The Faroe Islands may not be regarded as a footballing hotbed, but – like the national team – the nations' clubs are no pushover in UEFA club competition. HB Tórshavn put the dampers on Lincoln FC's debut last week, earning a 1-1 draw in Gibraltar, and as they look to finish the Red Imps off on Tuesday night, UEFA.com celebrates some notable Faroese milestones in European club competitions.
Most Faroese fans do not count HB's 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup success against FK Universitāte Rīga, since it was a 3-0 default victory that took them through. It took another 11 years for a first genuine two-legged triumph on the pitch. Bergur Midjord's goal earned B36 a 1-1 draw against ÍBV in Iceland, and hopes of a first aggregate success were high after Allan Mørkøre broke the deadlock in the first minute in the return fixture. Englishman Ian Jeffs responded before half-time, but Midjord came up trumps again just before the hour mark to win the tie. A 4-3 aggregate defeat to Denmark's FC Midtjylland in the next round brought an honourable end to B36's campaign.
Generally regarded as the most significant success achieved by any Faroese club in a UEFA competition, Víkingur's success came courtesy of an unexpected away victory in Finland, Hanus Jacobsen converting a 78th-minute penalty. “The achievement in Finland was greater than B36's successes in 2005 and in 2006 [when they beat Birkirkara FC over two legs], because not much was expected of us," coach Sigfrídur Clementsen said after the match. "Finnish football is much better than Maltese football and slightly better than Icelandic football. The players made quite an achievement in Turku."
The dramatic near miss
HB Tórshavn 2-0 VPS Vaasa
VPS Vaasa 4-0 HB Tórshavn (agg: 4-2)
1998/99 UEFA Cup first qualifying phase
That success against Inter was arguably belated payback for HB's disappointment 15 years earlier. A star-studded (by Faroese standards) HB team beat the then Finnish league leaders 2-0 at home in the first leg, with Súni Frídi Barbá scoring midway through either half. A two-legged success was seemingly in sight, with the goalscorer saying: "If I get two scoring chances in the return match, then I hope to make one of them count." As it happened, he only got one – at a stage when his side were already 2-0 down – but failed to score with only the goalkeeper to beat. VPS then moved in for the kill.
It was no great surprise that 2010 UEFA Europa League finalists Fulham ended up getting the better of NSÍ over two legs, but that takes nothing away from the Faroese side's achievement in holding the Premier League side to a goalless draw back at home. They might even have won it had Klæmint Olsen not sliced his shot when through late on. NSÍ coach Pauli Poulsen had no doubt of what an achievement the draw was. “This is first and foremost a great result for NSÍ, but also for Faroese football," he said. "And this is undoubtedly the far best achievement for any Faroese team in any European competition."
Having come back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw in Andorra in the first leg, the momentum was with EB/Streymur in the second leg. However, after going 2-0 up at home, EB/Streymur conceded a goal to ten-man Lusitans prompting a degree of worry for coach Rúni Nolsøe. “Even when we made it 3-1, they still only needed to score two goals, then would all be gone again and they would suddenly be going through," he said. "I really didn’t think it was over until it was 4-1. Then I started to relax. But before that, I was a little bit afraid all the time." That eventual 5-1 success is the biggest winning margin for a Faroese side in European competition.
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