Europa League: Juve dash hope of a fairytale for Shamrock

SHAMROCK Rovers' hopes of causing a huge upset in the third qualifying round of the Europa League are all but over after a double from Amauri gave Juventus a 2-0 victory in the first leg at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin, while David Ngog struck twice as Roy Hodgson began his reign as Liverpool manager with a comfortable 2-0 win against FK Rabotnicki in Macedonia.

Shamrock fell behind in just the third minute as the Brazilian striker slotted home after good build up by the Italian giants. But Michael O'Neill's hosts put in a gutsy effort to stay in the game and occasionally threaten an equaliser, before Amauri's 75th minute header rounded off an ultimately comfortable success for the visitors.

The home side, perhaps understandably, made a nervous start with Juventus dominating possession as Shamrock continually gave the ball away in midfield. And they fell behind after just three minutes as Amauri played an excellent one-two with Diego, going on to slot the ball beyond Alan Mannus in the Shamrock goal.

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Shamrock defender Dan Murray had a chance to level matters just two minutes later, but he took too long to get his shot away as he struggled to bring the ball down.

Diego then came very close to doubling the lead in the 19th minute as a poor backpass from Murray put Rovers goalkeeper Mannus under pressure, but the Brazil midfielder dragged his effort wide.

Juventus were having the run of the midfield, with former Liverpool man Mohamed Sissoko easily breaking up any potential Shamrock attacks.

The clinching goal came in the 75th minute as a powerful header saw Amauri beat Mannus for a second time, with Juve comfortably seeing out the final 15 minutes without alarm.

Liverpool, meanwhile, were without ten of their World Cup players but their blend of youth and experience coped well in a game of little drama. Hodgson's decision to leave behind the likes of Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole was fully vindicated as a goal in each half from Frenchman Ngog gave the Premier League side a comfortable cushion.