Close this search box.
Close this search box.

The New Saints v BK Hacken Preview: Qualifying Second Leg

Forget Ant and Dec, Saints and Dec need to survive their own trial when they play: “I’m a Welsh champion, keep me in here” on Tuesday night.

The New Saints – perennial flag-bearers for Welsh clubs in Europe – have some very tough tucker to bite through when they welcome Swedish Cup holders BK Hacken for the Champions League qualifying, first round, second leg.

The JD Cymru Premier champions will be hoping that star striker Declan McManus’s first goal in the away leg has given them something to build on in.

Their 3-1 defeat in Gothenburg to a side making their Champions League debut was respectable enough.

After letting the Swedes in three times in the opening 45 minutes, the Saints battled through the second half without conceding any more goals and will at least have a sniff on home turf at Park Hall.

“We could’ve crumbled and gone under after going 2-0 down in the first half. We replied by scoring a fantastic goal,” said TNS boss Craig Harrison.

“Maybe if we could’ve got to the interval only one goal behind and put in that second half performance then 2-1 would’ve been an unbelievable result for us.

“I can’t praise them enough – the starting XI, the subs and even those who didn’t come on. As crazy as it sounds – we’re still in the game.

“I am close to 30 matches as manager or assistant in European football and it is still brilliant, exciting and turns you on. If you don’t do your job properly, you have the possibility of getting hammered.”

Unsurprisingly, DragonBet make The New Saints big underdogs to gain a victory, never mind overturn a two-goal deficit.

The Saints are priced at 5/1 to win, with Hacken at 1/2 and the draw at 16/5.

If you fancy the Saints to take the tie into extra-time, by forcing the same 3-1 scoreline as the first leg, then get on at 59/1.

The winners will face either Ferencvaros from Hungary or Ki Klaksvik of the Faroe Islands in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

Last week’s first leg ended in a 0-0 draw, with Ferencvaros having home advantage for the return.

If the Saints lose, they will stay in Europe but drop into the Europa Conference League second qualifying round and will meet either Slovan Bratislava from Slovakia or Luxembourg’s Swift Hesper.

Harrison added: “It’s not dead and buried. There’s a lot we need to do, don’t get me wrong, because they were outstanding.

“They’re as good as I’ve played against, playing in the European competition for TNS – certainly the three in midfield.”

If the Saints do produce the required miracle, it’s likely they will have cause to again thank their first leg hero, goalkeeper Connor Roberts, who produced a string of outstanding saves.

Social Share

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Posts

Scroll to Top