Monday 23 April 2018

Dundalk are not here to make up numbers - Boyle

DUNDALK defender Andy Boyle knows that his team-mates will have to play the game of their lives if they are to outwit Hajduk Split in Croatia tonight and move into the third round of the Europa League.

Hajduk, who were traumatised by a Champions League defeat by Shelbourne ten years ago which cost them a payday against Deportivo la Coruna, plan to avoid any slip-ups at home to Dundalk tonight (7.15pm Irish time) and put the tie to bed early, making an already-tough task almost impossible for Dundalk.

"It's a big ask already and if they score early it will be very hard for us to get back into it, so we need a big game from every man in our side," says defender Boyle.

"It's an uphill task, going away from home 2-0 down. But we're not in Croatia just to make up the numbers, we are going out with a positive approach and we know that anything can happen.

"We feel that we are a better side than we showed in the home leg, and we have to try and show that against Hajduk tonight.

"It will be the biggest test of our careers so far, taking on a big European club like Hajduk away from home and with a two-goal deficit. But if we can come up with a big performance, who knows?

"Anyone who was at the first leg against Hajduk would admit that the scoreline was unfair, it wasn't a two-goal game. The big difference in European football is taking your chances, Hajduk took theirs and we didn't score from the opportunities we had, that's how they won the game," added Boyle, one of the many Dundalk players who has made his European debut with the Lilywhites this season.

One of those debutants, Pat Hoban, had two clear-cut chances to score against the Croatians but was off-target, but the creation of those chances gives Boyle hope.

"If we had been battered off the park for 90 minutes and didn't get out of our half you'd admit we were in trouble here but that wasn't the case in the home leg.

"We had good opportunities to score and didn't take them but while Hajduk are a good side they are not world-beaters. They created three chances and scored twice, if we can create here and be a bit more clinical in front of goal, we are in with a chance."

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