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Europa Conference League 2023/24 Draw and (R)

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Werner Pichler

unread,
Jun 20, 2023, 9:37:31 AM6/20/23
to
Draw for Europa Conference League 1st Qualifying Round (July 13 and 20)
* = seeded team


FK Sutjeska (MNE)* v SS Cosmos (SMR)
Balzan FC (MLT) v NK Domžale (SLO)*
FC Vaduz (LIE)* v FC Neman Grodno (BLR)
FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM)* v KF Egnatia (ALB)
FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO) v FK Sarajevo (BIH)*

FC Alashkert (ARM)* v FK Arsenal Tivat (MNE)
FK Željezničar (BIH) v FC Dinamo Minsk (BLR)*
SP La Fiorita (SMR)* v FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA)
NK Maribor (SLO)* v Birkirkara FC (MLT)
KF Tirana (ALB) v FC Dinamo Batumi (GEO)*

Dundalk FC (IRL)* v FC Bruno's Magpies (GIB)
Víkingur (FAR) v Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND)*
FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX)* v SC Gjilani (KOS)
Linfield FC (NIR)* v KF Vllaznia (ALB)
KA (ISL) v Connah's Quay Nomads FC (WAL)*

KF Shkëndija (MKD)* v Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL)
FC Haka (FIN) v Crusaders FC (NIR)*
HB (FAR)* v Derry City FC (IRL)
Riga FC (LAT)* v KF Víkingur (ISL)
MŠK Žilina (SLK) v FCI Levadia (EST)*

FC Pyunik (ARM)* v JK Narva Trans (EST)
FK Panevėžys (LTU) v FC Milsami Orhei (MDA)*
FC Tobol (KAZ)* v FC Honka (FIN)
FC DAC 1904 (SLK)* v FC Dila Gori (GEO)
FK Makedonija Ǵorče Petrov (MKD) v FK RFS (LAT)*

KF Dukagjini (KOS) v Europa FC (GIB)*
Penybont FC (WAL) v FC Santa Coloma (AND)*
FK Hegelmann (LTU) v KF Shkupi (MKD)*
F91 Diddeleng (LUX)* v Saint Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL)
B36 (FAR)* v Paide Linnameeskond (EST)
Gżira United FC (MLT)* v Glentoran FC (NIR)


Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Jun 21, 2023, 8:11:26 AM6/21/23
to
Draw for Europa Conference League 2nd Qualifying Round (July 27 and August 3)


Champions Path
_ = unseeded team (one per draw group)
Reminder: in the Champions Path, it's the *losers* of the below mentioned ties that will go into these matches

SP Tre Penne (SMR)/Breiðablik (ISL)_ v NK Olimpija Ljubljana (SLO)/Valmiera FC (LAT)
KÍ (FAR)/Ferencvárosi TC (HUN) v Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL)/Winners of preliminary round (AND/ISL/MNE/SMR)
BK Häcken (SWE)/The New Saints FC (WAL) v ŠK Slovan Bratislava (SLK)/FC Swift Hesper (LUX)

Atlètic Club d'Escaldes (AND)/FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)_ v FK Partizani (ALB)/FC BATE Borisov (BLR)
Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT)/Maccabi Haifa FC (ISR) v FC Astana (KAZ)/FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
FCV Farul Constanța (ROM)/FC Sheriff (MDA) v FC Urartu (ARM)/HŠK Zrinjski Mostar (BIH)

FK Žalgiris (LTU)/FK Struga (MKD) v Preliminary Round Runners-Up (AND/ISL/MNE/SMR)_
KF Ballkani (KOS)/PFC Ludogorets 1945 (BUL) v HJK (FIN)/Larne FC (NIR)

Byes: Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB)/Qarabağ FK (AZE) and RKS Raków Czestochowa (POL)/FC Flora (EST)


Main Path
* = seeded team

HNK Rijeka (CRO)* v KF Dukagjini (KOS)/Europa FC (GIB)
Gżira United FC (MLT)/Glentoran FC (NIR) v F91 Diddeleng (LUX)/Saint Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL)*
Djurgårdens IF (SWE)* v FC Luzern (SUI)
NK Celje (SLO) v Vitória SC (POR)*
FK Sutjeska (MNE)/SS Cosmos (SMR)* v Penybont FC (WAL)/FC Santa Coloma (AND)

Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)* v FK Panevėžys (LTU)/FC Milsami Orhei (MDA)
FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR) v FC DAC 1904 (SLK)/FC Dila Gori (GEO)*
FC CFR 1907 Cluj (ROM)* v Adana Demirspor (TUR)
FC Ordabasy (KAZ) v Legia Warszawa (POL)*
FK Makedonija Ǵorče Petrov (MKD)/FK RFS (LAT)* v Sabah FK (AZE)

Beşiktaş JK (TUR)* v KF Tirana (ALB)/FC Dinamo Batumi (GEO)
FK Željezničar (BIH)/FC Dinamo Minsk (BLR) v Neftçi PFK (AZE)*
APOEL FC (CYP)* v FK Vojvodina (SRB)
FC CSKA 1948 Sofia (BUL) v FC FCSB (ROM)*
FC Alashkert (ARM)/FK Arsenal Tivat (MNE)* v Debreceni VSC (HUN)

KKS Lech Poznań (POL)* v FK Kauno Žalgiris (LTU)
Kalmar FF (SWE) v FC Pyunik (ARM)/JK Narva Trans (EST)*
FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)* v Bohemians Praha 1905 (CZE)
FK Auda (LAT) v FC Spartak Trnava (SLK)*
NK Osijek (CRO)* v Zalaegerszegi TE FC (HUN)

FC Twente (NED)* v Hammarby IF (SWE)
KA (ISL)/Connah's Quay Nomads FC (WAL) v Dundalk FC (IRL)/FC Bruno's Magpies (GIB)*
Club Brugge KV (BEL)* v AGF (DEN)
FC Haka (FIN)/Crusaders FC (NIR) v Rosenborg BK (NOR)*
Hibernian FC (SCO)* v Víkingur (FAR)/Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND)

FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)* v KF Drita (KOS)
B36 (FAR)/Paide Linnameeskond (EST) v KF Shkëndija (MKD)/Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL)*
FC Basel 1893 (SUI)* v FC Tobol (KAZ)/FC Honka (FIN)
FC Differdange 03 (LUX) v NK Maribor (SLO)/Birkirkara FC (MLT)*
FK Austria Wien (AUT)* v FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH)

PFC CSKA-Sofia (BUL)* v ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM)
FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM)/KF Egnatia (ALB) v Aris FC (GRE)*
Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)* v FC Petrocub Hîncești (MDA)
FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino (BLR) v AEK Larnaca FC (CYP)*
FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)/FK Sarajevo (BIH)* v FC Aktobe (KAZ)

FC Midtjylland (DEN)* v FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX)/SC Gjilani (KOS)
HB (FAR)/Derry City FC (IRL) v KuPS (FIN)*
KAA Gent (BEL)* v MŠK Žilina (SLK)/FCI Levadia (EST)
Kecskeméti TE (HUN) v Riga FC (LAT)/KF Víkingur (ISL)*
Linfield FC (NIR)/KF Vllaznia (ALB)* v MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL)

PAOK FC (GRE)* v Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR)
Balzan FC (MLT)/NK Domžale (SLO) v FC Vaduz (LIE)/FC Neman Grodno (BLR)*
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)* v SP La Fiorita (SMR)/FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA)
Qəbələ FK (AZE) v AC Omonoia (CYP)*
FK Hegelmann (LTU)/KF Shkupi (MKD)* v PFC Levski Sofia (BUL)



Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Jul 14, 2023, 1:07:00 AM7/14/23
to
Europa Conference League 1st Qualifying Round, 1st legs
* = seeded team


July 12


F91 Diddeleng (LUX)* v Saint Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL) 2-1 (1-0)
(van Lingen 24', Roemer 61'; Doyle 90'+3)

Two well-taken goals by Dutch-born players gave Düdelingen the seemingly
unassailable lead, but an awful mistake by their defender Vincent Decker who
failed to clear an absolutely harmless cross allowed the Irish to pull one back at
the death.


