By Paul Jones
Colin Caton voiced his pride in a battling Bala Town display despite a defeat in Belgium that ended their European dream.
The Lakesiders’ manager watched his team go down 2-0 to Standard Liege in their Europa League second qualifying round tie, but it never became the one-sided rout some had predicted against the vastly experienced 10-times Belgian champions.
“It’s the biggest stadium we’ve played in and the biggest team we’ve been able to face and so I’m very proud,” said Caton.
“I saw some good play from us and we carried through our game plan. We would have liked to have brought more doubt into their minds, but we did manage to create several chances.
“But for a semi-pro team up against a club like Standard Liege, we can reflect on a good evening’s work. We were excited about this game beforehand and we can take a lot from it.”
It might even have been a different story had Bala striker Chris Venables not seen his penalty saved when Bala trailed 1-0 before half-time.
Thank you very much 🙌
We thoroughly enjoyed the experience at your ground and would happily come again 😉
Have a great season and we hope we’ll cross paths again 🤝 https://t.co/AG9pbBYV7I
— Bala Town F.C. (@BalaTownFC) September 17, 2020
The opportunity was fleeting and Liege made it 2-0 before the break, with Bala unable to get another toe-hold into the match in the second-half.
Felipe Avenatti opened the scoring for Liege when he coverted his own penalty chance in the 19th minute.
The Uruguayan then had a hand in his side’s second goal as Moroccan midfielder Selim Amallah doubled the hosts’ lead.
“We had only played one league match before coming into this fixture, but we worked hard and we can take away a good memory and a good experience,” added Caton, whose team had beaten Valletta in Malta in their first round tie.
Bala now return to Cymru Premier action with a home match against Cefn Druids on Sunday, while Standard Liege will be at home to Serbian side FK Vojvodina in the third qualifying round.