Ballymena United’s Europa League adventure suffered in the face of a clinical Malmo side as the high-profile hosts fired home seven goals without reply.
Having made history as the first Ballymena side to progress in European competition, David Jeffrey’s squad headed to Sweden bolstered by a financial boost and aiming to add to the overall experience against such stern opposition.
Kofi Balmer produced two blocks in quick succession before strong defensive work from Andy McGrory and a Ross Glendinning save off Behrang Safari.
Guillermo Molins’ strike bounced back off the crossbar then he sparked a superb reaction save off Glendinning.
Ballymena enjoyed a small spell of attacking pressure - with Adam Lecky unable to connect to a Steven McCullough delivery after good work by Jude Winchester then the latter cut inside and forced a save.
But Markus Rosenborg grabbed two goals in the space of a few minutes to put Malmo in control and Erdal Rakip added a third ahead of half-time.
Another clinical finish increased the advantage within minutes of the second-half kick-off as Franz Brorsson converted off a corner-kick.
Rosenborg wrapped up his hat-trick ahead of Molins’ close-range volley for 6-0.
Glendinning was on hand to stop Malmo before clever control by Leroy Millar offered hope of a consolation but he was unable to find space for a shot.
Rakip capped a slick Malmo attack with number seven in front of the 8,667 crowd that included a spirited Ballymena away support.
MALMO: Dahlin, Safari, Rieks, Lewicki, Bachirou (Innocent, 69), Rosenborg (Antonsson, 58), Mollins, Rakip, Nielsen, Brorsson, Berget (Larsson, 58).
Subs (not used): Molicharek, Trautason, Christiansen.
BALLYMENA UNITED: Glendinning, Kane, Whiteside, McCullough, Carville (Burns, 50), McGrory, Balmer, Winchester (McGinty, 75), Ervin, Lecky (Friel, 72), Millar.
Subs (not used): McDermott, Mayse, Harpur, Lavery.