FULL-TIME: St Gallen 1 Swans 0
12th December 2013
The Swans qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League despite suffering a narrow defeat against St Gallen in Switzerland.
On a bitterly cold night at the AFG Arena, the visitors had the better chances in the first half as Roland Lamah twice went close.
However, the hosts were far brighter in the second period and despite Gerhard Tremmel making two fine saves to deny Roberto Rodriguez, the Swiss side grabbed the win when Marco Mathys converted with just over ten minutes to play.
But a draw for Kuban Krasnodar against Valencia meant the Swans finished runners-up in Group A, with the draw for the last 32 to be made in Switzerland on Monday.
The Swans made six changes to the starting XI for their final Europa League Group A fixture against St Gallen at the AGF Arena in Switzerland.
Two of the changes came in defence as Neil Taylor captained the side in the absence of Ashley Williams - who was on the bench - while Jordi Amat filled in for the Wales skipper.
Wayne Routledge offered the support behind club record signing Wilfried Bony, who started up front, while Roland Lamah and Alejandro Pozuelo provided the width on the wings.
On the bench, Neath teenager Oliver Davies made his first appearance in the matchday squad as Michel Vorm sat out.
ST GALLEN: Marcel Herzog, Sebastien Wuthrich, Goran Karanovic (Alhassane Keita, 13), Stephane Besle (capt), Mario Mutsch, Marco Mathys (Marco Franin, 88), Ermir Lenjani, Dejan Janjatovic, Muhamed Demiri, Daniele Russo, Roberto Rodriguez (Kristian Nushi, 59).
SUBS: Daniel Lopar, Stephane Nater, Alhassane Keita, Mario Schonenburger, Ivan Martic.
SWANS: Gerhard Tremmel, Dwight Tiendalli, Jordi Amat, Chico Flores (Jose Canas, 62), Neil Taylor (capt), Jonathan de Guzman, Jonjo Shelvey, Wayne Routledge (Ashley Williams, 65), Alejandro Pozuelo, Roland Lamah, Wilfried Bony (Pablo Hernandez, 77).
SUBS: Oliver Davies, Ben Davies, Nathan Dyer, Michu.
On a foggy night at the AFG Arena, the Swans posed the first threat after nine minutes.
Alejandro Pozuelo won possession in the middle of the pitch and fed Wayne Routledge, and when his pass to Pozuelo fell to the feet of Roland Lamah, the Belgian international fired a powerful left-footed effort that whizzed just past the far post.
St Gallen were forced into a change after just 13 minutes as Goran Karanovic was taken off with an injury and replaced by Alhassane Keita.
The Swans again went close shortly after with the first shot on target as Jonjo Shelvey's low effort was kept out by keeper Marcel Herzog.
Sebastien Wuthrich tested Gerhard Tremmel with a low free-kick which the keeper did well to collect, before Wayne Routledge cut inbetween two defenders in the St Gallen box but he was dispossessed as he was about to pull the trigger.
The chances kept coming, and after Ermir Lenjani drove a rasping effort inches wide of the near post, at the other end, Lamah raced onto Routledge's flick on and headed for goal. But his low, left-footed shot whistled past the post from 20 yards.
A Dwight Tiendalli cross then came close to catching out Herzog as it looped over the keeper and along the face of goal, but no contact could be made by a Swans shirt.
HALF-TIME: St Gallen 0 Swans 0
The Swans started the second half in positive fashion as Wilfried Bony rose highest to Jonathan de Guzman's corner, but the striker's header flashed wide of the near post.
But St Gallen looked dangerous on the break, and they should have made the Swans pay for some sloppy passing in the 50th minute. Rodriguez latched onto a through ball with Chico Flores trailing him, but the left winger was denied superbly by the onrushing Tremmel from 15 yards.
The action continued, and when Routledge forced keeper Herzog into a rushed clearance it dropped to Bony, but his first-time volley dropped straight into the hands of the St Gallen stopper.
St Gallen then had another great opportunity to take the lead as they beat the offside trap with Rodriguez closing in on goal, but again Tremmel came to the rescue with a fantastic save.
The Swans were then forced into a change as Jose Canas came on for Chico, who was suffering with a leg injury.
And, seconds after the switch, St Gallen probed again with Wuthrich curling a dipping free-kick just wide of the top corner from 25 yards.
Laudrup made another change shortly after as Ashley Williams replaced Routledge for the last 25 minutes.
Then came the news from the Mestalla that Valencia had taken the lead against Kuban Krasnodar, who were pushing the Swans for the final qualification spot.
With 70 minutes on the clock, St Gallen thought they had taken the lead after a deep corner was deflected into his own net by Neil Taylor, but Israeli referee Liran Liany spotted a shove on the stand-in skipper.
It raised the atmosphere yet another notch, and when Marco Mathys climbed highest to head towards goal, it took a goal-line clearance from Canas to save the Swans.
The final Swans change came in the 77th minute as Pablo Hernandez replaced Bony.
And after some close calls, the hosts did finally take the lead.
When sub Nushi took a quickly taken free-kick, the ball was squared to Mathys, who volleyed home from close range.
And with Kuban equalising in the last five minutes at Valencia, it set up a tense finish.
Hernandez went close to easing the tension, but his angled drive was just off target from 15 yards while Williams headed over from Pozuelo's corner.
But the Swans had done enough to qualify as they booked themselves in the last 32 of the Europa League.