Europa League first qualifying round: Gritty Reds lose at home to Norwegians
Cliftonville suffered a 1-0 defeat by FK Haugesund of Norway in Thursday's Europa League first-round qualifier at Solitude.
A first-half goal by Christian Grindheim won the game as the Reds produced a gritty home display.
Torbjorn Kallevag will miss next Thursday's return leg after receiving a straight red card for a high challenge on Conor McDermott.
Austrian club Sturm Graz will face the winners in the second qualifying round.
It will be a difficult challenge for the Reds to overturn the one-goal deficit in the second leg, but they will take confidence from a performance in which they looked compact in defence and dangerous when going forward.
Grindheim's goal arrived in the 42nd minute when the forward displayed good technique to apply a neat finish past Richard Brush from a Mikkel Desler cross after a sweeping move down the right.
Cliftonville almost made a perfect start to the tie when striker Joe Gormley fired a shot over the crossbar from a Gary Breen free-kick after just 30 seconds.
The club's record goalscorer, who was on target in his side's 4-0 win over Barry Town in the preliminary round, threatened again in the 12th minute when he sliced wide with a shot on the turn.
On-loan Derry City full-back McDermott ensured the match remained goalless with a fantastic goal-line clearance from an Ibrahima Kone shot from six yards out.
Reds captain Chris Curran then failed to connect with a McDermott cross before the visitors took the lead through Grindheim.
Cliftonville remained well in the game throuighout the second half and, after home keeper Brush had made a good save from a Niklas Sandberg free-kick, Levi Ives fired wide with a half-volley from distance.
Reds forward Rory Donnelly then had a scrambled back-post effort turned round the post by visiting keeper Sandvik before Kallevag saw red with a poor challenge on McDermott that was late and high-footed.
Ives threatened again with a curling free-kick as the visitors held on to take a one-goal lead back to Norway.
- 11DonnellyBooked at 37mins
- 7CurranSubstituted forCurranat 67'minutes
- 32GormanSubstituted forMaguireat 87'minutes
- 4BreenBooked at 76mins
- 24McMenaminBooked at 86mins
- 5Tiedemann Hansen
- 10SandbergBooked at 54mins
- 7GrindheimSubstituted forKrygårdat 45'minutes
- 14KallevågBooked at 79mins
- 20KoneBooked at 24minsSubstituted forVeldeat 33'minutes
- 11SamuelsenSubstituted forPallesen Knudsenat 82'minutes
- 16Santos Leite
- 4Pallesen Knudsen
- Laurent Kopriwa