Rosenborg 4-0 Bohemians
Rosenborg won 5-0 on aggregate
Bohemians’ Champions League escapade for 2003 was ended in unceremonious fashion by a quick, slick Rosenborg outfit at the Lerkendal Stadion in Trondheim this evening.

Bohs went into the game needing to inflict a rare home defeat on the pre-eminent Norwegian side of the past decade - Rosenborg had not lost at the Lerkendal in over a year.

Manager Stephen Kenny declared prior to the game that the longer the game stayed scoreless, the better, as it would increase the tension on the terraces.

That proved to be great foresight on the part of the Bohs boss, although not in the manner he would have hoped for - once Bohs went behind a minute before half-time, their chance of creating an upset were virtually ended.

Once Azar Karadas - who headed the only goal of the first tie a week ago - put his side ahead with a simple header in the dying moments of the first half, there was no way back for the visitors, and three goals in the opening 20 minutes of the second period created a chasm on the scoreboard that was far from undeserved.

The first two goals were symptomatic of Bohs’ faults, namely a tendency to lose possession at crucial moments and leave themselves vulnerable to the quick counter-attack.

Rosenborg proved as adept at the quick counter as any side the Bohs players will ever have faced, and lapses on the part of the visitors were mercilessly punished.

Karadas’s opener came less than 15 seconds after Doyle had lost possession in the Bohs attacking third. Two quick passes released big international forward Frode Johnsen in the right channel, and his brilliantly arced cross evaded Thomas Heary and Colin Hawkins to find the unmarked Karadas at the back post and his downward header gave Shay Kelly in the Bohs goal no chance.

That left Bohs needing two goals without reply in the second period to book a third qualifying round tie with Deportivo La Coruna, but within six minutes of the restart the priority for the eircom League champions had changed to damage limitation.

Damien Lynch and Bobby Ryan contrived to lose possession on the right wing, allowing Orjan Berg to pick up the slack and drive at the heart of the Bohs defence. His 40-yard run culminated in a clever reverse ball to Harald Brattbakk, and the former Celtic man powered a low drive past Kelly from 18 yards.

It could have turned into a rout within three minutes, as Brattbakk set up Karadas and midfielder Roar Strand but both efforts failed to hit the target.

Strand, left out of the side for last week’s first tie, was the undisputed star man on the night. The veteran former Norway international created three separate openings in the first half, winning two free kicks in very dangerous positions after clever turns, and he didn’t have to wait long for retribution after his early second half miss.

Substitute Fergal Harkin was unable to control a weak clearing header by Heary, and Strand capitalized, turning away from the challenge of Harkin and spearing a left-footed shot to the top corner of Kelly’s net.

That was in the 68th minute, and seven minutes later it was 4-0. Bohs fell asleep after Dutch referee Rudd Bossen awarded the home side a free kick on the right wing, and Frode Johnsen stole in to finish from close range.

In attack for Bohs, Glen Crowe endured another torrid night against the miserly Norwegian defence, which was marshalled superbly by two vastly experienced campaigners in Erik Hoftun and Vidar Riseth. The international forward was replaced by Paul Keegan long before the end, although wingers Ryan and Mark Rutherford were also called ashore after making limited impact on the night.

Bohs’ best chance of the tie came in the 75th minute, less than 60 seconds before Rosenborg’s fourth goal.

Stephen Caffrey won possession with a physical challenge in midfield, and released Robbie Doyle whose run from the right wing took him inside Stensaas. Doyle bore down on goal, but his drive skipped across the face and narrowly wide at Espen Johnsen’s far post.

Kelly produced another couple of sharp saves to keep the score down near the end, and Bohs will have been glad to head for the dressing-rooms with the damage kept to four. So, lessons learned for the eircom League against the model for European success, while Rosenborg march on - and Spanish giants Depor will expect a tough tie against a side who have reached the Champions League group stages for the past eight seasons.

Rosenborg: Espen Johnsen, Basma, Stensaas, Hoftun, Riseth, Strand, Berg, Winsnes, Karadas, Frode Johnsen, Brattbakk.

Bohemians: Kelly, Lynch, Webb, Heary, Hawkins, Hunt, Caffrey, Ryan (Morrison, 67), Rutherford (Harkin, 58), Doyle, Crowe (Keegan, 77).

Referee: R. Bossen (Holland)