New Saints win impressive 4-2 Europa League victory over Viktoria Plzen, but Hibernian held back | Football news
The New Saints conceded two goals late in the game but still had an impressive 4-2 victory over Viktoria Plzen in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round.
Declan McManus netted a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Cymru Premier’s side opened up a 4-0 lead over the Czech club, who sit above AC Milan, PSV and Marseille in the standings UEFA club coefficients.
However, Jean-David Beauguel pulled one out in the 89th minute and Adriel Ba Loua further reduced the backlog, deep in stoppage time, to improve Plzen’s chances of recovering a return result.
Blaine Hudson gave the New Saints a lead in the 19th minute before McManus converted his first half-hour penalty.
He scored again on the spot eight minutes after the start of the second half – before ending his hat trick with a delicious finish with 15 minutes remaining.
The New Saints are trying to make history by reaching the play-off stage of a European tournament for the first time.
If they progress, they will face CSKA Sofia from Bulgaria or Croatian Osijek in play-offs. CSKA won the first leg 4-2 at home.
New Saints head coach Anthony Limbrick told BBC Radio Shropshire: “We are ruthless and clinical right now – and scoring four goals against this caliber of opposition I think that says a lot about us and the players. “
Meanwhile, Hibernian European hopes hang in the balance after a 1-1 draw with Rijeka in the first leg of their third Europa League qualifying game at Easter Road.
Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson hit the woods near the end of a scoreless but open first half before Ghanaian striker Prince Ampem beat the visitors on the hour mark.
However, Martin Boyle equalized six minutes later with a close range finish, but the home side couldn’t turn their pressure into more goals.
Rijeka boss Goran Tomic may believe his side have the advantage and of course next Thursday’s second leg in Croatia will be a different proposition, but with away goals of no consequence this season, the Jack Ross is far from coming out of this tie.