B36 (FAR)* v Paide Linnameeskond (EST) 0-0 (0-0)

Paide already nil-nilled their way into the third qualification round last
year, so maybe they'll manage to do something similar this season as well.



July 13


FC Tobol (KAZ)* v FC Honka (FIN) 2-1 (0-1)
(Vukadinović 62', 75'; Kaufmann 39')

Brazilian in the North Lucas Kaufmann gave Honka the lead with a nice shot from
distance: https://media.giphy.com/media/8QCgqJ5mziatN4dt1W/giphy.gif
but Serbian winger Miljan Vukadinović (I'm starting to think I'm going to need an
acronym as well for all those footballers from ex-Yugoslavia plying their trade in
the far reaches of UEFA's sphere of influence) first equalised with a precise
effort from the edge of the box and then took advantage of a massive cock-up by
the Finnish defence: https://media.giphy.com/media/hAx1GJsrNq8zDgfWIR/giphy.gif


FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM)* v KF Egnatia (ALB) 1-1 (1-0)
(Alemão 36'; Dwamena 90'+7)

In their European debut, Egnatia from the small central Albanian city of
Rrogozhina (and named after the ancient Roman road between Rome and Constantinople
that once ran through the area) fell behind when Brazilian in the East Guilherme
António de Souza called Alemão headed in a corner kick, but deep in stoppage time
they got the equaliser likewise after a corner kick. Have a look at the ensuing
celebrations and see whether these early European rounds are of no importance to
the teams involved: https://media.giphy.com/media/zgU5OnO02dpyL2XlMb/giphy.gif

Goalscorer Raphael Dwamena has had an interesting career trajectory, five years
ago the Ghanaian looked like quite the promising striker first in Red Bull's youth
setup in Austria and then in Switzerland, but a hereditary heart condition (like
Christian Eriksen he's playing with an implanted defibrillator) derailed his
career, and after he had collapsed on the pitch in an Austrian second league match
two years ago it appeared like his playing days were over for good.

So, on one hand it's really nice to see him successfully relaunch his career in
the Albanian league where he finished as one of the top scorers last season, but
I also sincerely hope that he's been given the green light to play only after
really rigorous medical checks.


Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND)* v Víkingur (FAR) 2-1 (2-0)
(Feher 28', El Haddadi 45'+1; Vatnhamar 59' (pen))

A bit disappointing from my favourite Vikings to fall behind to headers by Inter's
Romanian centre-back Raul Feher and longtime former Segunda B striker Ander El
Haddadi, but at least good old Sølvi Vatnhamar (his younger brother Gunnar has in
the meantime quite literally jumped ship and transferred from Víkingur in Gøta to
Víkingur in Reykjavík) managed to halve the deficit thanks to a handball penalty.

Wins like these are what allow Andorra to be fully in the mix as far as the fight
to get out of the bottom five in the UEFA ranking is concerned (and so have four
instead of just three European entries). In that regard, it really is only San
Marino that's indeed kind of hopeless.


FC Pyunik (ARM)* v JK Narva Trans (EST) 2-0 (0-0)
(Juričić 65', James 88')

Bosnian striker Luka Juričić headed in Hovhannes Harutyunyan's cross, and late on
a mishit cross by Brazilian in the East James Santos left Narva keeper Kraizmer
with egg on his face: https://media.giphy.com/media/HYkUufehGeEOS37oyb/giphy.gif


MŠK Žilina (SLK) v FCI Levadia (EST)* 2-1 (1-0)
(Ďuriš 7', Myslovič 90'+3 (pen); Agyiri 51')

Žilina, who are known for relying fully on their youth setup, got the early lead
thanks to Dávid Ďuriš (as far as I can tell no relation to former Slovak
international striker Michal Ďuriš) and his solo run into the box, but young
players can make egregious mistakes, too - 19-year-old Mário Sauer, minutes after
having come on as a half-time substitute, completely misjudged a cross meeting it
with a super-awkward header which allowed Levadia's Ghanaian former Manchester
City Academy alumnus Ernest Agyiri to latch onto the loose ball and fire in the
equaliser. In stoppage time Cameroonian winger Loic Essomba, another 19-year-old
substitute, broke through alone on goal only to be brought down by Brazilian in
the East Heitor, and Patrik Myslovič, back in Žilina after an ill-fated loan spell
with Aberdeen, got the winner from the spot.


FK Makedonija Ǵorče Petrov (MKD) v FK RFS (LAT)* 0-1 (0-1)
(Ilić 34')

Serbian striker Andrej Ilić volleyed in a cross by the Ivorian Cedric Kouadio for
the only goal. In their ninth attempt (excluding the Intertoto), Makedonija are
still winless in Europe.


FC Bruno's Magpies (GIB) v Dundalk FC (IRL)* 0-0 (0-0)

Following last year's home win over Crusaders yet another very decent result
against Irish opposition for the Magpies from Bruno's Bar & Restaurant.


FC Haka (FIN) v Crusaders FC (NIR)* 2-2 (2-1)
(Rogerson 33' (pen), Fofana 36'; Forsythe 22', Clarke 68';
Red Card: Laine (Hak) 66')

Ha-ha Haka, back in Europe after fifteen years, fell behind early when Crusaders
veteran midfielder Jordan Forsythe got to a loose ball and sent it screaming into
the top corner: https://media.giphy.com/media/MqTPsUcuiDwG3JIZ78/giphy.gif
but New Zealand international Logan Rogerson subsequently equalised from the spot,
and young Ivorian striker Tiemoko Fofana, freshly signed from Azerbaijan, tapped
in a cross by Greek-American winger Stavros Zarokostas. Haka's squad is
surprisingly international. The Finns then made things difficult for themselves -
Janne-Pekka Laine committed two hard fouls in the space of two minutes and saw a
booking for each of them, and just minutes later Ross Clarke, another of
Crusaders' long-time players, scored the equaliser with an expertly struck free-
kick: https://media.giphy.com/media/MGk0DAiEdcgSM0p160/giphy.gif


FK Panevėžys (LTU) v FC Milsami Orhei (MDA)* 2-2 (1-0)
(Čađenović 17' (pen), Smith 48'; Gînsari 51' (pen), 67')

The Lithuanian league leaders took the early lead through Jovan Čađenović's
penalty, but just ten minutes later their Montenegrin midfielder sent another spot
kick against the left post. Nicaraguan international striker Ariagner Smith scored
their second by running onto a long ball and holding off a feeble challenge by
Milsami's Ukrainian centre-back Yaroslav Terekhov:
https://media.giphy.com/media/GsSZRQqCACha4UST4p/giphy.gif
but Milsami's veteran striker Radu Gînsari, with years of experience in the top
leagues of Israel and Russia as well as in the Moldovan NT under his belt, first
got one back from the spot and then headed in Danu Spătaru's cross for the
equaliser.


