Carmarthen Town AFC and NK Široki Brijeg both made full use of home advantage tonight to turn their UEFA Cup first qualifying round ties, while B36 Tórshavn became the only team from the Faroe Islands ever to advance in the competition.
Trailing 2-0 against Republic of Ireland representatives Longford Town FC, Carmarthen had never even scored a goal in three European matches before tonight. But with Rhyl FC having become the first Welsh team to win a UEFA Cup tie since 1996/97 earlier tonight, Carmarthen were inspired.
Daniel Thomas's 16th-minute goal was swiftly cancelled out by Andrew Myler's penalty for Longford, but the second half was a different matter. Gary Lloyd scored on 49 minutes and just after the hour converted a spot-kick. With 15 minutes left Thomas gave Carmarthen the aggregate lead and a 5-3 overall victory was sealed by Nathan Cotterall.
Široki Brijeg joy
Joining them in Friday's draw are Bosnia-Herzegovina's Široki Brijeg. They lost 3-1 in Albania to KS Teuta a fortnight ago, but won 3-0 tonight. Ivan Medvid's 33rd-minute header and Hrvoje Erceg's shot ten minutes later gave them the two goals required, and Wagner Lago sealed victory 20 minutes from time.
Bosnia-Herzegovina's other competitors are out. NK Zepce drew 0-0 in F.Y.R. Macedonia against fellow European debutants FK Baskimi 0-0, only to forfeit the game 3-0 for fielding an ineligible player. However, the 1-1 result tonight would have seen them depart anyway. Blagoje Gjurcevski's 48th-minute opener for Baskimi cancelled out by Mirza Mesic from close range ten minutes from time.
Another Macedonian team through without winning over 90 minutes are FK Vardar. They drew 1-1 in Albania with KS Elbasani two weeks ago, meaning their 0-0 result tonight takes them through on away goals.
No Faroe Islands side had gained a two-legged UEFA Cup win prior to today, but B36 have broken that duck. Last year they lost 11-0 to FK Ventspils, but having taken a 1-1 result away from Iceland's ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar in the first leg, B36 advanced courtesy of a 2-1 win. Allan Mørkøre's second-minute goal was cancelled out before the break by Ian Jeffs. But Einar Sigurdsson's 68th-minute own goal proved decisive, especially after both Jeffs and Petur Sigurdsson were sent off.
Iceland do have a team through - Keflavík, who beat Luxembourg's FC Etzella Ettelbrück 2-0 at home tonight and 4-0 on aggregate. Hördur Sveinsson's 75th-minute opener set his team on their way and Gunnar Kristinsson struck ten minutes later.
AFC Rapid Bucuresti of Romania were the only side to rack up a double-figure aggregate tally, a 10-0 scoreline against Andorra's UE Sant Julià achieved thanks to a 5-0 away win. Mugurel Buga was the star with goals on one, 14, 20 and 29 minutes, the fourth Rapid's 100th in Europe. Marius Constantin Maldarasanu added a fifth 12 minutes from the end.
Just as APOEL FC ousted Birkirkara FC earlier today, so another Cypriot team, AC Omonia, found their way past a Maltese side, Hibernians FC. And like APOEL, Omonia won 6-0 on aggregate, in their case adding to a 3-0 home win thanks to Vlatko Grozdanovski's goal and George Vakouftsis's penalty before the break and another Grozdanovski effort in the second half.
Cork hold on
Finally, on a disappointing night for Irish side Longford, their compatriots Cork City FC celebrated. Their 2-0 win in Lithuania against FK Ekranas proved invaluable as the visitors scored the only goal in the return, Arunas Klimavicius's 59th-minute header going in via the post and Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty.
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