The New Saints face a serious threat to their 2022/23 European ambitions with a three-goal swing needed to qualify for the UEFA Conference League third qualifying round after the defeat in Iceland.
Two penalties from Víkingur Reykjavík main man Kristall Máni Ingason in each half was enough to give the Icelandic champions a 2-0 victory on a difficult night for Anthony Limbrick’s men.
The Welsh champions were faced with a side in the middle of their domestic season and it showed when the hosts knocked out the Greens and Whites at regular intervals.
Saints almost took an immediate lead when former Shrewsbury Town man Josh Daniels forced Ingvar Jónsson into a quick recovery stoppage after his error.
But from then on it was almost a one-way street as Víkingur Reykjavik moved forward continuously, with every attack coordinated by Iceland international Ingason.
Connor Roberts made a string of saves, including a nice low save to his right from blonde-haired Ingason who bamboozled new recruit Josh Pask and Ryan Astles in the TNS defense.
The pressure came on in the 29th minute when Leo Smith was found guilty of fouling Ari Sigurpálsson shortly before the half-hour as he tried to tackle from the wrong end.
The hugely impressive Ingason, heading for Norwegian giants Rosenborg, calmly came home to give the Icelandic champions a well-deserved lead.
Saints boss Limbrick was forced into a change at the break when he introduced Jordan Williams for the injured Daniel Davies and the Saints showed more teeth in their work.
But they quickly fell behind in the 57th minute after Pask – who spent part of last season on loan at Newport County – was penalized for a foul on Ingason, despite appearing to have little contact with the player.
Ingason, who is selected by his national team, put the ball to Robert’s right, going away from his first penalty to double Reykavik’s lead.
Declan McManus had his best chance 15 minutes later but failed to connect with Ryan Brobbel – as a substitute – standing cross with his header.
Jon Routledge, a surprise omission from the TNS starting lineup, was introduced late to help secure the Saints, but they failed to create the opportunities needed to halve the deficit.
Limbrick had to keep his players away from Slovakian referee Peter Kralović and they face a herculean task at Park Hall on Tuesday.
The match, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m., will be broadcast live on S4C.
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