Kiwi duo help create Irish football history as their European dream continues

posted in: All Whites, News

The European football dream continues for All Whites Max Mata and Nando Pijnaker as they helped their Sligo Rovers side into the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.

Striker Mata scored in added time to cap a 2-0 win for Rovers over Scottish side Motherwell, giving the League of Ireland club a 3-0 aggregate win over the two-legged tie.

The win creates history for Rovers as they reach the third stage of European competition for the first time.

Pijnaker contributed to the win, coming on as a substitute in the 78th minute and helping his side withstand any fightback from Motherwell.

The victory means Sligo face Norwegian side Viking FK in the next round.

Viking beat Czech side Sparta Prague 2-1 over their two-legged tie.

Against Motherwell, Rovers took the lead through a Shane Blaney free kick after only four minutes.

Mata came off the bench in the 70th minute and he finished off the win, calmly scoring as the game entered added time.

For Mata (22), the goal capped a week in which he signed an extension to his contract, committing him to Rovers till 2024.

In the first qualifying round, Sligo beat Welsh club Bala Town.

The third round tie between Sligo Rovers and Vikings is expected to be played on Saturday August 6 (NZT) and Saturday August 13 (NZT).

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All White Nando Pijnaker … enjoying his club’s European campaign.

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