Europa League play-offs: Glentoran and Cliftonville into decider after stunning semi-final games

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Glentoran stun Lurgan Blues to make play-off final

Cliftonville will host Glentoran in Saturday's Europa League play-off final after the Belfast sides came out on top in two pulsating semi-finals.

Two Darren Murray goals and strikes from Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid gave the Glens a 4-2 win over Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

A double from Conor McMenamin helped the Reds to a 5-3 home win over Coleraine after extra-time.

The final, a repeat of last year's decider, will take place at Solitude.

In a remarkable game at the north Belfast venue, Coleraine looked set to take their place in the final when James McLaughlin completed his hat-trick with an audacious overhead kick to put his side 3-1 up midway through the second half.

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Reds beat Bannsiders in Solitude thriller

However, having pulled one back through McMenamin, the Reds got their chance to equalise in the 95th minute when referee Steven Gregg pointed to the spot following Josh Carson's challenge on Ryan Curran.

The forward stepped up and coolly drilled home to send the game into extra-time.

Earlier, two McLaughlin headers had put Coleraine ahead in the first half before Joe Gormley had halved the deficit before the break.

In extra-time, the Reds went in front for the first time through Levi Ives who squeezed his right-footed effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Chris Johns produced an outstanding save from Gormley to keep his side in the game, but the hosts eventually had a two-goal cushion when McMenamin held his nerve to round Johns and slot home to spark jubilant scenes among the home fans.

For the Bannsiders it was a devastating end to what has been a disappointing season, while Cliftonville are still hopeful of earning the 220,000 euro prize awarded to the play-off winners.

Murray started and completed Glentoran's scoring with well-taken goals
Murray started and completed Glentoran's scoring with well-taken goals

In the battle between third and seventh at Mourneview, Darren Murray gave Glentoran the lead with a towering header in the 27th minute.

A great passing move from deep in their own half saw Chris Gallagher sweep the ball wide to Curtis Allen on the right and he clipped a cross to his strike partner, who rose superbly to place his header beyond the outstretched Jonny Tuffey.

The home side equalised in first-half injury time when Marron hit a low drive from 35 yards out which went through a crowded penalty area and under Dwayne Nelson before nestling in the bottom corner.

In a frantic start to the second half, Allen restored Glentoran's lead when he controlled a pass on the edge of the area and unleashed an outstanding half-volley into the top corner.

Gary Hamilton's men were level again six minutes later when Andy Mitchell fired an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner, with the home players claiming Glens defender Gavin Peers should have been sent off for the foul on Stephen Murray which led to the free-kick.

The visitors' lead was restored straight from the restart when Robbie Garrett lost possession to McDaid with a sloppy backpass and the striker rounded Tuffey to slot home.

Murray put the seal on a hugely impressive win for Mick McDermott's east Belfast side, who finished 21 points behind their opponents, when he turned Seamus Sharkey on the halfway line and ran through on goal before finishing with a stylish dink over Tuffey.

It leaves the Glens, who looked in danger of relegation earlier in the season, one match away from Europa League qualification.