Having got his first taste of scoring in the Champions League against Qarabag at Oriel Park on Wednesday night, Dundalk striker Patrick Hoban is hopeful of repeating the feat in Azerbaijan on Wednesday.
The striker’s 78th minute equaliser means Vinny Perth’s side have a superb chance of shocking Gurban Gurbanov’s men if they can score at the Dalga Arena.
While most saw the 1-1 first leg draw as a positive, Hoban is hopeful that Dundalk aren’t made to regret missing a number of chances to win the game in the aftermath of his header.
“It was good to come out with a result in some sort of manner,” he said afterwards.
“We probably rode our luck a bit in the first half. We weren’t composed enough but to be honest I feel like we probably should have won the game. I feel like we left it behind us a bit with the chances at the end but if you had been offered a draw before the game you’d have probably taken it as it gives you a chance of going over there to try and get something. We’re happy in one sense but not in another.”
Asked if he was fearful that his side would live to regret not taking a lead to Baku, Hoban said: “One million percent but we have to go to Qarabag and score and I fully believe we can score.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re right on it as a unit with total concentration once again because we got punished tonight with that lack of concentration from a corner. We didn’t think we’d concede from a corner but we did and in fact we nearly conceded two from a corner so there’s a lot of lessons to learn.”
Hoban admitted that the manner in which they conceded to Mahir Emreli after four minutes was poor.
“It’s not good enough to be honest,” he said.
“We defended corners so well against Riga who had four or five lads who are 6ft 3in. To concede the corner in the manner that we did was a bit frustrating and then it comes off my leg on the way in as well which is even more frustrating but I thought we did well at certain times at the game.
“I just think we lacked a bit of composure which I thought was the difference between us and them at times. You could see they left a lot of spaces for us and we did really well at times to exploit that so the result was fair.”
The striker, who turned 28 on Sunday, said the second half display had given the side confidence that they could beat the European heavyweights.
“At half-time we just said we’re not out of the game, that there’s still a long way to go. We just said to each other have more belief because they didn’t show enough to suggest they were miles ahead of us in my opinion.
“It could be a different story over there when you take into account the heat and different scenarios but I just said we needed to believe in ourselves because you can tell there’s not that much difference in quality here and when we made them face towards their own goal they didn’t like it one bit.
“I thought they were getting tired at the end also. I know a lot of people will say they’re still in pre-season but this is their sixth game to play so it’s not pre-season. This is them at the start of their season and I thought we gave it a good right go.
“It was good to get my first Champions League goal on a night when I was captaining the side again. It’s a brilliant feeling but we have to do it all again now next week and just make sure we come out with a positive result.”
Hoban also feels his side can learn lessons from last year’s 4-0 defeat to AEK Larnaca in Cyprus.
“We tried to press Larnaca over there and it didn’t work and we got cut open too easily. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned from that.
“Pressing in 35 degree heat is not the right option. It was so much cooler in the second half and we could have waited and bided our time for the second half. You can’t go and press the ball all the time because teams of this quality will open you up and will punish you,” he said.