DERRY City went down fighting against Dinamo Minsk as their gutsy effort to overturn a two-goal deficit in the Europa League first qualifying round fell just short.
Kenny Shiels’ men looked dead and buried after last week’s 2-0 home loss to the Belarusians but they produced a stirring performance at the Traktor Stadion.
Ally Roy gave them the start they needed when he struck seven minutes in after a bright and purposeful beginning from the visitors.
Aleksandr Sachivko levelled it on the night with a 28th-minute effort and that seemed to settle the hosts, who took the sting out of the contest to go in at half-time in control of the tie.
Derry didn’t lose faith however, and when Ronan Hale rose from the bench to rattle home with 15 minutes to go, it set up a grandstand finish.
And almost at the death, they almost did it.
A punt into the home box was nodded on and Hale tried to produce a bicycle kick 10 yards out.
He missed the ball completely, Minsk survived, and Derry’s European odyssey ended in gallant failure.
Dinamo Minsk: Sergei Ignatovich; Maksim Shvetsov, Aleksandr Sachivko, Roman Begunov, Maksim Zhavnerchik, Uros Nikolic, Artem Gurenko, Artem Bykov, Seidu Yahaya, Anton Saroka (Filipp Ivanov 68), Artem Solovei (Vladimir Khvaschinski 68)
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Darren Cole, Jamie McDonagh, Gavin Peers, Dan Seabourne, Rory Hale, Aaron McEneff, Dean Shiels (Ronan Hale 72), Ben Fisk (Ben Doherty 89), Alistair Roy, Aaron Splaine