Welsh clubs in Europe


[Left] Llanelli score against Motherwell and [right] Nicolas Anelka of Manchester City and Chris King of TNS in the 2004 Uefa Cup tie at the City of Manchester Stadium [Phil Blagg].

Inaugural champions of the League of Wales in 1992/93, Cwmbran Town were the first club from the domestic league to compete in Europe. Barry Town were the first to win a European tie, after beating FC Dinaburg from Latvia and Visutas Budapest from Hungary in the 1996 Uefa Cup. They repeated the feat in 2001, beating Shamkir from Azerbaijan. In 2005, both Carmarthen Town and Rhyl also won first qualifying round ties in the same competition.
Llanelli again improved the domestic record in 2006 by beating Swedish outfit Gefle IF 2-1 on their own ground, qualifying for a second qualifying round tie with Odense.
The most high profile European ties in recent years have involved TNS, who drew Manchester City in the 2004/5 Uefa Cup and Liverpool in the 2005/6 Champions Leage.
Four Welsh Premier clubs now qualify for European competitions.
In 2010, champions The New Saints played in the second qualifying round of the Champions League and won a superb 4-1 aggregate victory over Irish outfit Bohemians, before performing creditably in ties against Anderlecht (Champions League) and CSKA Sofia (Europa League).
In the Europa League, runners-up Llanelli lost out by the odd goal to FK Tauras of Lithuania, whilst European debutants Port Talbot were no match for TPS Turku of Finland, losing 7-1 on aggregate.
Welsh Cup winners Bangor City went straight into the second qualifying round of the same competition and reversed their previous season's result against Honka Espoo of Finland, winning 2-1 at Wrexham after a 1-1 draw in Finland. But they were beaten 10-3 by Maritimo from Madeira in the third round.
TNS repeated their success the following season, beating Cliftonville 1-0 in Belfast to secure a 2-1 aggregate Europa League win, but Welsh sides drew a blank until 2013 when Prestatyn Town marked their European debut by eliminating Leipajas Metalurgs of Latvia in the Europa League.
A year later, all four Welsh clubs made first stage exits, although TNS performed creditably against Slovan Bratislava, as did Airbus UK Broughton who were narrowly beaten in the Europa League by FK Haugesund of Norway.
A total of seven Welsh Premier clubs have won 10 European ties in all.

• The third Europa League spot for Welsh Premier clubs is determined by a play-off involving the clubs finishing in third to seventh places (or eighth if the Welsh Cup winners finish in one of those positions).

Below: Airbus UK celebrate a Mike Pearson goal in Haugesund in July 2014.

Welsh Premier Football