NK Domžale (SLO)* v Balzan FC (MLT) 1-4 (0-2)
(Kovačević 57' (pen); Andrejić 8', J. Grech 44' (pen), Olawale 53', Zerjal 90'+4;
Red Card: Husmani (Dom) 88')

Whoa. Balzan have survived a round in Europe only once before (against Keşlə from
Azerbaijan in the 2018-19 Europa League qualifiers), so it was more than a bit
surprising that they got the second-biggest win of the night, and away in
Slovenia.
A Serbian opened the scoring for Balzan, Aleksa Andrejić was lying sprawling on
the ground when he managed to tap in the rebound from his own header:
https://media.giphy.com/media/tggR3JujNKDTZZ9TJy/giphy.gif
Maltese international Jake Grech then got the second with a penalty, and he also
provided the corner kick that young Nigerian Peter Olawale headed in for Balzan's
third. Former Hajduk Split, Hoffenheim, and Cincinnati prospect Franko Kovačević
reduced the deficit likewise from the spot, but late on Zeni Husmani saw a quite
harsh red for barging into Balzan's Serbian keeper Golović while trying to
recuperate the ball and speed up the game, and he might well have regretted to
have wished for that as against ten men the Maltese even added a fourth - Nikola
Žerjal, yet another Serbian, tapped in a cross by Balzan's Colombian winger Ángel
Torres.


FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO) v FK Sarajevo (BIH)* 2-2 (1-0)
(Sandokhadze 44', Bugridze 48'; Oliveira 47', Varešanović 52')

Sarajevo had already hit the woodwork twice before the Georgians took the lead
through their centre-back Nika Sandokhadze who headed in a corner kick. The two
sides exchanged goals in quick succession after the break - first Sarajevo's
Brazilian striker Renan Oliveira converted Samir Zeljković's through ball:
https://media.giphy.com/media/bCRTb4K1ly8dpxuOe4/giphy.gif
then Irakli Bugridze surprised Sarajevo's new Croatian keeper Lovre Rogić at his
near post: https://media.giphy.com/media/nbPgVWkH54oTNWxtRL/giphy.gif
and finally Dal Varešanović (his father Mirza once played for Bordeaux, Olympiacos
and briefly Austria Vienna) headed in Almedin Ziljkić's cross:
https://media.giphy.com/media/NdZeS4y6DkBaqk9icA/giphy.gif
Late on, it was Torpedo's turn to hit the crossbar with a deflected cross.


FC Alashkert (ARM)* v FK Arsenal Tivat (MNE) 1-1 (0-1)
(Ustinov 66'; Montenegro 23')

It's quite funny that the Montenegrin debutants from the Bay of Kotor actually
have a veteran Argentine midfielder called Julián Montenegro in their ranks, and
that following a nice team move he also got their maiden European goal:
https://media.giphy.com/media/kWCFMxfTD19pjtDCcL/giphy.gif
Alashkert's Russian rightback Vitali Ustinov equalized with a precise shot from
twenty metres.


Riga FC (LAT)* v KF Víkingur (ISL) 2-0 (1-0)
(Douglas Aurélio 31', Regža 52')

Brazilian in the East Douglas Aurélio volleyed in after a corner kick, and Latvia
international striker Marko Regža tapped in Mikael Soisalo's cross to score the
second for the team that's currently leading the Latvian Virslīga.


KF Dukagjini (KOS) v Europa FC (GIB)* 2-1 (1-1)
(Shabani 30'; Zylfiu 90'+6; Pozo 45'+6; Red Card: Dallku 90'+14)

Also a European debut - Dukagjini hail from the small Kosovo city of Klina
(although like all Kosovar teams they have to play their matches in Pristina), and
they took the lead against the Gibraltarians thanks to Bujar Shabani's nice volley
from distance: https://media.giphy.com/media/NWhW9lHo83gvobPMrn/giphy.gif
Jesús Pozo met a free-kick by fellow Spaniard Alberto Quintana with a great header
to get the equaliser, but deep in stoppage time a deflected shot by Preševo
Albanian Ilaz Zylfiu curved over Europa's Argentinian keeper Marcos Zappacosta:
https://media.giphy.com/media/JbRYXllerCtoZiDkGe/giphy.gif
Ardin Dallku received a super-late second yellow for kicking away the ball.


FK Hegelmann (LTU) v KF Shkupi (MKD)* 0-5 (0-3)
(Cephas 11', 45'+1, 56', 62', Queven 23')

Another European debut, but this one much less successful. Until last year the
Kaunas-based team was actually still officially called FC Hegelmann Litauen
(including the country name in German), as they were founded a couple of years ago
by the Lithuanian branch of a Germany-based logistics company. They got promoted
to the A Lyga in 2021, and last year finished the season in fourth to qualify for
Europe. There can't be many countries in Europe where such a feat is easier to
accomplish.
Shkupi, on their part, last season gave Dinamo Zagreb a hard fight in the
Champions League qualifiers, and the same players that scored back then featured
in this match as well - Jamaican winger Renaldo Cephas scored four times against
the hapless Lithuanian defence, and in between Brazilian in the Balkans Queven (he
must have dropped the 'Putita' moniker at some point, I guess at a certain age it
becomes embarrassing?) got one with a header.

Not a good start to the European season for the Lithuanian teams at all.


Gżira United FC (MLT)* v Glentoran FC (NIR) 2-2 (2-1)
(Wilkson 29', B. Borg 40'; Ogedi-Uzokwe 9', Marshall 48')

After just two minutes Glentoran were awarded a handball penalty, but Junior
Ogedi-Uzokwe slipped during his run-up and skied the spot kick. The English
journeyman forward still got on the scoresheet seven minutes later when he headed
in a cross by Shay McCartan (1 minute in the Championship with Burnley eleven
years ago). Wilkson stabbed in from close range after Glentoran's Irish keeper
Aaron McCarey had parried a header by Wilkson's Brazilian compatriot Lucas Macula,
and Brooklyn (not Björn) Borg finished off a counter attack to give Gżira the
first-half lead. Just after the break the Maltese were caught sleeping by a
quickly executed free-kick, and while Gżira keeper David Cassar managed to keep
out Niall McGinn's shot he was helpless against Rhys Marshall's rebound header.


FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX)* v SC Gjilani (KOS) 2-2 (1-0)
(De Almeida 11', Natami 62'; Ramadani 48' (pen), 66' (pen))

Mayron De Almeida gave the erstwhile Rangers slayers the lead with a sumptuous
shot from distance after a corner, and De Almeida also provided the through ball
that Omar Natami buried for Progrès's second, but twice the Kosovars managed to
equalise from the spot.


FC DAC 1904 (SLK)* v FC Dila Gori (GEO) 2-1 (2-1)
(Trusa 33', Ramadan 36'; Kovtalyuk 43')

For the first time all three Orbán-sponsored flagship teams of the Hungarian
minorities in the neigbouring countries (DAC, TSC and Sepsi) have qualified for
Europe, but even though the team from Dunajská Streda/Dunaszerdahely were clear
favourites they made rather hard work of it against their Georgian opponents.
Matej Trusa headed in a rebound from close range and Syrian international Ammar
Ramadan curled a nice shot past Dila's Ukrainian keeper Kucherenko to give them
a two-goal lead, but another Ukrainian, Mykola Kovtalyuk, pulled one back by
pushing the ball past DAC keeper Petráš from a very tight angle.


