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The Europa League trophy has been lifted by some of the world's biggest clubs..

Cardiff Metropolitan University FC are vying for Europa League qualification this year

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Imagine the scene: you're walking home from a lecture on a Thursday afternoon and are preparing yourself for a major university football match but there's a problem, the opponents are AC Milan.

Ok, a pretty difficult scenario to envisage, but stick with us on this.

The Europa League presents an opportunity for clubs who wouldn't usually get an opportunity in Europe to show their quality. 

In the case of the Premier League, that has been the case for clubs like Southampton and Burnley recently, while Wigan and Birmingham have also qualified thanks to cup victories.

The biggest fairytale story of the latest instalment came in the form of FC Differdange 03, who became the first club from Luxembourg to qualify for the group-stages.

Cardiff Metropolitan University FC

All brilliant footballing narratives, there's no doubt about it, but a university team has never reached the competition.

That might seem a ridiculous statement to make, yet Cardiff Metropolitan University are trying to change that in their attempt for European qualification this season.

That's right. Their senior men's team actually competes in the Welsh Premier League and currently have an outside chance of making the Europa League preliminary rounds. 

Europa League qualification?

It wouldn't be the first time that they came close, either. A narrow 1-0 defeat to Bangor in 2017 robbed them of the opportunity to compete for a trophy currently held by Atletico Madrid.

However, the squad - predominantly made up of PhD and Masters students - stand a genuine chance of a European adventure this campaign.

The Welsh football season is broken down into two stages and although Cardiff Met finished in seventh place, they can use the play-off system to their advantage. 

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They currently hold first place in the 'Playoff conference' - seventh overall - and if they maintain their position, will lock horns with the team above them in a quarter-final. 

Then, assuming they overcame a proceeding semi-final and final, they would enter the Europa League play-offs in the summer.

It sounds a long-shot but they also have the JD Welsh Cup to try and force their way into the play-offs, facing Bala Town in the final eight. 

The moral of the story is that Cardiff Met have seven league games or three cup matches to ensure they qualify for the play-off system. Win three games on the trot then and they're off to Europe.

So, AC Milan, Chelsea or Arsenal playing against a university team isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.

We wouldn't fancy their chances in the Europa League proper, but it's hard to resist cheering them on and hoping for a footballing fairytale in the process.

Do you think Cardiff Met could pull off a minor miracle? Have your say in the comments section below.

Topics:
Wales
Europa League
Football
Premier League

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