before delivering a peach of a cross to the back post which was turned in by a stretching Ainsworth on the volley.

But they failed to learn their lesson and conceded another soft goal with five minutes left. Sub Rolf Toft was allowed far too much time and space in the box and easily fired high into the roof of the net with the Well central defence looking very suspect again.

Lasley had a glorious chance to give Well the lead in extra time when he had only the keeper to beat, but took an age to shoot and his effort was charged down. And Johannsson volleyed in with the winner in extra time with six minutes left.

Stjarnan: Jonsson; Vemmelund, Laxdal, Rauschenberg, Arnason; Bjorgvinsson (Palsson 104), A Johannsson, Punyed, Praest, Finsen; Gunnarsson (Toft 24 (Aegisson 108).

Motherwell: Twardzik; Reid, Ramsden, McManus, Hammell; Carswell (Leitch 95), Lasley; Ainsworth (Kerr 77), Law (Francis-Angel 77), Vigurs; Sutton. Subs not used: Nielsen, McHugh, Erwin, Thomas.

 

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