Penybont FC (WAL) v FC Santa Coloma (AND)* 1-1 (0-1)
(Venables 66'; Mourelo 36')

The fifth European debutants on this day were the team from Bridgend (halfway
between Cardiff and Swansea - Pen-y-bont is the Welsh translation of that name),
who were kind of able to play this at home, they just had to move into the town's
rugby stadium.
The Andorrans took the lead thanks to Mario Mourelo's cheeky free-kick:
https://media.giphy.com/media/0soH0cJgUmywqNOBif/giphy.gif
and five-time Cymru Premier Golden Boot winner Chris Venables finished off a
route-one attack to score the equaliser:
https://media.giphy.com/media/pY4SWR3W3slj6fJMFq/giphy.gif


FC Vaduz (LIE)* v FC Neman Grodno (BLR) 1-2 (1-1)
(Cavegn 22'; Zubovich 29', Shukurov 82')

Grodno actually only placed ninth in last year's Belarusian Premier League, but
they got into Europe after all because three other Belarusian teams were exclueded
for match fixing - champions Shakhtyor Soligorsk, runners-up Energetik-BGU Minsk
and fifth-placed Isloch Minsk Raion - while two more, FC Minsk and FC Gomel,
didn't apply for a European licence.
So it came as a bit of a surprise that they got the better of last year's surprise
package, despite Vaduz taking an early lead when young striker Fabrizio Cavegn -
I don't know if I've ever come across a Rumantsch-speaking Swiss footballer
before - buried the rebound from a deflected cross:
https://media.giphy.com/media/vQXFhFX7G9ThavrcI2/giphy.gif
Neman immediately equalised due to a dreadful mistake by Vaduz's centre-back
Liridon Berisha: https://media.giphy.com/media/giSaZaQxUkGq8wqtGI/giphy.gif
and Alimardon Shukurov might have become the first Kyrgyz international to ever
score in a European competition when he volleyed in the late winner:
https://media.giphy.com/media/cdkTZRSLPnCz8bCi4Q/giphy.gif


KF Tirana (ALB) v FC Dinamo Batumi (GEO)* 1-1 (0-0)
(Lushkja 90'+3; Flamarion 66')

Brazilian in the East Flamarion put the Georgian league leaders in front by
tapping in Irakli Bidzanishvili's centre, and deep in stoppage time Regi Lushkja
headed in the equaliser from Rimal Haxhiu's cross.


HB (FAR)* v Derry City FC (IRL) 0-0 (0-0)

The best chance of the match fell to the Faroese as Emil Berger's fierce shot
came off the right post.
It's not exactly been a good start to the European season for the League of
Ireland teams - scoreless away draws for Dundalk and Derry in Gibraltar and on the
Faroes, and losses for St. Patrick's in Luxembourg as well as for Shamrock Rovers
at home against Icelandic opposition.


KF Shkëndija (MKD)* v Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL) 1-0 (0-0)
(Shala 47')

The only previous time Haverfordwest had played in Europe was in the 2004-05 UEFA
Cup where they lost both matches against FH from Iceland, but they held their own
quite well against a North Macedonian side that's a bit of a regular at this stage
of the competition. Adenis Shala tapped in the only goal from Ardian Limani's
sharp cross.


KA (ISL) v Connah's Quay Nomads FC (WAL)* 2-0 (0-0)
(H.M. Steingrímsson 60', Hafsteinsson 83')

The team from Akureyri on Iceland's north coast (although they had to play this
match in Reykjavík) also had qualified for Europe just once before, thirty-three
years ago (although during this period their city rivals Þór had made it into
Europe once as well). Back then, after they had won their only ever Icelandic
title, they were eliminated in the first round of the 1990-91 European Cup by CSKA
Sofia (1-0 at home, 0-3 away).
Hallgrímur Mar Steingrímsson, who has been for many years a KA mainstay (more than
320 matches played), along with his rightback brother Hrannar Björn Steingrímsson
(over 230 matches for KA as well), gave the Icelanders the deserved lead with a
great shot from just outside the box, and Daní­el Haf­steins­son tapped in the
second. Fun fact, Daníel's father Hafsteinn Jakobsson had been KA's sole goal
scorer in that 1-0 win over CSKA all those years ago.


FK Sutjeska (MNE)* v SS Cosmos (SMR) 1-0 (0-0)
(Marković 79')

Almost a coefficient point for San Marino, but ten minutes from time Božo Marković
rifled in a loose ball.


FK Željezničar (BIH) v FC Dinamo Minsk (BLR)* 2-2 (0-1)
(Haračić 85', 90'+1; Bakhar 41', Morozov 50';
Red Card: Kolašinac (Žel, on the bench) 90'+1)

Great atmosphere at Željezničar's sold-out Grbavica stadium, but (one is tempted
to say 'as usual') their fans had little to celebrate at first as the Belarusians
scored twice from quick breaks, one finished off by Ivan Bakhar with a curler just
inside the post: https://media.giphy.com/media/wy2D0E7fF1ytmhhuzQ/giphy.gif
and one by Vladislav Morozov with a shot that went straight through Željo keeper
Mulalić: https://media.giphy.com/media/ic1khF82th97bilCpl/giphy.gif
But Željezničar managed to come back with two late goals to get at least the draw,
Dženan Haračić first headed in Sulejman Krpić's cross, and in stoppage time he
somehow bungled the ball across the line after Dinamo's young keeper Lapoukhov
hadn't been able to hold on to a shot by the substitute Amar Drina:
https://media.giphy.com/media/58NkvI7LxrN5WuNjYF/giphy.gif


SP La Fiorita (SMR)* v FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA) 1-1 (1-0)
(Casolla 34'; Căruntu 64')

La Fiorita have just signed 41-year-old former Independiente, Napoli, Udinese and
Atalanta striker Germán Denis - it's not every day that a former Argentine
international ends up playing for a Sammarinese team - and although they have so
far never won a match in Europe (they got draws against Linfield and Birkirkara),
they could dream for a while as Francesco Casolla beat Zimbru keeper Mostovei with
a little luck. La Fiorita even had chances to make it two before the substitute
Marin Căruntu took advantage of a slip in the Sammarinese defence and equalised
with Zimbru's first and only shot on goal. Still, a coefficient point!


Linfield FC (NIR)* v KF Vllaznia (ALB) 3-1 (0-0)
(McKee 57', 68', Scott 76'; Jurić 89'; Red Card: Finlayson (Lin) 88')

Chris McKee buried the rebound after Vllaznia keeper Qarri had scraped a deflected
shot off his goal line, got a second with a volley, then turned provider by
slipping a through ball towards Jack Scott. A perfect evening for the Northern
Irish was slightly marred when right-back Daniel Finlayson saw a second yellow and
immediately afterwards Marko Jurić volleyed in after Bekim Balaj (boy was he a
transfer flop for Sturm Graz a couple of years ago) had headed Geralb Smajli's
free-kick back across goal.


NK Maribor (SLO)* v Birkirkara FC (MLT) 1-1 (0-1)
(Brnić 67' (pen); Mbong 31'; Red Card: Tedesco (Bir, on the bench) 90'+10)

The other match against Maltese opposition didn't go that much better for the
Slovenian team either as Paul Mbong sent in a screamer from 25 metres to give
Birkirkara the lead, and the former group stage regulars Maribor only managed the
equaliser thanks to a controversial penalty. After the final whistle Birkirkara's
Sicilian manager Giovanni Tedesco (no relation to Domenico) was thrown out for an
altercation on the bench.


Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Jul 22, 2023, 12:49:59 AM7/22/23
to
Europa Conference League 1st Qualifying Round, 2nd legs
Teams in CAPITALS (except DAC and HB) through to ECLQ2
* = seeded team


July 18


BALZAN FC (MLT) v NK Domžale (SLO)* 1-3 aet (0-1, 0-3), 5-4 on aggregate
(André Fausto 94'; Nwankwo 44', Pišek 63', Kovačević 73';
Red Card: André Fausto (Bal) 98')

Young Nigerian defender Abraham Nwankwo headed in Danijel Šturm's cross, Jošt
Pišek's free-kick went past everyone on its way into the net:
https://giphy.com/media/iFSwHtu6o1kdCepSty/giphy.gif
and Franko Kovačević ran onto Mario Krstovski's through ball and side-stepped
Balzan's Serbian keeper Golović to completely make up the first-leg deficit:
https://giphy.com/media/eASw79ShaEmseUuKUP/giphy.gif
But out of nowhere the Maltese took the lead again in extra time when Nikola
Žerjal's deflected cross fell right at the feet of André Fausto:
https://giphy.com/media/qLWsmF6DIBOZqXtrwN/giphy.gif and despite the Brazilian in
the Mediterranean receiving a second yellow shortly afterwards (the first had been
for taking his jersey off for the goal celebrations), Balzan held on to the result
until the final whistle.

To be eliminated this way, chasing in vain a single goal against ten Maltese, is
probably the worst possible outcome the Slovenians could have envisioned following
their heavy home defeat.



July 20


Birkirkara FC (MLT) v NK MARIBOR (SLO)* 1-2 (1-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(Yankam 19' (pen); Jakupović 80', Skuka 88')

Malta vs Slovenia Part Deux had a happier end for our southern neighbours, but
Maribor were made to suffer as well as Birkirkara were awarded an early handball
penalty that was despatched by Yannick Yankam. It wasn't until ten minutes from
time that Austria's former big striker hope Arnel Jakupović headed in Ivan Brnić's
cross to level the aggregate score, and another substitute, Metz loanee and
Albanian international Xhuliano Skuka, got the winner following an irresistible
solo run: https://giphy.com/media/WnGkKIGQ5I7iY48KFu/giphy.gif


Europa FC (GIB)* v KF DUKAGJINI (KOS) 2-3 (1-1), 3-5 on aggregate
(Quintana 38' (pen), Vera 87'; Zylfiu 23' (pen), 79', Shala 47';
Red Cards: Pozo (Eur) 29', Shabani (Duk) 29', Heredia (Eur) 88')

Now that's the kind of hard-fought European struggle we're here for (or at least I
am). Goals, penalties, red cards flying!


FC SANTA COLOMA (AND)* v Penybont FC (WAL) 2-0 aet (0-0, 0-0), 3-1 on aggregate
(Garrido 105'+1, Novoa 119'; Red Card: Venables (Pen) 114')

The disaster started for the team from Bridgend when substitute left-back Jonathan
Brown made the ill-fated decision to shepherd a long ball out of play:
https://giphy.com/media/vnLkNUEFUWeSB3jn3j/giphy.gif
Against ten Welsh, FCSC's Venezuelan striker Cristian Novoa volleyed in another
on the break.
Considering that the next opponent will be Sutjeska, who struggled against Cosmos
from San Marino, a big opportunity lost for the Welsh debutants.


JK Narva Trans (EST) v FC PYUNIK (ARM)* 0-3 (0-2), 0-5 on aggregate
(Dashyan 8', Juninho 14', Juričić 66')

Trans really are one of the most hopeless teams in Europe, the only time in now 20
attempts that they didn't lose a match was back in the 2001-02 UEFA Cup when their
opponents Elfsborg fielded a suspended player, and despite being awarded the 3-0
win they managed to lose the return leg 0-5.


FK RFS (LAT)* v FK Makedonija Ǵorče Petrov (MKD) 4-1 (1-0), 5-1 on aggregate
(Kouadio 43', 58', Panić 68', Ilić 86'; Stojkovski 50')

Makedonija also remain winless in their tenth European encounter, but at least
they've had two draws.


Paide Linnameeskond (EST) v B36 (FAR)* 0-2 aet (0-0, 0-0), 0-2 on aggregate
(E. Nielsen 92', Przybylski 95')

After 180 goalless minutes two goals in quick succession decided the tie, and both
came from poorly defended corner kicks.


FC Milsami Orhei (MDA)* v FK PANEVEŻYS (LTU) 0-1 (0-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(Keita 56')

Milsami eliminated Panevėžys last year at the same stage, but this time the shoe
was on the other foot, as Senegalese defender Seydina Keita got the decisive goal
by heading in a free-kick by Frenchman Chafik Tigroudja:
https://giphy.com/media/d5PUKMn4nsSWA3C3vE/giphy.gif


FC Honka (FIN) v FC TOBOL (KAZ)* 0-0 (0-0), 1-2 on aggregate

Not a single shot on goal for the team from Espoo.


FCI Levadia (EST)* v MŠK ŽILINA (SLK) 1-2 (1-2), 2-4 on aggregate
(Agyiri 10'; Rusnák 4', Stojčevski 45'+2)

Estonia together with Gibraltar and San Marino are the only league to have already
lost all their non-champion entries, and Flora lost in the Champions League
qualifiers, too.


FC Dinamo Minsk (BLR)* v FK ŽELJEZNIČAR (BIH) 1-2 (0-0), 3-4 on aggregate
(Sedko 64' (pen); Sachivko 44' (og), Krpić 78')

The last time these two teams had met was in the quarterfinals of the 1984-85 UEFA
Cup. Back then the Bosnians (with Ivica Osim as their coach) went through and
were in turn eliminated by Hungary's Videoton in the semis. Different times.
38 years later in Baku (Dinamo's choice in light of a potential next round match-
up against Neftçi) Željezničar prevailed again, as even though Aleksandr
Sachivko's own goal: https://giphy.com/media/eACsAuVC0n1M7kyys3/giphy.gif
was cancelled out by Pavel Sedko's penalty, awarded for Željo keeper Mulalić's
head slap: https://giphy.com/media/EbUfsbuIcVZIT0FADH/giphy.gif
late on Sulejman Krpić turned in Irfan Jašarević's cut-back cross for the winner:
https://giphy.com/media/4HuxjG6dXX0cVNZmYd/giphy.gif


FC ZIMBRU CHIȘINĂU (MDA) v SP La Fiorita (SMR)* 1-0 (1-0), 2-1 on aggregate
(Dedechko 35')

Aww. Unfortunately La Fiorita's 39-year-old keeper Gianluca Vivan despite more
than 180 Serie C matches under his belt let a shot by Zimbru's Ukrainian
midfielder Denys Dedechko go straight through him:
https://giphy.com/media/pzMv8VurJWZ2LULk1i/giphy.gif


FC Dinamo Batumi (GEO)* v KF TIRANA (ALB) 1-2 (0-1), 2-3 on aggregate
(Kapanadze 90'; Lushkja 28', Deliu 77')

Dinamo Batumi are leading the Georgian Erovnuli Liga at the moment, but that
doesn't make them any better at catching a break in Europe. Regi Lushkja swept in
Ardit Hila's cross for the opener:
https://giphy.com/media/kkWh9Rer2ZT5W5oCrs/giphy.gif
and just after Dynamo Kyiv loanee Heorhiy Tsitaishvili had volleyed against the
left post Ardit Deliu made it two by likewise converting a cross by Fjoart Jonuzi:
https://giphy.com/media/FZYZQd2NslCdN6XTGF/giphy.gif
Tornike Kapanadze's deflected consolation goal came too late.


FC DILA GORI (GEO) v FC DAC 1904 (SLK)* 2-0 (1-0), 3-2 on aggregate
(Gale 33', Alef Santos 78')

But amazingly some Georgian clubs do catch a break! Dila were the better team in
the first half and Barbadian international striker Thierry Gale, who had made his
way to Stalin's home town via Honvéd Budapest, ran onto Tornike Dzotsenidze's
through ball to lob it over DAC keeper Petráš. The Hungarian Slovakians ramped up
the pressure in the second half, but just after a seven-minute break due to
floodlight failure Dila got the aggregate winner thanks to Brazilian in the East
Alef Santos's excellent curler from 25 metres. Late on Dunajská Streda hit the
woodwork twice.

