The First Qualifying Round continued on Thursday the 27th August with Bohemian travelling to face Fehervar of Hungary. The ‘Gypsies’ took a 22nd minute lead through Keith Ward but the hosts equalised from the penalty spot on 37 minutes. The hosts dominated much of the contest but the Bohemian defence stood solid and there were no further goals in normal time or in the 30 minutes of extra-time. There was bitter disappointment for Bohemian who despite taking the lead in the penalty shoot-out, when the hosts had their first spot kick saved by Stephen McGuinness, exited the competition on a 4-2 shoot-out scoreline when they missed kicks three and four.
Shamrock Rovers welcomed Llves Tampere of Finland to Tallaght Stadium where they kicked off at 8pm. The ‘Hoops’ suffered an early setback when they fell behind to a 10th minute penalty but they made a quick recovery with Graham Burke equalising four minutes later. While the ‘Hoops’ were dominating proceedings, the score remained one each at half-time. The visitors restored their lead on 62 minutes but again the ‘Hoops’ found an equaliser through Roberto Lopes on 78 minutes. The scores remained unchanged through the remainder of normal time but the 88th minute dismissal of Liam Scales for a second bookable offence put huge pressure on the hosts in extra-time. The score remained unchanged at the end of extra-time and so on to a penalty shoot-out. The hosts must have feared the worst when Jack Byrne saw his opening spot-kick saved but the opposition also failed with their opener and so the drama continued with Shamrock Rovers ultimately prevailing on a 12-11 penalty shoot-out scoreline.
Both Coleraine and Glentoran were also in First Qualifying Round action being away to NK Maribor (Slovenia) and Motherwell (Scotland) respectively. Both matches were scoreless at half-time. A red card dismissal early in the second half was the catalyst for the collapse of the Belfast side who succumbed to a five one defeat. Meanwhile Coleraine took a 62nd minute lead but were pegged back just three minutes later and the match ended in a one all draw after extra-time. There was joy for the Derry side as they prevailed by five goals to four in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.
Scottish side Aberdeen included Jonny Hayes in their starting eleven with Tommie Hoban unused on the substitute bench for their home contest against NSI Runavik (Faroe Islands) in which the ‘Dons’ scored a comfortable six nil victory.
Welsh sides Bala Town and The New Saints (TNS) did their country proud by both progressing to the next round following victories over Valetta (Malta) and MSK Zilina (Slovakia) respectively.
The First Qualifying Round commenced earlier this week with Derry City travelling to face Riteriai of Lithuania on Tuesday afternoon where they exited the competition following a three two defeat after extra-time.
In the Second Qualifying Round of the 2020/21 Champions League, Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic made their earliest exit from the competition in 15 years when they suffered an unexpected two one home defeat by Hungarian champions Ferencvaros on Wednesday evening in Celtic Park.