The Champions League Second Qualifying Round got under way last night with four fixtures taking place and of the eight teams in action across Europe there was Welsh representation in the form of last season’s WPL winners The New Saints.
They travelled to Croatia to face Rijeka and have come away with it all to do in the return leg next week. That is becasue Rijeka will bring a 2-0 lead to Oswestry next Tuesday after their performance last night put them very much in the driving seat.
It was the worst possible start for TNS as they were behind after just four minutes, Rijeka were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area and Josip Misic nonchalantly floated the ball up and over the wall and into the net. A well taken effort but perhaps questions need to be asked of Paul Harrison in goal as he offered Misic far too much of the goal to aim at.
From there on it was a prolonged period of Rijeka dominance and TNS did well to only be 1-0 down at the break, if they were offered that scoreline before kick off they would have taken it and that would have definitely been the case at half time as they could not get out of their own half.
They struggled to find an outlet after the break with Scott Quigley a lone figure in attack and their night would go from bad to worse when Rijeka substitute Florentin Matei tapped home from close range and double the advantage for the Croatian side.
It’s not an impossible task for TNS to overcome next week but it does leave them without a lot to do in front of their own fans, here is the best of the action from last night
In the other three matches there were plenty of goals and Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg take a comfortable 3-0 lead into their second leg encounter with Hibernians FC of Malta
Serbian outfit Partizan Belgrade were comfortable 2-0 winners over Buducnost Podgorica last night
And Qarabag of Azerbaijan have all but secured their place in the Third Qualifying Round with a 5-0 thumping of Georgia’s FC Samtredia