Following Ferencváros the day before, another shock for a Hungarian government-
sponsored club.


FC NEMAN GRODNO (BLR) v FC Vaduz (LIE)* 1-1 (1-0), 3-2 on aggregate
(Savitski 16' (pen); Golliard 86')

The Belarusians decided to play this in Gyirmót's small stadium in the suburbs of
Győr in Western Hungary. Liridon Berisha, who had already given away a goal in the
first leg, caused a handball penalty to give Neman the lead, and despite YB loanee
Théo Golliard getting a late equaliser with a deflected shot an overall rather
disappointing Vaduz side went out already at the first hurdle. Rapid Vienna will
breathe a sigh of relief.

If it weren't for last year's miraculous season, Liechtenstein would be second
from last in the UEFA ranking.


KF Egnatia (ALB) v FC ARARAT-ARMENIA (ARM)* 4-4 aet (1-1, 2-2), 5-5 on aggregate, Ararat-Armenia win 4-2 on penalties
(Medeiros 4', Kasa 36', Dwamena 108', 120'+4; Eza 17', Castanheira 58',
Yenne 110', Bueno 113')

Brazilian in the East Fernando Medeiros, who had started out at Santos, early on
headed in a corner kick, but Ivorian striker Wilfried Eza soon equalised for the
Armenians on the break. Parma youth product Redi Kasa headed Egnatia in front
again, but Ararat-Armenia (it's always necessary to use the full name since
there's another FC Ararat in the Armenian League) once more equalised through
their new Portuguese signing Adriano Castanheira:
https://giphy.com/media/vR8zEy3w3geg6LMneo/giphy.gif

Extra Time was insanity, and exactly the kind of thing that makes these early
rounds so much fun. Raphael Dwamena tapped in from close range following yet
another header, but Nigerian winger Tenton Yenne immediately equalised for the
Armenians by converting the rebound off of Artem Avanesyan's header:
https://giphy.com/media/KGRaPttJCa1ITghXpa/giphy.gif
As crosses were an evident problem for both teams throughout the match, chaos
after a corner kick ended with Colombian centre-back Junior Bueno volleying in
Ararat-Armenia's fourth, but Dwamena once more came to the rescue deep in stoppage
time by reacting quickest to a wayward header by the Armenian defence:
https://giphy.com/media/4CYeWNAlDYJYEezcBs/giphy.gif
Poor Dwamena was then one of only two Egnatia players to convert his penalty in
the shoot-out.


Víkingur (FAR) v INTER CLUB D'ESCALDES (AND)* 1-1 (0-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(Vatnhamar 76' (pen); Andreu 64')

Martin Klein Joensen thought he'd levelled the aggregate score in the eighth
minute of stoppage time, only for the goal to be chalked off for offside.
Disappointing result for the Faroese, but quite incredibly Andorra still have all
three of their clubs alive.


SC Gjilani (KOS) v FC PROGRÈS NIEDERKORN (LUX)* 0-2 (0-0), 2-4 on aggregate
(Mazure 65', Jarmouni 90'+1; Red Card: Sinani (Gji) 14')

For the most part ten Kosovars held their own very well, but I don't think it's a
good idea to be caught this high up if you're a man down:
https://giphy.com/media/AoJg6ZL9cfcy3W8jXL/giphy.gif


Connah's Quay Nomads FC (WAL)* v KA (ISL) 0-2 (0-1), 0-4 on aggregate
(Hafsteinsson 16', Aðalsteinsson 77')

Hafsteinn (one goal in 1990) and his son Daníel (now two goals in 2023) maintain
their quota and together still account for half the goals Akureyri have ever
scored in Europe.


FK Arsenal Tivat (MNE) v FC ALASHKERT (ARM)* 1-6 (0-2), 2-7 on aggregate
(Đorđević 58'; Agdon 40', 45'+1, 48', Racines 74', Grigoryan 90'+2, Kutalia 90'+5)

This was quite a crucial match for Montenegro to get out of the bottom five in
the UEFA ranking, and it didn't go very well, the helplessness best embodied by
Serob Grigoryan's cross in stoppage time:
https://giphy.com/media/JoEh3KQEbCPjgoTs1f/giphy.gif
Hat trick scorer Agdon is yet another Brazilian in the East.


Glentoran FC (NIR) v GŻIRA UNITED FC (MLT)* 1-1 aet (0-0, 1-1), 3-3 on aggregate, Gżira win 14-13 on penalties
(Burns 90'+13; Lucas Macula 67')

In what was emphatically *not* a sign of things to come, Bobby Burns missed an
early penalty for Glentoran (just as his teammate Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe had done in
the first leg). Lucas Macula tapped in after fellow Brazilian in the Mediterranean
Thiaguinho's shot had come off the post to give Gżira the aggregate lead, and
stoppage time was the first sign of madness - Jay Donnelly thought he had saved
Glentoran in the 95th minute but after some discussion between the officials he
was flagged for offside, resulting in a brawl between the two benches and lots
more minutes of stoppage time, in the thirteenth minute of which Burns got the
equaliser after all from a goalmouth scramble.

In the shoot-out all twenty-two players converted their penalties - I don't think
I've ever seen anything like this - and as everyone had to go for a second round
it was Donnelly's penalty number 24 that became an instant classic, one for the
ages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKU_siorq04
(incidentally, I wonder whether Donnelly will enjoy being back in the spotlight
like this: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-46822351 )

In the end, at the 28th attempt it was poor 17-year-old Leon Boyd who saw his
second spot kick saved by Gżira keeper Cassar:
https://giphy.com/media/BwF0M99hT0rruaewRy/giphy.gif

Gżira have now won more than half of their European match-ups, and are flawless
in penalty shoot-outs (won three out of three).


SS Cosmos (SMR) v FK SUTJESKA (MNE)* 1-1 (1-0), 1-2 on aggregate
(Nisi 41'; Krstović 73')

Aww. Cosmos in their second ever European tie (they lost 0-1 and 0-2 against
Rapid Vienna in the 2001-02 UEFA Cup, not that I would have remembered) took the
lead through Lorenzo Nisi's nice volley:
https://giphy.com/media/tCxnVB1yWBew2H6prB/giphy.gif
but Srđan Krstović headed in the decisive goal from a corner kick.


DUNDALK FC (IRL)* v FC Bruno's Magpies (GIB) 3-1 (1-1), 3-1 on aggregate
(Hoban 3', Martin 48', Dos Santos 83' (og); Joe 33')

Dundalk captain Patrick Hoban headed in an early corner kick, but Spanish
midfielder José Manuel Martínez Oliver, simply called Joe and like so many in the
Gibraltarian league a former Segunda B player, got the equaliser for the Magpies
with a brilliant volley from distance:
https://giphy.com/media/vNxogBE7F8lA0KU7bW/giphy.gif
John Martin saved the Irish the blushes by rifling in his own rebound:
https://giphy.com/media/CE94yKJMzG6D4NwsVd/giphy.gif
and late on Brazilian on the Rock André dos Santos tapped Hoban's cross into his
own net.


KF Vllaznia (ALB) v LINFIELD FC (NIR)* 1-0 (0-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(Balaj 54')

Bekim Balaj headed in a cross (the one thing he occasionally managed to do in a
Sturm Graz jersey as well) by Geralb Smajili, but despite not offering anything
in terms of offence Linfield held on to the narrow result to go through.


HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY AFC (WAL) v KF Shkëndija (MKD)* 1-0 aet (0-0, 1-0), 1-1 on aggregate, Haverfordwest win 3-2 on penalties
(Jenkins 89')

So one Welsh team made it through after all, and it's the most unfancied one.
With only their second effort on target Lee Jenkins's deflected shot sent the tie
to extra time, and in the shoot-out two Shkëndija players saw their spot kicks
saved by County's New Zealand keeper Zac Jones and one hit the post:
https://giphy.com/media/36l2yODwbKLYNd55Ua/giphy.gif

Haverfordwest had qualified for Europe by going through two play-off matches for
the last European spot of the 2022-23 Cymru Premier, and they won both of those on
penalties.


DERRY CITY FC (IRL) v HB (FAR)* 1-0 (0-0), 1-0 on aggregate
(Dialo 23')

Former England U-19 international Sadou Diallo headed in a corner kick for the
only goal of the tie.


KF Víkingur (ISL) v RIGA FC (LAT)* 1-0 (0-0), 1-2 on aggregate
(Guðjónsson 83')

Things got interesting after Helgi Guðjónsson had tapped in fellow substitute
Ari Sigurpálsson's cross: https://giphy.com/media/hYLerGF3GN24rwsYc2/giphy.gif
but too little too late.


Saint Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL) v F91 DIDDELENG (LUX)* 2-3 (1-1), 3-5 on aggregate
(Desprez 22' (og), Murphy 60'; van Lingen 9', 67', 90'+5;
Red Card: Sidibe (Did) 88')

An absolutely hilarious own goal by Düdelingen's new French keeper Didier Desprez:
https://giphy.com/media/4lYXElbReIgKTlUxYW/giphy.gif
cancelled out Oege-Sietse van Lingen's opener, and things were all square for a
moment after Adam Murphy had surprised Desprez at his near post:
https://giphy.com/media/5O9KbXiWApCSUQrZwQ/giphy.gif
but a badly lost ball led to van Lingen waltzing in alone on goal:
https://giphy.com/media/rMcpkYX3BU69J0Ge9p/giphy.gif
and despite being reduced to ten after Sidibe had received a second yellow
Düdelingen's Dutch midfielder completed his hat trick with an easy solo run past
a static Irish defence: https://giphy.com/media/6IZMcbmHYv84ScacgK/giphy.gif


FK Sarajevo (BIH)* v FC TORPEDO KUTAISI (GEO) 1-1 (1-0), 3-3 on aggregate, Torpedo win 4-2 on penalties
(Ziljkić 12'; Gigauri 90'+1)

Well, if there are any teams out there that catch even fewer breaks in Europe than
those from Georgia it's the Bosnian ones. Ahmedin Ziljkić slid in to turn Francis
Kyeremeh's cross over the line:
https://giphy.com/media/j08rsDqYpzRnaX8Tqf/giphy.gif
and 20,000 in Sarajevo's Olympic Stadium could celebrate until the first minute
of stoppage time when Merab Gigauri headed in Giorgi Arabidze's free-kick:
https://giphy.com/media/Nw3ZMbLqfSU1EXkw9I/giphy.gif
In the shoot-out, Torpedo's Serbian keeper Kljajić saved against Ivan Ikić and
Amar Beganović.


CRUSADERS FC (NIR)* v FC Haka (FIN) 1-0 (0-0), 3-2 on aggregate
(Heatley 73')

Ha-ha Haka! https://giphy.com/media/vNhnw06jsguD9CyFPT/giphy.gif

Considering they're a summer league with the season in full swing during these
qualifiers you'd really expect the Finnish league to be a bit better. But then
they also suffer from the summer league problem that last year's best teams
needn't necessarily be this year's best teams. Haka currently sit second from
last in the Veikkausliiga.


KF SHKUPI (MKD)* v FK Hegelmann (LTU) 0-0 (0-0), 5-0 on aggregate

Why overexert yourself, it's a long season.




Draw for Europa Conference League 2nd Qualifying Round (July 27 and August 3)


Champions Path
_ = unseeded team (one per draw group)

SP Tre Penne (SMR)_ v Valmiera FC (LAT)
Ferencvárosi TC (HUN) v Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL)
The New Saints FC (WAL) v FC Swift Hesper (LUX)

Atlètic Club d'Escaldes (AND)_ v FK Partizani (ALB)
Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT) v FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
FCV Farul Constanța (ROM) v FC Urartu (ARM)

FK Struga (MKD) v FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)_
KF Ballkani (KOS) v Larne FC (NIR)

Byes: Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB) and FC Flora (EST)


Main Path
* = seeded team

HNK Rijeka (CRO)* v KF Dukagjini (KOS)
Gżira United FC (MLT) v F91 Diddeleng (LUX)*
Djurgårdens IF (SWE)* v FC Luzern (SUI)
NK Celje (SLO) v Vitória SC (POR)*
FK Sutjeska (MNE)* v FC Santa Coloma (AND)

Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)* v FK Panevėžys (LTU)
FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR) v FC Dila Gori (GEO)*
FC CFR 1907 Cluj (ROM)* v Adana Demirspor (TUR)
FC Ordabasy (KAZ) v Legia Warszawa (POL)*
FK RFS (LAT)* v Sabah FK (AZE)

Beşiktaş JK (TUR)* v KF Tirana (ALB)
FK Željezničar (BIH) v Neftçi PFK (AZE)*
APOEL FC (CYP)* v FK Vojvodina (SRB)
FC CSKA 1948 Sofia (BUL) v FC FCSB (ROM)*
FC Alashkert (ARM)* v Debreceni VSC (HUN)

KKS Lech Poznań (POL)* v FK Kauno Žalgiris (LTU)
Kalmar FF (SWE) v FC Pyunik (ARM)*
FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)* v Bohemians Praha 1905 (CZE)
FK Auda (LAT) v FC Spartak Trnava (SLK)*
NK Osijek (CRO)* v Zalaegerszegi TE FC (HUN)

FC Twente (NED)* v Hammarby IF (SWE)
KA (ISL) v Dundalk FC (IRL)*
Club Brugge KV (BEL)* v AGF (DEN)
Crusaders FC (NIR) v Rosenborg BK (NOR)*
Hibernian FC (SCO)* v Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND)

FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)* v KF Drita (KOS)
B36 (FAR) v Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL)*
FC Basel 1893 (SUI)* v FC Tobol (KAZ)
FC Differdange 03 (LUX) v NK Maribor (SLO)*
FK Austria Wien (AUT)* v FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH)

PFC CSKA-Sofia (BUL)* v ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM)
FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM) v Aris FC (GRE)*
Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)* v FC Petrocub Hîncești (MDA)
FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino (BLR) v AEK Larnaca FC (CYP)*
FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)* v FC Aktobe (KAZ)

FC Midtjylland (DEN)* v FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX)
Derry City FC (IRL) v KuPS (FIN)*
KAA Gent (BEL)* v MŠK Žilina (SLK)
Kecskeméti TE (HUN) v Riga FC (LAT)*
Linfield FC (NIR)* v MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL)

PAOK FC (GRE)* v Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR)
Balzan FC (MLT) v FC Neman Grodno (BLR)*
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)* v FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA)
Qəbələ FK (AZE) v AC Omonoia (CYP)*

Futbolmetrix

unread,
Jul 22, 2023, 8:07:06 AM7/22/23
to
On Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 12:49:59 AM UTC-4, Werner Pichler wrote:
>

Fantastic post as usual.

> Glentoran FC (NIR) v GŻIRA UNITED FC (MLT)* 1-1 aet (0-0, 1-1), 3-3 on aggregate, Gżira win 14-13 on penalties
> (Burns 90'+13; Lucas Macula 67')

This was some match!

