The New Saints did Wales proud last night gaining what is arguably their best ever European result. Although the tie was practically over given their 3-0 loss in Bulgaria, TNS battled bravely and even when they went 4-0 down on aggregate they never gave up, no only leveling the score but actually taking the lead despite being down to 10 men at the time. Sadly a historic win was prevented when Tiboni scored CSKA’s Equaliser in the 80th minute.
The big disapointment was the attendance which was a hugely disapointing 843. Its a shame that the people of Wales cant show a bit more committment to the team, given they have done the country proud this year.
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.
On Wednesday night Irish side Linfield will be hoping for one of their best results ever if they can beat Norewigen Premier League side Rosenborg who they managed to hold 0-0 in the home leg. Rosenborg have played in the Champions League second Group stages twice including a great campaign in 1999-2000. The chances of Linfield progressing look remote, so fans looking for a small team to support will have to look to either Bohemians or the Welsh side The New Saints who play each other on Tuesday so guaranteeing one Footballing Minnow gets a chance to swim with the bigger fish in the 3rd Qualifying round.