ŠK Slovan Bratislava moved closer to the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round after a 1-0 victory against The New Saints FC in their first leg at Štadión Pasienky.
Right-back Erik Čikoš scored the only goal with a low strike from the edge of the penalty box seven minutes after the restart, putting the hosts in the driving seat at the tie's halfway stage. The teams meet again next Tuesday in Rhyl, where the Welsh outfit will hope to overturn their deficit and get past the second qualifying round for the first time since 2010/11.
Although a well-organised TNS frustrated Slovan, it proved a busy night for goalkeeper Paul Harrison, who was on form throughout. Marko Milinković and Juraj Halenár, both dangerous from the off, tested the 29-year-old before the break but could not make the breakthrough. It fell to Čikoš to provide the finishing touch after the restart, the defender drilling in a shot that Harrison had no answer to.
Despite the visitors enjoying bright spells of possession, TNS struggled to create any clear-cut chances in the second half. Their best effort fell to Mike Wilde following a flick on from substitute Alex Darlington, but the forward's shot whistled past the upright.
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