GLENTORAN and Crusaders bowed out of the Europa League on Thursday.
The Glens’ hopes of a money-spinning Europe League clash with Standard Liege were ended by a 3-0 defeat at home to KR Reykjavik.
After holding the Icelandic league leaders to an impressive 0-0 draw in the first leg, the Glens had high hopes of making the second qualifying stage.
But Englishman Gary Martin punished a mistake by defender Kevin Bradley to score midway through the first half.
Then two goals by Jonas Saevarsson saw Reykjavik go through.
Saevarsson scored in the 65th minute, curling a shot in from 12 yards at the second attempt.
Then in stoppage time he got his second goal with a sidefoot finish.
East Belfast club Glentoran have been plagued by financial problems in recent seasons and getting into Europe – by winning the Irish Cup last May – was a big boost to them.
Club officials estimated getting through the first qualifying round of the Europa League could have been worth in the region of £90,000 to £100,000.
Crusaders were beaten by Norwegian side Rosenborg for the second year running in the Europa League.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Belfast, the Irish Premiership runners-up fell further behind after goals by Jon Inge Hoiland and John Chibuike.
Paul Leeman scored for the Crues early in the second half but Chibuike, Borek Dockal and Tobias Mikkelsen replied.
Jordan Owens netted a fine goal for the visitors before Alexander Sorloth and Jonas Svensson had the final say.
Rosenborg now play Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone in the second qualifying round.
The Norwegian club are former Champions League quarter-finalists and made the group stages of the Europa League last season.
Leeman’s goal was the first the veteran defender had scored in Europe while striker Owens is now the north Belfast club’s leading marksman in European football with three.
“My goal was a tap-in from about a yard but I was glad to take it,” said former Glentoran skipper Paul Leeman.
“I must have played over 30 games in Europe and that was my first.
“Jordan’s was a 25-yard screamer into the top corner and the whole crowd stood to applaud it.
“We actually played quite well for long periods of the game but we contributed to our own downfall by pushing forward.
“We gave the ball away in bad areas and Rosenborg punished us. They showed their quality on the counterattack.”