BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, July 18, 2014
It was a rough night for Americans in Europa League qualifying but Sean Reynolds and Pablo Puyned have their Icelandic clubs in solid position to advance.
Astana 3-0 Hapoel Tel Aviv
It was a disappointing night for Hapoel Tel Aviv as it was convincingly beaten by Kazakhstan's FC Astana in the first leg of its Europa League qualifying matchup.
American Bryan Gerzicich started and played a full 90 in the loss.
The game started off poorly for the Israeli team as Orel Dgani was given a red card in the 16th minute. Astana took advantage as Roger Canas converted a subsequent penalty .
In the second half, Astana would get subsequent goals from Tanat Nusserbayev and Abzal Beisebekov to round out the game at 3-0. Hapoel Tel Aviv will now have to make up a three goal differential next week in the return leg to stay alive in Europa League qualifying.
Rosenborg 1-2 Silgo Rovers
American Mikkel Diskerud played the final 10 minutes for Rosenborg and scored a goal but it was not enough to prevent a horrible loss at home to Ireland's Silgo Rovers.
Alan Kean gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute and Danny North struck again for the Rovers to double the lead at 20 in the 74th minute. Diskerud's strike gave Rosenborg a slim chance at making a comeback next week in Ireland but the loss was massively disappointing to the Norwegians after last year's elimination to St. Johnstone.
Motherwell 2-2 Stjarnan
After falling behind by a pair of early goals, Icelandic club Stjarnan rallied for a dramatic tie in the first leg of the Europa Qualifying series.
American defender Pablo Punyed played the entire game for Stjarnan.
Josh Law opened the scoring for Motherwell in the 9th minute when he tapped home a rebound following a save from Stjarnan goalkeeper Ingvar Jonsson. Minutes later, Law added a second for Motherwell when he chipped Jonsson for a 2-0 lead.
In the 35th minute, Stjarnan got back into the game through a penalty after a hand ball. The ensuing kick was easily converted by Olafur Karl Finsen.
It appeared as if Motherwell was going to hold to a 2-1 victory but Stjarnan earned a second goal through a penalty at the end of the game. On the play, Stjarnan's Rolf Toft was pulled down and Finsen converted his second kick to equalize the game.
Neman Grodno 1-1 FH
FH appeared to be heading to an impressive 1-0 road win over Belarus' Neman Grodno but a red card and a penalty ensured that the series would return to Iceland 1-1.
American Sean Reynolds played the final 20 minutes for FH.
After a scoreless first half, Kristjan Gauti Emilsson put the visitors up 1-0 in the 55th minute.
Ten minutes later, FH's Jonathan Hendrickx was whisted for both a red card and penalty which Pavel Savitskiy converted to even the game at 1-1.