Dundalk win President’s Cup against Shamrock Rovers in dramatic fashion

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Shamrock Rovers were the opposition on the night.

Dundalk kicked off their League of Ireland season with a dramatic penalty shootout win over Shamrock Rovers in the President’s Cup last night.

Dundalk opened the scoring in the 42nd minute through new signing and Faroese international Sonni Nattestad. The towering 6’6 centre back made his presence known by scoring a bullet header into the back of the net from a corner.

Up until then, the match had been evenly contested with few chances at both ends of the pitch.

Shamrock Rovers got their equaliser just after half time with a Dennis Bergkamp-esque strike from Liam Scales. The Ireland u21 international managed to control a cross which had went slightly behind him, take the ball around his marker with an exquisite touch and strike with perfect technique into the bottom right corner.

Sonni Nattestad – who scored the opening goal for Dundalk – went from hero to villain in the 59th minute as he was sent off for a late challenge on Graham Burke. The decision by the referee to award a red was controversial, many felt the tackle was a yellow card at most while others felt that Nattestad got the ball. Nevertheless, though, he received his marching orders and left his side to play the remainder of the game with 10 men.

Dundalk showed their defensive resilience and spirit, though, as they held out and reached the full time whistle on level terms despite pressure from Shamrock Rovers.

PENALTY SHOOTOUT

There’s no extra time in the President’s Cup meaning the game was decided by a penalty shootout, which likely favoured Dundalk given their numbers disadvantage.

After a handful of penalties, some of which were missed by Dundalk, Graham Burke had the chance to win the tie for Shamrock Rovers with his opportunity. He, however, blasted over the bar meaning the shootout went to sudden death.

Darragh Leahy stepped up to take the penalty for Dundalk which he scored meaning all the pressure was on Shamrock Rovers to score there.

One of their best players last year and League of Ireland stalwart Roberto Lopes stepped up to take the penalty. However, it was the newcomer Alessio Abibi who had the final say. He produced a strong save from the penalty to cap a brilliant performance and win the cup for Dundalk.

The 2021 league season officially kicks off next Friday. Dundalk travel to The Showgrounds to take on Sligo Rovers. Shamrock Rovers, on the other hand, are at home to St Patrick’s Athletic.

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