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2016/17 UEFA Europa League, Second Qualifying Round
  • Kamil Wilczek (1')
1st Leg
1st Leg

Hibernian 0-1 Brondby

Neil Lennon was sent to the stand on his Hibernian managerial debut as a goalkeeping howler consigned his team to a 1-0 Europa League qualifying defeat to Brondby.

It was a night of inauspicious debuts as Otso Virtanen gifted the Danes the lead seconds into his first appearance at Easter Road.

Hibernian's misfortune continued in the first leg of the second qualifying round when Jason Cummings was ruled offside as he netted in the 31st minute, a decision which annoyed Lennon so much that he was dismissed for his protests.

Hibs' season was 16 seconds old when disaster struck for Virtanen. The 22-year-old goalkeeper got down to save a weak effort from the edge of the area but somehow let the ball squirm from his grasp and Kamil Wilczek drove it home.

The Finn had only previously played two minutes for Hibs, after Mark Oxley was sent off during their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Inverness. Oxley's suspension prompted Alan Stubbs to sign Conrad Logan for the semi-final but, with the pair leaving this summer, and West Brom keeper Alex Palmer on trial, Virtanen was handed his first start.

The Danes begin their domestic season on Sunday but they sealed a trip to Edinburgh with a 10-1 victory over Valur of Iceland in the first round, a fact which might have had Hibs fans thinking back to their 7-0 home defeat to Malmo three years ago.

But their team responded well. Cummings had an 18-yard shot beaten away and Darren McGregor came close with a header.

Rodolph Austin shot over twice after set pieces for Brondby, who started with Lennon's former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki on the bench, before Hibs thought they had equalised.

John McGinn cut Brondby open with a brilliant pass to set Martin Boyle away down the right and his low cross was converted by Cummings from 10 yards, but the Spanish officials ruled it was offside.

It was a tight decision and officious referee Juan Martinez Munueara ran across to the Hibs bench to send Lennon off.

The hosts continued to press and Boyle had two decent efforts saved before Marvin Bartley's cross caused panic in the Danish defence.

Hibs' momentum was halted by the half-time whistle and the Danes could not capitalise on a couple of half chances before another moment of controversy midway through the second half when Holt went down after being set up by McGinn eight yards out. He looked to have no cause to dive given he had beaten his man but Munueara was not convinced and waved play on.

Virtanen made a decent stop after coming off his line to thwart a counter-attack and Hibs endured a frustrating end to the game as their visitors held out comfortably.

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