Billy Joe Burns in action with Diogo Jota (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)

HEADS HELD HIGH AS CRUES MAKE EURO EXIT

Crusaders slipped out of the Europa League following defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Seaview but, as with the first leg a week ago, Stephen Baxter's side gave a good account of themselves.

The Crues stunned their visitors with the opening goal after 13 minutes when Ryan Bennett, under pressure from Paul Heatley, headed the ball into his own net after Jordan Forsythe had delivered the ball from the right.

But the home joy was short-lived when, just a couple of minutes later Raúl Jiménez was found by Diogo Jota on the edge of the box before taing a touch and turning to fire the equaliser past Sean O'Neill.

Despite the visitors creating further efforts as the first half progressed Crusaders more than held their own before conceding twice in the few minutes before the break.

Bennett redeemed himself on 38 minutes to give Wolves the lead on the night with a back post header after João Moutinho found him unmarked from a corner.

Then, right on the whistle, Jiménez doubled his tally after combining with Diogo Jota to clinically beat O'Neill.

With the tie over, Wolves produced an impressive passing display after the break but the Crues produced an equally as professional performance to deal with the amount of possession enjoyed by their visitors.

Wolves might have added to their tally just before the hour when João Moutinho extracted a strong save from O'Neill while substitute Morgan Gibbs-White saw his follow up blocked.

The English Premier League side did find the net again with just under a quarter-of-an-hout remaining in fortunate circumstances when Forsythe looped the ball over O'Neill into his own net whilst attempting to head away Adama Traoré's cross to the back post.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Hegarty, Lowry, Ward, Hale, Forsythe, O'Rourke, J. Owens, Heatley, Clarke subs G. Doherty (not used), Beverland (not used), Coates (not used), Cushley (replaced Owens 80), Caddell (replaced Clarke 78), Ruddy (not used), Thompson (replaced Hale 83)

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Rui Patrício, Bennett, Rúben Neves, Jiménez, Boly, Coady, Diogo Jota, Jonny Castro, João Moutinho, Dendoncker, Adama Traoré subs Ruddy (not used), Gibbs-White (replaced Jiménez 55), Sanderson (not used), Perry (not used), Saïss (replaced Rúben Neves 68), Rúben Vinagre (replaced Diogo Jota 68), Kilman (not used)

Tags:  Crusaders