Burns on target as Blues Produce Eueo Heroics

LINFIELD produced one of the greatest results in their history to defeat Greek side Skoda Xanthis in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round clash in the Xanthi Arena.

Aaron Burns grabbed the solitary - and ultimately winning - goal after 25 minutes with a left-foot drive past Spanish 'keeper Chema Jiménez after Michael Carvill had found himself just outside the box.

Xanthi almost levelled within three minutes when Serge Dié curled a free-kick narrowly over the bar.

However, the Blues held onto their lead going in at the break and, indeed, might have extended it ten minutes after the restart when Burns almost struck again as look poised to connect with a James Knowles corner only to be harried off the ball by the home defence.

Xanthi began to dominate more as Linfield tired in the heat with French midfielder Nicolas Marin coming close just after the hour with a low drive which Jonathan Tuffey did well to turn around the post.

Then, with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, substitute Panagiotis Triadis forced Blues 'keeper Tuffey to knock his right-foot free-kick over the bar.

But, again, Linfield almost snatched a second goal barely 60 seconds later when Jiménez was called into action to tip a 25-yard Carvill drive over to safety.

The stage is now set for David Jeffrey's men to complete the job next Thursday night at Windsor Park, kick-off 7:45pm.