Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Champions League

Toner and Wright
John Toner and "Bagger" Wright celebrate their goals against Levadia Maardu.
TNS played in the Champions League for the first time in 2000 after winning the League of Wales for the first time under the leadership of the highly respected Andy Cale, one of the league's best-ever managers. Our opponents were the champions of Estonia, FC Levadia Maardu.
Despite including a number of internationals in their team, the match at Wrexham was a fairly even game, although we had to show a lot of character on the night to come from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw. It was a match we could and possibly should have won. Anthony Wright and John Toner scored our goals, the latter in the dying minutes of the game.
The return trip to Estonia ended in a 4-0 defeat, although the scoreline hardly reflected the closeness of the game. Despite creating goal scoring opportunities of our own, we found ourselves 2-0 down mid-way through the second half. With nothing to lose we went looking for a way back into the game, only to be caught twice on the break in the dying minutes to finish off any lingering hopes we may have had of salvaging the tie.
Aggregate score 2-6.

Liverpool v TNS
Five goals in the two legs by Steven Gerrard made all the difference when TNS faced European champions Liverpool in 2005.
THE record books show that TNS lost both legs of their history-making Champions League ties in 2005 by a 3-0 scoreline.
There is no disgrace in that against the reigning European title holders, but what the bare facts conceal is how two plucky performances ran Liverpool much closer than that.
Although it took heroic displays from goalkeeper Gerard Doherty in both games to keep Liverpool's strike force at bay, Saints were just two minutes for leaving Anfield on the wrong end of a 2-0 result.
And in the return leg at Wrexham, Steven Beck hit a post and Marc Lloyd Williams saw a goal controversially ruled out for offside while the Reds were just 1-0 ahead.
It took two late strikes in a minute from skipper Steven Gerrard to save the visitors' blushes.
Aggregate score 0-6

TNS were back in the Champions League in 2006 and were drawn away to Finnish outfit MyPa-47, who had dumped Dundee United out of the Uefa Cup the previous season. The Saints fought-out a creditable 1-0 defeat in the away leg, going down to a 58th-minute goal from Brazilian Adriano on a hot night in the Anjalankoski Stadium. Hopes were high of a second leg success, but a Puhakainen gaol after just six minutes left TNS with the proverbial mountain to climb at Newtown's Latham Park and the game ended without any further goals.
Aggregate score 0-2

TNS v Bohemian
Craig Jones scores during the 4-0 win over Bohemians.
The following season, TNS suffered the agony of exit on away goals, after a thrilling 3-2 home win over Ventspils thanks to Barry Hogan's injury-time effort, added to goals from Phil Baker and Michael Wilde. But the Latvians took what proved to be a decisive advantage in their home stadium with goals after 20 and 53 minutes and, although Martyn Naylor scored from a free-kick, it was too little, too late.
Aggregate score 4-4

There was a three year wait before The New Saints returned to the Champions League but, after lifting the title in 2010, the draw paired us with Irish champions Bohemians.
There was little hint of what was to follow as the Saints went down 1-0 on a rainy Dublin night in the first leg at Dalymount Park.
But TNS came out with all guns firing in the return leg at Park Hall and destroyed the Irishmen with three goals in 15 first-half minutes, running out 4-0 winners thanks to Craig Jones, Matty Williams (2) and Chris Sharp.
Aggregate score 4-1

It ended a 14-year wait for an aggregate victory in Europe and set-up a third qualifying round tie with Belgian giants Anderlecht.
As expected, the opposition proved too strong at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, winning 3-1, with Craig Jones scoring for the Saints.
Then, in front of a sell-out 23,000 crowd at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels, Anderlecht won 3-0.
But that wasn't the end of the Saints' European adventure as they dropped down into the Europa League play-off round and met CSKA Sofia (see Europa League).
Aggregate score 1-6

TNS 3-2 FK Ventspils (2007)

Champions League record

12 July 2021 / Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Wrexham)
TNS 2-2 Levadia Maardu (Estonia)
19 July 2021 / Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Tallin)
13 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Anfield)
Liverpool 3-0 TNS
19 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Wrexham)
TNS 0-3 Liverpool
12 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Anjalankoski)
MyPa-47 1-0 TNS
19 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Newtown)
TNS 0-1 MyPa-47
17 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Newtown)
TNS 3-2 FK Ventspils
25 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Ventspils)
FK Ventspils 2-1 TNS
13 Jul 2021 / 2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Dublin)
Bohemian 1-0 TNS
20 Jul 2021 / 2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Oswestry)
TNS 4-0 Bohemian
27 Jul 2021 / 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Wrexham)
TNS 1-3 Anderlecht
3 Aug 2021 / 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Brussels)
Anderlecht 3-0 TNS