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Crusaders take the advantage in battle to face Wolves in Europe

Crusaders look favourites to become Wolves’ first opponents in European competition for 39 years after beating B36 Torshavn 2-0 in the first leg.

The Northern Irish outfit will take a two-goal advantage from Seaview to the Faroe Islands, where the Europa League first qualifying round two-legged tie will be completed next Thursday.

Chris Hegarty (33) and Philip Lowry (79) scored for the Crues, after team-mate Jordan Owens’s second-minute penalty was saved by B36goalkeeper Hans Jorgensen.

Hegarty headed home Billy Joe Burns’ cross and Lowry completed the scoring with a cool finish 11 minutes from time. B36 had their moments, notably when Ami Frederiksberg rattled Sean O’Neill’s crossbar with a curling free-kick.

It has served a reminder to Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter and his players that there is work to be done going into next week’s second leg.

It is only half-time in this tie and we have work to do,” he said. “It is only 2-0 and if they score an early goal next week then things change. They will fancy their chances at home, but we know if we played to our ability and stick to the game plan, then we can get the result we need.”

Baxter was pleased with the way the match went. “Our game plan worked a treat,” said the Crusaders boss. “The amount of pressure we put on them, we are disappointed not to score more. And we missed the penalty. But we kept the pressure on them in the second half.

The only disappointment is that it is only a 2-0 lead, and we deserved more. They are very clever on the ball but didn’t penetrate us in behind.

Jordan Owens was immense, winning every single header. We dominated the first half but we just didn’t get the right shot away, or it could have been six or seven.”

Wolves last played in European competition in October 1980 when they went out 3-2 on aggregate to PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup first round.