WELSH PREMIER FOOTBALL

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THERE was joy for Newtown, heartbreak for Bala Town and a proud performance by Airbus UK Broughton in the Welsh Premier's best-ever week of European football.

Newtown made history by progressing to the second qualifying round of the Europa League and a meeting with FC Copenhagen by beating Valletta 2-1 in Malta.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg at Latham Park, the Robins extended their aggregate lead after just seven minutes through Jason Oswell.

The Maltese levelled straight after half time through Thierry Fidjeu before having Ryan Camilleri sent-off.

Newtown clinched their spot in the next stage on 85 minutes when Matty Owen, who had just had a spot kick saved by Nicky Vella, scored from the edge of the box.

Newtown then had Matty Owen sent-off for a second yellow but were already contemplating a trip to Denmark.

There was last-gasp woe for Bala at Rhyl's Belle Vue where Differdange striker Omar Er Rafik netted a goal in the 95th-minute to put the Luxembourg side through.

Trailing 3-1 from the opening leg, the Lakesiders were on course for an away goals success after Conall Murtagh and Ian Sheridan had put them 2-0 up six minutes from time.

The visitors had made no impact in the second half and but a hopeful overhead kick into the box landed on the boot of Er Rafik, who volleyed past Ashley Morris to send the travelling party into raptures.

Airbus had a mountain to climb in Zagreb against NK Lokomotiva, needing three goals to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit.

But Chris Budrys gave the Wingmakers hope when he headed home from a Ryan Wignall cross straight after half time.

Lokomotiva v AirbusThe goal stirred the Croatians from their slumbers Ivan Fiolic levelled in the 65th-minute before Damir Sovsic, outstanding in both legs of the time, put the hosts in front.

But Airbus were not to be denied and Andy Jones headed in from a Matty McGinn long throw on 75 minutes to give the visitors a draw, the least they deserved after a superb performance.

Right: Chris Budrys celebrates the first Airbus goal in Zagreb.

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28 July 2017

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