The first legs in the second qualifying rounds of both the Champions League and the Europa League took place this week.
Airtricity League representatives Shamrock Rovers, first qualifying round victors over FK Brann of Norway, played host to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus in the first leg of the second qualifying round in the Europa League in Tallaght Stadium on Thursday evening. The ‘Hoops’ had a nightmare start conceding a goal after just five minutes but they steadied the ship and Lee Grace equalised ten minutes later. Inspired by midfielder Jack Byrne, they took command of matters and on fifty eight minutes Roberto Lopez put them in front. The ‘Hoops’ will travel to Cyprus next week hopeful of progressing to the third qualifying round.
Other Europa League second qualifying round first leg ties played this evening included:-
17.00 Chikhura Sachkhere (Georgia) 1-1 Aberdeen (Scotland)
18.30 Connah’s Quay (Wales) 0-1 Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
19.45 Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 2-0 Progres Niederkorn (Luxembourg)
19.45 Wolverhampton Wanderers (England) 2-0 Crusaders (N Ireland)
Airtricity League champions Dundalk, who overcame FC Riga of Latvia in the first qualifying round, were in Champions League second qualifying round first leg action on Wednesday evening when they played host to FK Qarabag of Azerbaijan in Oriel Park. Dundalk suffered an early setback with the concession of a goal after just 3 minutes but an equaliser scored by Patrick Hoban after seventy eight minutes gives them some hope for next week’s away leg.
Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic, first qualifying round conquerors of Serbian champions Sarajevo, were also in Champions League second qualifying round first leg action this Wednesday evening when they crushed Nomme Kalju of Estonia 5-0 in Celtic Park and barring a catastrophe should progress to the third qualifying round in which they are set to face the winners of the tie between CFR Cluj (Romania) and Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel) with the Romanian side holding a 1-0 advantage from their home first leg tonight.
Welsh champions The New Saints eliminated KF Feronokeli, the champions of Kosova, in the first qualifying round and this Tuesday evening played host to Danish champions FC Copenhagen in the first leg of the second qualifying round. TNS went down to a 2-0 defeat and face a huge challenge in next week’s second leg in Copenhagen.
Northern Ireland league champions Linfield were eliminated from the Champions League by FK Rosenborg last week and have dropped into the Europa League where they travelled to face HB Torshavn of the Faroe Islands early this Tuesday afternoon and secured a two all draw in the second qualifying round first leg. The second leg is set for Windsor Park at 7.45pm on Thursday the 1st August 2019.