The main talking points as colossal striker Paul Onuachu gives advantage to FC Midtjylland over The New Saints and Danes make European experience count in Welsh Capital
Danish Champions FC Midtjylland will take a two-goal advantage courtesy of two headed goals from Nigerian striker Paul Onuachu back to Denmark next week, but what were the main talking points as The New Saints suffered defeat in their third round UEFA Europa League qualification match-up in Cardiff?
Onuachu scored twice as the Danish Champions defeated Scott Ruscoe’s side in the Welsh Capital, but what other things did we learn from last night’s UEFA Europa League clash?
We got stuck in with our five main talking points from last night’s game, which can be found out below…
Paul Onuachu uses power and height to advantage
He is a massive threat; there is absolutely no doubt about that. In the first half, he buried the two chances which came his way, which were both headers from corners as he bulldozed them past the helpless Paul Harrison in The New Saints’ goal.
The 6 ft 7 inch forward possesses real quality in front of goal and he showcased this throughout the first-half as The New saints’ backline struggled to deal with the Nigerian’s presence and power in and around the box.
The New Saints show fight but come up short
The New Saints didn’t give in, even when Onuachu bagged his second goal, they still had fight left in them as they went in search for a goal.
On the whole, they can be proud of their efforts, but their clinical edge let them down at the end of the day as they went home empty-handed in the first leg of their third round UEFA Europa League clash – now they have it all to do at the MCH Arena next Thursday, which could be an even more difficult game for Scott Ruscoe’s troops.
Professional FC Midtjylland earn advantage heading into second leg at MCH Arena
They weren’t electrifying by any means but the visitors got the job done and they have gained a huge advantage heading into the second leg in Denmark by scoring two massive away goals without reply.
They were also a threat in the air throughout the evening, and after scoring their second and elusive goal, they controlled proceedings, especially in the second half, when they reduced The New Saints from taking attempts from long range and ensured that they defended their two-goal lead by playing possession-style football.
New Saints must show more fire-power in final third in Denmark
Scott Ruscoe’s side really lacked attacking prowess up-front this evening, and they may feel they could have done better with the chances they had.
There was one beautiful exchange of football down the right-hand side between Simon Spender, Jamie Mullan and Dean Ebbe as Spender began the move before Ebbe flicked it back into Mullan after playing a one-two with the winger, but unfortunately, his effort was smartly saved by Jesper Hansen in the FC Midtjylland goals.
It would be a bit harsh to say that Mullan should have buried that chance but the one which ensued just moments later, you feel that the winger should have done much better with the chance he had as he found himself in all kinds of time and space, but with only the keeper to beat, he scuffed his shot.
If they want to challenge the Dane Champions next week, it is essential they are more clinical and getting an early goal at the MCH Arena could be crucial in helping to lift The New Saints to believe they can go on to sway the tie in their favour.
Midtjylland’s European experience pays dividends
The Danish side have a lot more experience in going further forward in European competitions, and having a big budget to spend in the summer certainly helps with that – the Superliga Champions just signed Alexander Scholz, a defender from Club Brugge for 1.5 million euros.
To put that into contrast, that is more money than the entirety of The New Saints’ budget and they have showcased they have a great setup in Denmark.
And it was only a couple of years ago when they shocked the European stage by winning the first leg of their round of 32 encounter against Manchester United during their 2015/2016 UEFA Europa League clash. Although they may not have shown it on the night, this team has undeniable class. There is no doubt about that.
(Featured image: Lewis Mitchell)