Europa League blues for Ballymena United as Malmo fire home seven goals in Sweden

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey. Pic by INPHO.
Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey. Pic by INPHO.

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.