Welsh champions The New Saints (TNS) lost 3-0 in their second leg tie against Belgian Giants Anderlect last night, but can still be proud of their seasons achievements.
The tie was effectively over after the first leg which TNS lost 3-1 and when Tom de Sutter grabbed the opening goal and in the second half Belgian U-21 international Romelu Lukaku came on as substitute and scored their other two goals.
To their credit Anderlect fans turned out in numbers to watch the game so giving the Welsh side a night to remember, playing in front of a 21,000 crowd. Its a shame that their own fans didn’t give the club the support it deserved in the home leg where the attendance was disappointing.
So TNS will now drop into the Europa League Playoff matches and here they have the chance of drawing the likes of Manchester City, Aston Villa,or Porto. If they do get a plum draw I hope the people of Wales are a bit less lethargic and The New Saints get the bumper home crowd their superb efforts deserve.
Welsh Champions The New Saints (TNS) lost 3-1 in their home leg against Belgian champions Anderlect in front of a disappointing crowd of only 2486. TNS were Behind after 7 minutes thanks to a goal by United States international Sacha Kljestan, and soon after they found themselves 2-0 down; effectively ending the tie.
Craig Jones gave the Welsh side brief hope when he made up for an earlier bad miss by smashing in Scott Ruscoe’s cross, but this only spurred Anderlect into further action and they made the game safe in the 73rd minute when Argentinian striker Martias Suarez scored their third.
Despite effectively being eliminated now TNS have done brilliantly to get this far and it is sad that the people of Wales have failed to get behind them in this historic occasion for the club. Hopefully such apathy will not be repeated in the second leg and the Anderlect fans will turn out to help boost The New Saints earning from their European Adventures.
If you had told the connections of TNS 15 years ago when they were in the process of stepping up from Amateur status that in the new century they would be playing against Anderlect in the European Champions League 3rd qualifying round you might have been asked what you had been drinking. However on Tuesday night The New saints will be flying the flag for Wales when they take on the Belgian Giants at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground. Not that this will be their 1st big European night, having played Manchester City in the UEFA cup and most notably Liverpool in 2005. Despite being 3-0 down from the 1st leg in the home tie they gave Liverpool quite a battle with Steven Beck hitting a post and Marc Lloyd Williams having a goal controversially ruled out for offside. At this stage Liverpool were only 1-0 up on the night and although they eventually grabbed 2 late Steven Gerrard goals to make the score respectable TNS were never overawed.
Anderlect are the reigning Belgian champions finished the season with 5 wins and a draw. So providing they come with the right attitude should be far too strong for TNS, who will do well to hold out for a draw. Much as we would like to see them progress the bookies have probably got it right making the Belgians 1/4 to win in Wales. However TNS will be well pleased with a nice cash windfall, which should help them continue with their impressive progression as a professional club. Tickets are only £10 and they are giving 2000 kids tickets away free if you fancy watching the match ring 01978 262129 to see if there are any tickets left.