History made as South Wales progress in UEFA Regions Cup
11 June 2018

History made as South Wales progress in UEFA Regions Cup

South Wales FA became the first Welsh side to progress to the Intermediate Round of the UEFA Regions Cup with a 4-0 victory over Evia Region at Jenner Park.

A win was all South Wales needed to guarantee qualification to the Intermediate Round, given the mathematics of Group B, which is being played this week in Slovenia, and the group hosts emphatically delivered through goals from Connor Keating, Alex Long, Alex Lloyd and Andre Phillips.

The hosts made a blistering start, and were one up inside the first minute. Richard Noyes' long throw-in wasn't dealt with by goalkeeper Dimitrios Ntoumanis, and it was pounced on by Keating, who tapped home from close range.

Connor Keating after putting South Wales FA in front. (Photo and Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)
Connor Keating after putting South Wales FA in front. (Photo and Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)

As the half came to a close, Konstantinos Tzavras received a red card for a second bookable offence after disputing a decision following a challenge on Sully Sports' Alex Long, leaving the Greeks with a mountain to climb.

South Wales made it 2-0 from the penalty spot shortly after the break as Christopher Quick was brought down in the box. Alex Long made no mistake as he sent Ntoumanis the wrong way and the hosts were in a commanding position.

They then put the Greeks out of sight through Lloyd following some neat build-up play down the right-hand side. Joseph Morelli threaded the ball across the area to Lloyd, who made no mistake in-front of the empty goal.

Phillips added gloss to what was an excellent display from the hosts, the substitute volleying stylishly past Ntoumanis to round off the scoring.

The win saw South Wales clinch second place in the group behind Amateurs FYR Macedonia, who topped it on head to head difference after their 1-0 win over Region of Gothenburg.

It was Macedonia who were the strongest team in the first half at Cyncoed. Captain Nikola Risteski headed just over from Robert Kocev's corner, before Marjan Ristovksi broke into the box and found Vladimir Zhoglev, who turned and shot only to find his effort blocked by Can Aslaner.

Their best chance of the half came to Antonio Lukarov: as a cross fell to his feet, his effort at the near post was saved by Gothenburg keeper Emil Kecevic. 

Valentino Rafeski then squandered a good chance for Macedonia when his header went wide of the post. Lukarov again went close, yards from goal, but his header was kept out by Kecevic who was again on hand to deny the forward.

In the second half, Macedonia should have scored through substitute Lazar Peev, but he put his effort straight at Kecevic. At the other end, Gothenburg skipper Kassim Coaney went close having been played through on goal, but Petar Mitev blocked his attempted chip before Viktor Lundqvist sliced his effort wide on the rebound. 

The deciding goal came just after the hour mark, when a low Macedonian corner was drilled into the feet of Oliver Hristov who hit a low shot past a sea of bodies to give his side the lead. 

Gothenburg came closest to equalising in the last ten minutes as Coaney spotted Mitev off his line, but his effort hit the crossbar, bounced down onto the line and out. 

The Amateurs held on to claim top spot in the group and seal their place in the Intermediate Round along with South Wales.