Wednesday, August 24, 2011
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Europa League

Fram v TNS
Danny Holmes brings the ball away for TNS during the first leg in Reykjavik.
THE New Saints took part in the first Europa League, the successor to the Uefa Cup, in 2009 and were handed - on paper, at least - a negotiable first qualifying round tie against Fram Reykjavik.
The first leg started well in Iceland's National Stadium, with Steve Evans heading TNS into a 23rd-minute lead, only the second away goal scored by the club in 11 European ties.
But the hosts hit back with a penalty from Englishman Sam Tillen on 33 minutes and won the leg with a well-worked goal from Heidar Juliusson just after the break as the Saints' lack of full match fitness was again evident against opponents mid-way through their domestic season.

Steve Evans levelled the tie after just 12 minutes of the second leg - the first European tie ever to be staged on the Saints' own ground.
Although Almar Ormasson equalised five minutes later, TNS dominated possession and would surely have added further goals but for heroics from young keeper Hannes Halldorsson.
Evans also hit a post in the first-half with another header, but the tie was virtually settled in Fram's favour on 66 minutes when, totally against the run of play, Sam Tillen netted his second penalty of the ties after Phil Baker had brought down Thorarinsson following a suicidal back pass by Barry Hogan.
So, once again, TNS hopes in Europe were ended at the first hurdle.
Aggregate 2-4

After defeat to Anderlecht of Belgium in the 2010 Champions League, the Saints found themselves in the fourth qualifying (play-off) round of the Europa League and within touching distance of the group stages.
In their way were CSKA Sofia and the Saints journeyed to Bulgaria, where they held out for 81 minutes before conceding three late goals.
That made the second leg mission impossible, but TNS fought-out a highly creditable 2-2 draw in Wrexham, with Matty Williams and Steve Evans scoring the goals.
Aggregate 2-6

Cliftonville v TNS
Celebrations for Phil Baker's winning goal against Cliftonville at Solitude, Belfast.
The following season, 2011/12, Saints were back in the Europa League and were drawn to play Cliftonville of Northern Ireland. A 1-1 home draw in the first leg left TNS needing a goal and a win in Belfast in the return leg, and Phil Baker's fourth-minute header ensured that both of those requirements were achieved for what was only the club's second-ever European win.
Aggregate 2-1

Next-up were FC Midtjylland of Denmark, who had hammered Bangor City 10-1 on aggregate just three years earlier. Steve Evans snatched the lead for the Saints in the first leg at Park Hall, but some late defensive lapses allowed the visitors to score three.
That left a mountain to climb in Herning's MCH Arena and, despite a brace from Alex Darlington, who had also scored against Cliftonville, the Danes ran out 5-2 winners on the night.
Aggregate 3-8

Europa League record

2 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Reykjavik)
FRAM Reykjavik 2-1 TNS
9 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Oswestry)
TNS 1-2 FRAM Reykjavik
19 Aug 2021 / 4th Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Sofia)
CSKA Sofia 3-0 TNS
26 Aug 2021 / 4th Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Wrexham)
TNS 2-2 CSKA Sofia
30 Jun 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Oswestry)
TNS 1-1 Cliftonville
7 Jul 2021 / 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Belfast)
Cliftonville 0-1 TNS
14 Jul 2021 / 2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg (Oswestry)
TNS 1-3 FC Midjtylland
21 Jul 2021 / 2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg (Herning)
FC Midtjylland 5-2 TNS