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B36 Torshavn 2 The New Saints 2 (5-4 on penalties AET) – match report as Saints exit Europa League

By Lewis Cox | Football | Published: | Last Updated:

The New Saints were just seconds away from European progression but crashed out of the Europa League on penalties on a dramatic night in the Faroe Islands.

Scott Ruscoe's side bowed out of the Europa League to B36 Torshavn on penalties Picture credit: Mike Sheridan/Ultrapress..

An equaliser from Leo Smith sent the second qualifying round tie at B36 Torshavn into extra time, where Dean Ebbe looked to have won it in 112th minute.

But Scott Ruscoe's men could not hold out as concentration slipped allowing Stefan Radosavljevic to belt a super strike into the roof of the net in added time at the end of 120 minutes.

Still Saints had a shot at progression from the spot after B36 hit the crossbar but Ebbe's decisive penalty was kept out.

And Danny Redmond's sudden death spot-kick was saved by Rio Hentze, sparking wild celebrations for the Faroese hosts who will welcome either CSKA Sofia or BATE Borisov next week.

The Cymru Premier Saints miss out on around £240,000 prize money as their European campaign comes to an end after a third successive shootout defeat following ties against Queen's Park, Stenhousemuir and Bangor City.

The Saints beat Torshavn home and away in 2015, 6-1 on aggregate in Champions League qualifying.

TNS' back four was much changed from the defensive unit Ruscoe was able to call upon against Zilina in the last round with Simon Spender, Chris Marriott and Blaine Hudson all absent.

After a quiet start, Saints veteran keeper Paul Harrison was forced into a one-handed save to keep out Ryan Astles' inadvertent header from a threatening Torshavn long throw.

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Seconds later Sonni Nattestad sent a rising drive over from 18 yards.

Midway through the half the visitors' high defensive line was broken and Pingel's low finish was well saved by Harrison, making his 48th European appearance for TNS.

Ruscoe was forced into a reshuffle as Davies was forced off injured after half hour, with Harrington moved into the middle and youngster Ben Clark filling in at full-back.

Jakup Borg's B36 were on top and screamed for a penalty just shy of 40 minutes as Astles made a big block to keep out a goalbound effort from the hosts. The Northern Ireland officials ruled against the handball claims.

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Boss Ruscoe was hoping for improvements after the break but got the opposite.

The hosts fashioned a neat one-two on the edge of the box and Polish forward Przybylski swivelled neatly in the box before finishing well into the corner to give the hosts a deserved lead just 60 seconds after the restart.

TNS stepped things up and Redmond sent a 25-yard free-kick a couple of feet over Hentze's crossbar just shy of the hour.

Striker Ebbe poked an instinctive leg at Redmond's drive to send it goalwards but, unfortunately for his side, it flew the wrong side of the post.

Ruscoe sent on Smith and Adrian Cieslewicz and Smith delivered once again with nine minutes left, after a neat one-two with Ebbe and powering a finish through keeper Hentze, who should have kept it out.

The tie crept into extra time and Harrison made a decent early stop to repel Radosavljevic's free-kick before the keeper kept hold of Pingel's drive.

Ebbe flicked a header from Redmond's free-kick that was saved by Hentze in an open first period.

The striker passed up a great chance after a terrible Hentze error in the second period of extra time but opted to square for Louis Robles when he should have put B36 to bed.

Ebbe made no mistake on 112 minutes, profiting from another Hentze error, under pressure from Astles from a free-kick, leaving the striker the easy chance to tuck in.

That should have been that for the Saints but they could not clear their lines in added time at the end of extra time and sub Radosavljevic thrashed in a stunning finish from the edge of the box to force spot-kicks, where there was to be heartache for TNS.

B36 Torshavn: Hentze, Nattestad, Heinesen, Mellemgaard, Jacobsen, Samuelsen (Radosavljevic, 86), Nielsen (Agnarsson, 67), Hognason, Eriksen (Jacobsen, 109), Frederiksberg, Przybylski, Pingel.

Subs not used: Joensen, Hansen, Thomsen, Johansen.

The New Saints (3-4-3): Harrison; Harrington, Davies (Clark, 30), Astles, Redmond; Holland, Routledge (Smith, 71), Brobbel (Cieslewicz, 77); Mullan, Robles (Draper, 116), Ebbe.

Subs not used: Roberts, Boateng, Bailey.

Lewis Cox

By Lewis Cox
Multi-Media Sports Journalist

Sports reporter with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Covering Shrewsbury Town and with a keen eye for non-league and grassroots.

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