On Tuesday evening, the Welsh champions meet Northern Ireland in the first round of the Champions League qualifiers, with The New Saints and Linfield meeting at the Park Hall Stadium. Both teams will look for an advantage before the return next week, after which the winners will advance to a second round match against Bodo / Glimt or KI; The losers are transferred to the Europa Conference League. New Saints vs Linfield kick-off is scheduled for 8pm
The New Saints vs Linfield pre-match: Where are the two teams?
Just weeks after scoring a domestic brace with victory in May’s Welsh Cup final, the New Saints are back in training for the ultimate Champions League challenge, a competition in which they have never reached the group stage. The Saints have reached the third qualifying round of either the Europa League or the Europa Conference League in three of the last four years, so they certainly start this season hoping to cause an upset or two. After two wins from two of their first two pre-season friendlies – a 5-1 win over Bala Town, last season’s Cymru Premier runners-up and a 2-1 win over Cliftonville – Oswestry’s side were beaten 2-0. Larne last Wednesday, in the final warm-up match. Manager Anthony Limbrick has already gained experience in continental competitions, and in the inaugural season of the Conference League, his team went through the first two qualifying rounds: defeating Glendarran and FK Kauno Zalgiris. However, heartbreak on penalties against Czech club Viktoria Plzen would follow in the third round. Limbrick soon lifted his team’s morale and eventually became the first Australian manager to win a European top-flight title, and now the Welsh champions’ first qualifying draw of the new season puts them in contention with their Irish rivals for the second season.
TNS cruised into the Cymru Premier Trophy by 21 points, while this year’s first-round opponents secured the NIFL Premiership by just one point, just ahead of Cliftonville. Coach David Healy, a one-time Northern Ireland international with 95 appearances and 36 goals, has guided the Blues to five titles in the last six seasons, the last being a 56th time as national champions. Linfield faced the Qatar national team in their first pre-season outing in preparation for next week’s Champions League opener at Windsor Park. 1-0 win over the hosts in this World Cup. Marbella. After returning home from a week-long retreat in Spain, Healy’s men were then held to a goalless draw against Newtown and a 2-1 loss to SPFL St Mirren, despite having Daniel on loan. The game is tied after 19 minutes. Attention turns to competitive action on Tuesday night as the South Belfast side meet opponents they have already played three times in the last 15 years. After a 2-1 win for Linfield in 2007, pre-season fixtures in 2009 and 2010 came to a stark conclusion, but the stakes will be much higher when the teams meet twice in the coming days.
Latest news from the teams
Two summer signings are vying to start for the New Saints on Tuesday night, as winger Josh Daniels – a former Republic of Ireland U21 international – joins Anthony Limbrick’s side alongside goalkeeper Daniel Atherton. The latter, a Liverpool academy graduate, will compete with Connor Roberts as the hosts’ last line of defense as he has previous UEFA Youth League experience. Scottish striker Declan McManus, who was named Cymru Premier Player of the Season for the 2021-22 season with a total of 24 league goals, will lead the line-up in attack. However, Linfield have lost their key attacking player as Kristi Mansinga recently left Hungarian club Salazarzegi after finishing last season as the club’s top scorer with 20 goals in 37 appearances. In his absence, there should be a first-match outing for striker Robbie McDaid, who joined the club from rivals Glentoran last week and played for his former club against TNS at this stage last season. Finnish forward Eetu Vertainen is not registered in time to play this week, but other new signings such as Chris McKee, Joel Cooper and Daniel Finlayson – the latter, a Northern Ireland Under-21 international, joins on loan from St Mirren – should play. A role.
Likely formations The New Saints vs Linfield
Roberts; D. Davies, Asles, K. Davies, Marriott; Routledge, Brobel, Redmond; Daniels, McManus, Cieslewicz
Jones; Finlayson, Roscoe, Hall, Shields; McLean, Mulgrew; Fallon, Cooper, Fallon; McDaid
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