Cork City’s hopes of progressing to the playoff round of the Europa League are all but over as they were beaten 2-0 by a classy Rosenborg side at Turner’s Cross on Thursday evening.
A first-half double from Jonathan Levi was enough to see Rosenborg take a significant lead into next week’s second leg in Trondheim next week.
And it was the visitors who had the first strike at goal after eight minutes but Danish International Mike Jensen’s powerful effort was well saved by Mark McNulty.
City quickly grew into the game and Barry McNamee had their first meaningful shot towards goal just shy of the quarter of an hour mark but his fierce drive was palmed to safety by Andre Hansen.
Karl Sheppard teed up Graham Cummins moments later but the forward drilled his long-range attempt narrowly wide of the top right corner.
Just when the League of Ireland champions looked like they had a foothold in the game, they fell behind as Rosenborg’s Jonathan Levi squeezed the opener in past McNulty at his near post.
The Norwegian champions for the last three seasons were now in the ascendancy and Levi again went close midway through the first half but on this occasion, McNulty was able to make the save.
Cork, spurred on by their 5,488 in attendance, soon regrouped and Garry Buckley went close to levelling the scores in the 34th minute.
The attacking midfielder went for goal from a tight angle but his thunderous shot was saved and then gathered by the visiting number one with Cummins ready to pounce.
But Rosenborg again showed their class in the closing stages of the first half as they doubled their lead thanks to another fine finish from Levi.
The Swedish under 21 international combined well with Jansen on the edge of the City area before firing the ball into the back of the net with the help of the inside of the near post.
Kieran Sadlier emerged from the bench for the beginning of the second half and quickly gave his side more of an attacking impetus.
The winger sent a clever effort just over with the outside of his right boot before he saw a well struck free kicked palmed wide by Andre Hansen.
The Norwegian giants ought to have added a third with 15 minutes remaining but Jensen inexplicably sliced a half-volley wide of the far post after being teed up by Levi.
City, to their credit, battled until the end but it wasn’t to be as their journey into Europe is likely to come to a conclusion, for this season at least, next Thursday night.
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Damien Delaney, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack (Gearoid Morrissey 61), Jimmy Keohane; Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley, Barry McNamee (Kieran Sadlier 45); Graham Cummins.
ROSENBORG: Andre Hansen; Vegar Hedenstad, Even Hovland, Tore Reginiussen, Birger Meling; Marius Lundemo, Anders Trondsen (Olas Skarsem 87); Mike Jensen, Jonathan Levi, Nicklas Bendtner; Alexander Soderlund (Erik Botheim 77).