Juli Fernández is being feted as a hero after his goal against Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC saw FC Santa Coloma become the first Andorran club to win a game in Europe.
Defender Juli Fernández "didn't even know how to celebrate" after scoring the goal that made FC Santa Coloma the first Andorran side to win a game in Europe in eleven years of trying.
Fernández's 56th-minute strike gave Santa Coloma an entirely unexpected 1-0 win against Israel's Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC at the Estadi Comunal last night, and left him bewildered. "I didn't even know how to celebrate the goal," he admitted. "Everyone came over to hug me and the joy was overwhelming. There was still a long time to go for the end of the match, but we worked hard to make history."
The defender now joins Marc Bernaus, the scorer of the national team's first competitive winning goal against F.Y.R. Macedonia, in the annals of Andorra's most historic achievers, while former FC Rànger's coach Vicenç Marquès - who took over from Xavi Roura at the domestic cup winners during the summer - has made his own little piece of Andorran history.
Having previously earned a draw with Rànger's in Europe, he is now the most successful club coach the country has seen. "A victory like this one is quite an achievement and even more so as we're the first to have done it," he said. "You always dream of this kind of moment - we cannot forget that we're amateurs and we are playing against professional clubs."
Santa Coloma goalkeeper Ricardo played his part in the success with a number of saves while Chancha laid the ball off for Fernández to score after a Genís García cross. However, while those players were dealing with their new status as national heroes, over in Israel, Maccabi are bracing themselves for the second leg, hoping to avoid further surprises on 2 August.
The club's failure to register a number of new signings in time to play in the game has added to the embarrassment, but owner Lonni Hertzikovic remained defiant, saying: "We shouldn't bury our heads in the ground but hold them high and move on to the next game but there is no excuse for playing like that and whether it is against a team from Andorra or a fourth division side."
Additional reporting by Ofer Ronen-Abels