The New Saints Bow Out Of The UEFA Champions League, Despite A Good Display In Denmark

vs

Match Report

Yellow cards: Spender (71)
Substitutions: Lewis for Cieslewicz (59), Draper for Ebbe (66), Hudson for Marriott (78)

Match Report: Sam Wood

Despite a good display against FC Copenhagen, The New Saints’ UEFA Champions League dreams are over for at least another year, as the Danish champions emerged victorious at the Parken Stadium tonight.

Having gone into the break with the scores level, a wonder strike from midfielder Zeca gave the hosts a 1-0 win on the night, and a 3-0 result in their favour on aggregate.

It means Scott Ruscoe’s side must now settle for a place in the UEFA Europa League, where a trip to either Iceland or Bulgaria awaits.

First-half

The Saints’ start was a bright one, with Simon Spender being caught offside inside the opening five minutes, as he looked to race away down the right wing.

Then it was the turn of Aeron Edwards to bring his side forward, dispossessing Zeca in the centre of the park, before good work from Cieslewicz created an opening down the left.

Ståle Solbakken’s side looked lively though themselves, and Harrison needed to alert as he rose high to collect Bartolec’s dangerous cross with 19 minutes on the clock.

Although the home side enjoyed most of the first-half possession, TNS looked comfortable, and had with the perfect chance to test home goalkeeper Johnsson with a free-kick by the far corner flag. It was Redmond who whipped in a inswinger, but the ball  unfortunately evaded everyone, going out for a goal kick at the back post.

It was a moment that brough the match to life and suddenly it was end to end stuff. Harrison was again called into action, pulling off a superb 1v1 save after last week’s goalscorer, Sotiriou, had beaten the offside trap.

Just three minutes later, TNS went close through Ryan Brobbel. Having let Cieslewicz’ pass roll across his body, the number eight sent a powerful effort just inches over the crossbar, much to the displeasure of the home fans behind the goal.

Second-half

Having ended the first 45 minutes in a strong position, Scott Ruscoe’s picked up where they  left off as the second period got underway.

Some great defending inside his own area by Edwards stopped Thomson down the left, before good link-up play between Spender, Routledge and Mullan came to a halt with the latter being called offside.

It was starting to look like a moment of brilliance would be needed to separate the two sides and just minutes later, it arrived.

After collecting the ball just outside the TNS penalty area, captain Zeca sent a shot, which would’ve left the best goalkeepers in the world stranded, sailing past Harrison and into the top corner of the net. The goal made it 1-0 to the hosts on the night, but also stretched their aggregate lead to 3-0.

Solbakken’s side had an extra spring in their step following the goal, and continued to look threatening, forcing The New Saints into plenty of defensive work.

Harrison was needed once more with 75 minutes played, making a great initial save, before a last-ditch sliding challenge from Jon Routledge stopped Mohamed Daramy from making it 2-0.

Content with their lead, the home side looked to see the game out in the final 15 minutes, so that was the end as far as goalmouth action was concerned, meaning The New Saints exited the UEFA Champions League at the second hurdle with a 3-0 aggregate defeat.

However, there’s still Europa League football to come for The Saints, as they now drop into the UEFA Europa League, and will face the winners of tomorrow evening’s Valur vs Ludogrets tie.

Details

Date Time League Season
31st July 2019 6:45 pm Champions League 2019 - 2020

Ground

Parken Stadium
Øster Allé, Indre Østerbro, Østerbro, Copenhagen, Copenhagen Municipality, Capital Region of Denmark, 2100, Denmark

Results

ClubGoals
FC Copenhagen1
The New Saints FC0

The New Saints FC

1Paul Harrison Goalkeeper
2Simon Spender Defender
3Chris Marriott 12 Defender
6Jon Routledge Midfielder
8Ryan Brobbel Midfielder
10Danny Redmond Midfielder
11Adrian Cieslewicz 22 Forward
14Jamie Mullan Forward
17Dean Ebbe 9 Forward
23Aeron Edwards Midfielder
24Ryan Harrington Defender
9Greg Draper 17 Forward
22Kane Lewis 11 Defender
12Blaine Hudson 3 Defender