The New Saints won their opening game in the Champions League by two goals to one against Tre Penne but it was a frustrating for the Welsh Premier League Champions.
HIGHLIGHTS: The New Saints 2-1 Tre Penne
With The New Saints playing in Europe for the eighteenth consecutive season and Tre Penne having never a European tie over two legs, the Saints were clear pre-match favourites.
But it was a difficult night for the Welsh champions in the first leg first qualifying round tie against stubborn opposition from San Marino.
After a quiet start, the game burst into life when Scott Quigley opened the scoring after 13 minutes – Simon Spender whipping a low cross from the right-hand side and Quigley tapping in on the volley.
But Tre Penne were level within minutes when Stefano Fraternali’s perfect header nestled in the bottom corner from the visitors’ first corner kick.
Quigley had a great chance to restore the advantage half way through the first half but sliced his shot well over the bar, with only the ‘keeper to beat.
Ten minutes before the break, the Saints were back ahead with a mirror image of the first goal, with Quigley now the creator with a low cross from the left for Mullan to slot home.
TNS started the second half brightly with Mullan and Quigley again threatening but both scorers were guilty of missing good chances.
Aeron Edwards had a header saved from a Ryan Brobbel corner and Adrian Cieslewicz should have scored half way through the second half, but he was denied by a heroic save from the Tre Penne goalkeeper.
But despite their 17 corner kicks, the Saints failed to find a third goal and take a slender lead into the second leg, with the visitors returning to San Marino with what could prove to be an all important away goal.