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27 Aug 2020
© Coleraine FC A determined Stephen Lowry wins the ball in Maribor
Coleraine produced one of the greatest results in Irish League European history with a stunning victory over NK Maribor on penalties in Slovenia.
Level after 90 minutes and extra-time, the Bannsiders emerged 5-4 shoot-out victors after Ben Doherty kept his nerve to slot home the vital spot-kick during what was effectively sudden death.
The Bannsiders started with promise. Stephen Lowry found Josh Carson with a cross but he couldn't keep his effort on target while Stewart Nixon had a short well blocked by the home defence after James McLaughlin had laid the ball off.
For Maribor Jasmin Mešanović nodded wide from a cross before Rok Kronaveter produced a terrific stop from Gareth Deane to keep out his free-kick from the edge of the area.
The home side almost found a way through six minutes from the break. Aleks Pihler squared the ball for Aljoša Matko but despite having the goal at his mercy he could only skew the ball wide of the target.
Maribor came out after the break in determined mood, Alexandru Crețu twice threatening only to fail to hit the target.
The deadline was broken in Coleraine's favour on 61 minutes when McLaughlin, scorer of the winner last week against La Fiorita, fired home an unstoppable effort past Ažbe Jug after Aaron Canning had nodded the ball into his path.
It was a short lived advantage, however, when substitute Rudi Požeg turned the ball home at the far post after a cross from the right caused problems for the visiting defence.
Chasing the winner towards the end of normal time, Mešanović saw an effort almost creep over the line at the back post while Nemanja Mitrovič headed over from a corner. For Coleraine Eoin Bradley dispossessed Crețu but saw his run and shot kept out by Jug.
Maribor might have moved in front on 99 minutes, but somehow keeper Deane got a hand to the ball to keep out Mešanović's shot from a Marcos Tavares cross.
Then, five minutes after that, Aaron Traynor conceded a penalty following a challenge on Mitja Viler but Amir Derviševič could only blast his subsequent spot-kick against the underside of the crossbar.
Both sides had chances in the second period of extra-time, Crețu had another chance for Maribor while Ian Parkhill sent a curling effort straight at Jug.
But penalties it was. The first eight spot-kicks were all converted with Parkhill, Lyndon Kane, Gareth McConaghie and Bradley all finding the net for the Bannsiders.
Then, with the score tied at 4-4, up stepped Maribor scorer Požeg but he could only fire against an upright leaving Doherty with a golden opportunity to create history ... and he wasn't found wanting, duly converting with his left-foot to send Jug the wrong way and Coleraine into the next round.

Maribor: Jug, Pihler, Kronaveter, Crețu, Matko, Milec, Mešanović, Viler, Mitrovič, Peričić, Kramarič subs Handanovič (not used), Klinar (not used), Marcos Tavares (replaced Kramarič 61), Požeg (replaced Matko 61), Derviševič (replaced Pihler 102), Mlakar (replaced Kronaveter 84), Koblar (not used)
Coleraine: Deane, Kane, Canning, Jarvis, Doherty, Lowry, McLaughlin, Carson, O'Donnell, Traynor, Nixon subs Gallagher (not used), Bradley (replaced Nixon 85), Wilson (replaced Jarvis 72), McConaghie (replaced Traynor 105), Tweed (not used), Parkhill (replaced McLaughlin 95), McGuckin (not used)