Larne face a difficult task to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg of their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie against Ballkani.
The second leg will be played at Solitude on Thursday 3 August.
A 25th-minute penalty from Albion Rrahmani had Kosovo’s champions ahead in Pristina and Almir Kryeziu fired home his side’s second on 33 minutes.
The impressive Nazmi Gripshi completed a convincing win by finding the top corner midway through the second half.
Larne went into the tie on the back of last week’s disappointing 3-2 aggregate defeat after extra time at the hands of Finnish side HJK Helsinki in the first qualifying round of the Champions League.
Ballkani lost 4-2 over two legs to Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets in the same competition despite winning their home fixture 2-0.
Tuesday’s game at the Fadil Vokkri Stadium was played in temperatures close to 30C and Larne found themselves under pressure for the entire first half.
The hosts dominated possession, playing fast free-flowing football, and visiting goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson was forced into a fifth-minute save when he pushed away an effort from Nazmi Gripshi, with a penalty appeal for a subsequent challenge in the area being turned down.
Larne then failed to deal adequately with a low cross from the right, which was only half-cleared, Ferguson again being called upon to palm away a blistering shot from the in-rushing Gripshi.
The home side were awarded a penalty in the 25th minute when the lively Gripshi was brought down by a sliding challenge from Craig Farquhar, who started the game in place of the injured Cian Bolger.
Rrahmani made no mistake from the spot, firing confidently into the bottom left-hand corner of the net despite the despairing dive of Ferguson.
Ballkani earned further reward for their superiority when Gripshi provided the killer through ball into the path of Kryeziu, the winger taking a good first touch and dispatching a drive past the advancing Ferguson.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first and Gripshi had a ‘goal’ chalked off for offside in the early stages in what looked to be a marginal call by the referee.
Soon after Ferguson again distinguished himself as he superbly turned Meriton Korenica’s curling effort around the post.
Midway through the second period, Ballkani netted their third through the seemingly ever-present Gripshi.
Rrahmani burst clear of the Larne defence before unselfishly squaring into the path of the scorer, who rifled his drive into the top corner.
Gibraltarian side Lincoln Red Imps await the winners of the tie in the third qualifying round.
- 5DellovaBooked at 62mins
- 19TrashiSubstituted forPotokuat 89′minutes
- 98KryeziuBooked at 65minsSubstituted forBerishaat 74′minutes
- 10GripshiBooked at 58minsSubstituted forTushaat 90+3′minutes
- 9RrahmaniSubstituted forTolajat 89′minutes
- 7KorenicaSubstituted forKapraat 90+3′minutes
- 2WantBooked at 82mins
- 23CosgroveSubstituted forMaguireat 87′minutes
- 22GlynnSubstituted forIvesat 63′minutes
- 25SloanSubstituted forThomsonat 63′minutesBooked at 69mins
- 10BonisSubstituted forWestendorfat 77′minutes
- 29RyanSubstituted forO’Neillat 77′minutes
Match ends, Ballkani 3, Larne 0.
Second Half ends, Ballkani 3, Larne 0.
Substitution, Ballkani. Veton Tusha replaces Nazmi Gripshi.
Substitution, Ballkani. Albin Kapra replaces Meriton Korenica.
Substitution, Ballkani. Bleart Tolaj replaces Albion Rrahmani.
Substitution, Ballkani. Arbër Potoku replaces Lorenc Trashi.
Substitution, Larne. Tom Maguire replaces Tomas Cosgrove.
Shaun Want (Larne) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Substitution, Larne. Isaac Westendorf replaces Lee Bonis.
Substitution, Larne. Paul O’Neill replaces Andy Ryan.
Substitution, Ballkani. Albin Berisha replaces Almir Kryeziu.
Joe Thomson (Larne) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Goal! Ballkani 3, Larne 0. Nazmi Gripshi (Ballkani) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.
Almir Kryeziu (Ballkani) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Substitution, Larne. Levi Ives replaces Micheál Glynn.
Substitution, Larne. Joe Thomson replaces Dylan Sloan.
Lumbardh Dellova (Ballkani) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Nazmi Gripshi (Ballkani) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Second Half begins Ballkani 2, Larne 0.
First Half ends, Ballkani 2, Larne 0.