29 June 2017, Thursday
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork City return to Europa League action tonight, as they face Levadia Tallinn in Pärnu.
The game kicks off at 4.30 pm (Irish time) and will be broadcast live by eir Sports.
City go into the game on the back of two wins since returning from the mid-season break; a 4-1 home triumph over Limerick and a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Derry City last week.
Levadia come into the game on the back of a 3-0 cup win over Nõmme United, while their last league fixture was a 1-1 draw away to Sillamäe Kalev.
Speaking before his side trained at the match venue on Wednesday evening, City boss John Caulfield said: “Obviously, we have done our research on Levadia. They are second in the table and they have four or five very strong players. Morelli, the Brazilian on loan from Middlesbrough, is their playmaker. Their captain, the centre forward Hunt, is an Estonian international and gets a lot of goals for them. They are quick up front, very direct and they get the ball into the box; Marin, who plays wide right, is also an Estonian international. They score lots of goals, they have 48 in 17 league matches and they are unbeaten this season.”
“We have looked at them, they are very good going forward and create lots of chances. In my opinion, they look like a team that would be in the top four in our own league, and the intensity of the top games in the league here is similar to our own.”
“From our own point of view, we are in a great run of form; we had a phenomenal first half of the season and have started the second half really well. We feel that, if we can play to form, then we can get a result. We believe that, based on last year’s experience, we want to try and score an away goal, because the away goal is massive in Europe.”
“It will be an extremely tough game, but we are preparing well. The venue is very open and it is quite windy, so it is unlike the grounds we are used to in Ireland and we feel the conditions will have some bearing on things. At the same time, we are in good form and we are confident that we can put in a top performance; if we do that, we feel we will get a good result.”
Alan Bennett has returned to light training and will be assessed closer to kick-off, while Steven Beattie is available again after injury. Johnny Dunleavy is the only confirmed absentee.
Injury News: Johnny Dunleavy, Alan Bennett