Cardiff Met University secured Europa League qualification for the first time in their history with a play-off penalty shoot-out victory over Bala Town. Gaining European football also earned the club a £193.000 windfall, after failing in their previous three attempts to qualify for the competition.
Eliot Evans struck the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after Barry saw three penalties saved as nerves took hold.
Mike Davies Chief Executive Cardiff Met of Students’ Union and Cardiff Met University AFC said: “We are extremely proud of the success of the team both in winning the Nathaniel Cup and qualifying for the Europa League, we have been building up to this for the last three years”.
“The conduct and commitment of our students and the management team and everyone who is part of the club has been a credit to the University and Welsh Football. They deserve the opportunity to play on the European stage”, he revealed.
Cardiff Met FC head coach and director of football, the former Swansea City, Nottingham Forest and Bristol Rovers player, Christian Edwards, added: “Every single player yesterday was a credit to the University. We have been knocking on the door for this for two seasons and it finally happened”.
The first time ever
Cardiff Met will be the first British university men’s side to play in European competition and Edwards says play-off final success has attracted interest from further afield.
“The exposure for the university and the football club is massive”. Edwards said. “I noticed Elliott Evans’ winning penalty has been viewed over one million times so that in itself is a marketing strategy for the university”, he told the media.
“My emails have been hot over the last couple of days. I’ve had emails from the Czech Republic, the Far East and seen headlines in newspapers in Germany, Spain and France”, he said.