Europa League - Qualifying First Round - 1st Leg
Newtown2Valletta FC1

Newtown AFC 2-1 Valletta FC (Thur)

Newtown captain Matthew Cook (left) in action against The New Saints
Newtown captain Matthew Cook (left) in action against The New Saints

Jason Oswell's injury time strike saw Newtown win their first ever match in Europe, beating Valletta of Malta 2-1 at home in the Europa League.

Luke Boundford fired the Welsh side in front, but Brazilian Jhonnattann's equaliser looked to have secured a draw for the visitors.

Valletta captain Ian Azzopardi saw red late on after two bookings.

Boundford had a goal ruled out after a foul on goalkeeper Nicky Vella, before Oswell poked home from close range.

"If we'd have won by four or five I don't think anyone could have complained," said Newtown manager Chris Hughes.

"A fantastic performance from start to finish. We dominated the game. Created opportunities.

"That [win] was the least we deserved and we played on the front foot all game."

The Robins' last appearance in Europe was against Wisla Krakow in the Uefa Cup in 1998.

They claimed the final Europa League spot available to Welsh Premier League sides with a 2-1 win over Aberystwyth Town in a play-off final on 17 May.

Hughes now believes they are capable of getting a result in Malta next Thursday (9 July) to set up a tie against FC Copenhagen of Denmark in the next round.

"We are delighted and we've got a chance next week," he said.

"I think they [Valletta] probably didn't think we'd play as well as we did, but they certainly know about us for next week which is why we'll have to make sure we are prepared."

Opponents Valletta's preparations for the first leg were far from ideal as they experienced a delay in completing visa applications for their non-European Union players.

Tunisian midfielder Abdelkarim Nafti, forward Umeh Calictus from Nigeria, striker Thierry Tazemeta from Equatorial Guinea and Moldovan defender Maxim Focsa were the players affected.

But the four players finally met up with the rest of the squad on Wednesday evening after securing UK visas through the British embassy in Paris.

Top Stories