Hibs defeat Molde on penalties after 2-2 draw to advance in UEFA Youth League
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Goals in each half from Jacob Blaney and Malik Zaid put Hibs in front on aggregate after a 1-0 win for Molde in Norway but a late header from Martin Tornes took the tie to penalties.
Hibs scored all their spot-kicks with Murray Johnson saving from Johan Bakke to send Hibs through to a meeting with Nantes in the second round.
The visitors were first to create a chance but Gustav Nyheim’s effort from an acute angle came back off the post with the defence clearing the loose ball. Hibs first got a sight of goal when Oscar MacIntyre sped down the touchline and picked out Zaid but the midfielder’s effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Hibs won a second corner and from the set-piece took an early lead. Peder Hoel Lervik could only fumble an aerial ball and as it dropped Blaney pounced to stab it into the back of the net.
It was an ideal start for Hibs as they levelled the tie on aggregate, with Blaney then doing well to thwart Nyheim from close range.
The impressive Murray Aiken had two chances in quick succession, steering one effort high and wide from an Ethan Laidlaw corner before he exchanged passes with Josh O’Connor and saw a low shot saved by Lervik from 12 yards out.
Nikolai Skuseth then hauled down Aiken around 25 yards from goal as the midfielder raced through, with the Molde defender picking up a caution. O’Connor struck his free kick well enough but it was straight at Lervik.
Blaney and Nyheim continued their personal battle as the Scotland Under-19 internationalist foiled the visiting attacker two minutes before the break.
Just before half-time Zaid came agonisingly close to a second, dancing through the defence and cheekily clipping the ball past the ‘keeper only for a defender to hack it.
Molde started the second half quickly and Josh McCulloch had to time his tackle perfectly to prevent Gustav Nyheim getting a shot away from inside the area.
Niklas Ødegård made space for himself around 20 yards from goal but blazed his effort well over the bar while up the other end a Blaney free kick was straight at Lervik as Hibs pushed for a second.
O’Connor nearly picked out Laidlaw with a ball over the top but the pass had just too much on it. Robbie Hamilton then won the ball back in midfield and sent Oscar MacIntyre haring down the line but his low cross was cleared by the Molde defence.
Moments later Hibs did score a second. O’Connor picked up the ball just inside the Molde half and drove forwards, cutting the ball back for Zaid to sweep home from close range.
Molde made a raft of changes in a bid to get back into the game and it paid off when Tornes headed home with five minutes to play to pull one back on the night and level the tie on aggregate.
Lervik was replaced by Kristoffer Bygland towards the end of injury time but was powerless to prevent any of Hibs’ penalties hitting the net as Aiken, Blaney, Laidlaw, Hamilton, and MacIntyre all converted.