TNS vs Feronikeli for the Champions League Qualification match on Tuesday at Park Hall Stadium, England.
The New Saints have the hegemony of Welsh football. They’ve won the last eight editions of the Welsh Premier League, the First Division of the Welsh Championship. The right to participate in the 2019/2020 qualifiers of the Champions League was the bonus for their most recent achievement.
The trophy of the 2018/19 national tournament was obtained with a turnaround. In the first phase, the league stage, the TNS finished in the second position. They accumulated 46 points, one less than Barry.
However, in the playoffs of the Welsh Championship, which gather the six best at the end of the league stage, reversed the situation and completed their participation with 74 points. They ended 12 points ahead of Connah’s Q, who also left Barry behind and won the runner-up.
As hosts, the TNS accumulated 39 points as visitors won 35. In preparation for their Champions League debut, they made only one friendly. They faced Barry and threw a 6-1 thrashing on June 18.
KF Feronikeli already had to play two matches of life and death in the preliminary stage of the Champions League. Won the quadrangular in which Kosovo was chosen as the host country. In the first meeting, they scored 1-0 to Lincoln, a team from Gibraltar. In the second, they won 2 to 1 in against the Santa Coloma of Andorra.
The decision had epic aspects. The Kosovar team were outnumbered four minutes into the final stage when midfielder Yilli Hoxha was sent off. Three minutes later, they suffered a goal. Even with ten athletes, they reached the equalizer in the 13th minute and reached the turnaround in the 42nd minute.
The team has been undefeated for 11 matches. The sequence started at the end of the 2018/2020 season, for ten clashes. The team had not lost since April 13, when it took 2 to 1 of Ferizaj in the national championship. That final rush yielded both the Kosovo Super League title and the Kosovo Cup.
The Kosovo Cup decision was against Trepca 89, and it finished with a 5-1 victory. In the Superleague, the team reached the title with 80 points (25 wins, five draws and three defeats) having scored 64 goals and suffered 14. They finished with a lead of 5 points more than Prishtina, runner-up. Started in the 2013/2014 season, the competition had KF Feronikeli as champion on three occasions.
Although it has a significant technical advantage in comparison with local rivals, TNS has not taken advantage of their hegemony to reduce the difference that separates them from the top teams of the continent. Feronikeli advanced without showing great technical ability. The lack of confidence inspired by the sides predicts a draw as the right choice for the meeting of Tuesday of the first leg of the qualifying round for the Champions League season 2019/2020.