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Penalties heartbreak for TNS – now it’s down to Bala Town and Nomads

Picture/illustration: The New Saints Twitter account

Thursday fixtures

Europa League qualifying round two

Connah’s Quay Nomads v Dinamo Tbilisi (6 pm – Racecourse Ground, Wrexham)
Standard Liege v Bala Town (7 pm – Stade Maurice Dufranse)

Report – Wednesday, September 16

B36 Torshavn 2 (Przybylski 47, Radosavlevic 120)
The New Saints 2 (Smith 81, Ebbe 112)
(aet – Torshavn won 5-4 on pens)

Agony for Saints as they were denied a place in the third qualifying round by a 120th minute equaliser from the hosts before going on to lose on penalties.

The 13-time Cymru Premier champions had beaten B36 of the Faroe Islands 6-1 on aggregate in 2015 Champions League qualifying.

But manager Scott Ruscoe had warned Torshavn were now a much harder proposition and so it proved in this one-legged tie at Tórsvøllur Stadium.

The first real chance went the way of the home side.

Following a dangerous long throw-in Saints defender Ryan Astles headed towards his own net and it took superb reactions from Paul Harrison in goal to keep the ball out.

Just five minutes later, Harrison produced another smart stop from Sebastian Pingel.

Torshavn appealed for a penalty when Astles appeared to block a goalbound effort with his arm, but the referee saw no offence.

Half-time: B36 Torshavn 0 The New Saints 0

Less than two minutes into the second half, Michal Przybylski turned and applied a fine finish to put the Faroe Islanders ahead.

The goal certainly woke TNS up, Danny Redmond and Jamie Mullan going close.

Leo Smith came on to replace Jon Routledge and this proved an inspired change, as it was the former Caernarfon Town man who popped up with the equaliser with just nine minutes to go.

Collecting the ball following a good one-two with Dean Ebbe, Smith’s superb strike was brilliantly reached by goalkeeper, Rói Hentze.

However, despite the keeper getting a strong hand to the ball, there was so much power on the shot the effort bounced over the line.

This necessitated extra time and both sides had their chances.

Ebbe forced the home goalkeeper into an early save with a header, before Przybylski tested Harrison with a shot from distance.

Ebbe was not to be denied in the 112th minute, though, when he took advantage of a keeping error from a Redmond free kick to make it 2-1.

And things were looking good for Scott Ruscoe’s men as the match drew to a close.

However, with just seconds to spare, a loose ball in the penalty area was blasted in by Stefan Radosavlevic, taking the tie into the dreaded penalty shootout.

Saints led 4-3 on spot-kicks, but were unable to capitalise on Przybylski’s miss.

Radosavlevic made it 4-4, then Ebbe stepped up looking to win it, but Hentze foiled him.

Pingel converted for the hosts and Heinze kept out Redmond’s kick, meaning it was B36 Tórshavn who advanced to the third qualifying round 5-4 on penalties.

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