Welsh university students 90 minutes away from Europa League dream

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After finishing seventh in the Welsh Premier League, Cardiff Metropolitan University are one game away from being in the Europa League draw

With the potential to make history as the first British University side to qualify for Europe, Cardiff Met FC are a team like no other.

Combining coursework and exams with training and matches, the student footballers of Cardiff Metropolitan University are on the brink of something spectacular: qualification for the Europa League. 

The University side finished seventh in the Welsh Premier League, qualifying for a playoff to reach Europe. After defeating Carmarthen Town in the semi-final, Bangor FC await in Saturday's final. 

Though they compete with other professionals, Cardiff Met FC's players are a bit different. 

“We don't play anybody except students," director of football Christian Edwards told Wales Online. "They don't get paid and they have to each pay £150 per year to play for the club to fund their kit and matchdays.

"These are genuine students who apply to come here but we have tried to create a professional atmosphere,” the former Wales defender added.

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Before the side can get too carried away, they will have to overcome Bangor FC, who currently have former Premier League players Daniel Nardiello and Gary Taylor-Fletcher at their disposal.

Bangor finished the season in fourth, a whole 16 points ahead of Cardiff Met. The University side only won one of the four league games against Bangor and will be looking to upset the odds.

Should Cardiff Met FC overcome Bangor, the likes of Rangers, Aberdeen and Maccabi Tel Aviv could await in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

Just as no one could have predicted Leicester’s Premier League-winning season, nobody would have suggested a University team could qualify for Europe.

Come Saturday the young side will be playing for their dreams, hoping they can accomplish something no other side has before.

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