> it was Donnelly's penalty number 24 that became an instant classic, one for the
> ages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKU_siorq04

LOL. Don't these guys watch youtube?

https://youtu.be/lMQ-lwTi7WU

(I have to say, the original was better)


>
> CRUSADERS FC (NIR)* v FC Haka (FIN) 1-0 (0-0), 3-2 on aggregate
> (Heatley 73')
>
> Ha-ha Haka! https://giphy.com/media/vNhnw06jsguD9CyFPT/giphy.gif

Ha-ha- Haka!

Werner Pichler

unread,
Jul 24, 2023, 4:02:19 AM7/24/23
to
On Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 2:07:06 PM UTC+2, Futbolmetrix wrote:
> On Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 12:49:59 AM UTC-4, Werner Pichler wrote:
> >
>
> Fantastic post as usual.

Thanks.

> > Glentoran FC (NIR) v GŻIRA UNITED FC (MLT)* 1-1 aet (0-0, 1-1), 3-3 on aggregate, Gżira win 14-13 on penalties
> > (Burns 90'+13; Lucas Macula 67')
>
> This was some match!
>
> > it was Donnelly's penalty number 24 that became an instant classic, one for the
> > ages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKU_siorq04
>
> LOL. Don't these guys watch youtube?
>
> https://youtu.be/lMQ-lwTi7WU
>
> (I have to say, the original was better)

I didn't know this one!

I had thought this was the original:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H6OpJPiW84


Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Jul 24, 2023, 9:11:56 AM7/24/23
to
Draw for Europa Conference League 3rd Qualifying Round (August 10 and 17)
Winners go to ECLPO


Champions Path
(no seeding)

Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT)/FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Ferencvárosi TC (HUN)/Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL)
FCV Farul Constanța (ROM)/FC Urartu (ARM) v FC Flora (EST)
SP Tre Penne (SMR)/Valmiera FC (LAT) v Atlètic Club d'Escaldes (AND)/FK Partizani (ALB)

KF Ballkani (KOS)/Larne FC (NIR) v Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB)
FK Struga (MKD)/FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE) v The New Saints FC (WAL)/FC Swift Hesper (LUX)



Main Path
* = seeded team


FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino (BLR)/AEK Larnaca FC (CYP) v Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)/FC Petrocub Hîncești (MDA)*
FK RFS (LAT)/Sabah FK (AZE) v FK Partizan (SRB)*
PFC CSKA-Sofia (BUL)/ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM)* v FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)/FC Aktobe (KAZ)
SK Rapid Wien (AUT)* v FC Alashkert (ARM)/Debreceni VSC (HUN)

HNK Hajduk Split (CRO) v PAOK FC (GRE)/Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR)*
FK Sutjeska (MNE)/FC Santa Coloma (AND) v AZ (NED)*
NK Celje (SLO)/Vitória SC (POR)* v Balzan FC (MLT)/FC Neman Grodno (BLR)
Beşiktaş JK (TUR)/KF Tirana (ALB)* v FK Željezničar (BIH)/Neftçi PFK (AZE)

Qəbələ FK (AZE)/AC Omonoia (CYP) v FC Midtjylland (DEN)/FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX)*
FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM)/Aris FC (GRE) v FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)*
FC Ordabasy (KAZ)/Legia Warszawa (POL)* v FK Austria Wien (AUT)/FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH)
Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)/FK Panevėžys (LTU)* v KF Shkupi (MKD)/PFC Levski Sofia (BUL)

Hibernian FC (SCO)/Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND) v Djurgårdens IF (SWE)/FC Luzern (SUI)*
FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)/KF Drita (KOS)* v Gżira United FC (MLT)/F91 Diddeleng (LUX)
FC Arouca (POR)* v SK Brann (NOR)
KAA Gent (BEL)/MŠK Žilina (SLK)* v Linfield FC (NIR)/MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL)
FC CFR 1907 Cluj (ROM)/Adana Demirspor (TUR)* v NK Osijek (CRO)/Zalaegerszegi TE FC (HUN)

B36 (FAR)/Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL) v HNK Rijeka (CRO)/KF Dukagjini (KOS)*
FC Twente (NED)/Hammarby IF (SWE)* v Kecskeméti TE (HUN)/Riga FC (LAT)
Crusaders FC (NIR)/Rosenborg BK (NOR)* v Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO)
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)/FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA)* v FC Differdange 03 (LUX)/NK Maribor (SLO)
Club Brugge KV (BEL)/AGF (DEN)* v KA (ISL)/Dundalk FC (IRL)

FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR)/FC Dila Gori (GEO) v APOEL FC (CYP)/FK Vojvodina (SRB)*
KKS Lech Poznań (POL)/FK Kauno Žalgiris (LTU)* v FK Auda (LAT)/FC Spartak Trnava (SLK)
FC CSKA 1948 Sofia (BUL)/FC FCSB (ROM)* v FC Nordsjælland (DEN)
FC Basel 1893 (SUI)/FC Tobol (KAZ)* v Derry City FC (IRL)/KuPS (FIN)
FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)/Bohemians Praha 1905 (CZE)* v Kalmar FF (SWE)/FC Pyunik (ARM)



Ciao,
Werner

Futbolmetrix

unread,
Jul 28, 2023, 5:31:37 PM7/28/23
to
On Monday, July 24, 2023 at 9:11:56 AM UTC-4, Werner Pichler wrote:
> Draw for Europa Conference League 3rd Qualifying Round (August 10 and 17)

Sadly, no Juventus in the Conference League. This should help our domestic campaign, but I would have liked to compete in it (and maybe become the first club to have won all four major UEFA competitions)


Blueshirt

unread,
Jul 29, 2023, 5:47:09 AM7/29/23
to
Futbolmetrix wrote:

> On Monday, July 24, 2023 at 9:11:56 AM UTC-4, Werner Pichler wrote:
> > Draw for Europa Conference League 3rd Qualifying Round (August 10 and
> > 17)
>
> Sadly, no Juventus in the Conference League.

I bet they are crying uncontrollably at having to miss out on such an
important tournament... ;-)

Werner Pichler

unread,
Jul 29, 2023, 9:04:58 PM7/29/23
to
Europa Conference League 2nd Qualifying Round, 1st legs
Winners go to ECLQ3


July 25


Champions Path
_ = unseeded team
Byes: Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB) and FC Flora (EST)


Atlètic Club d'Escaldes (AND)_ v FK Partizani (ALB) 0-1 (0-0)
(Mba 53')

Atlètic's young Spanish keeper Saúl Gracia gifted Partizani's Nigerian forward
Christian Mba a goal: https://giphy.com/media/BzejBjupe4zjx5Am1k/giphy.gif
and in all likelihood so effectively killed off all Andorran hopes for a first
ever group phase.


The New Saints FC (WAL) v FC Swift Hesper (LUX) 1-1 (0-1)
(Holden 74'; Martins 14')

After a free-kick Portuguese left-back Simão Martins tapped in Paul Ayongo's cross
(the Ghanaian likewise has a past in Liga Portugal 2):
https://giphy.com/media/K7MiIAZdV3aqFlS8Td/giphy.gif
The Luxembourgers were clearly the better team, but TNS keeper Connor Roberts
saved Dominik Stolz's penalty, and Swift's French goalie Geordan Dupire probably
could have done better to keep out Rory Holden's hard but central shot:
https://giphy.com/media/4qlgA7LvcSRvlIWKxs/giphy.gif


Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT) v FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 2-1 (0-0)
(Mbong 81', 90'+8; Marušić 60')

Following a free-kick Serbian midfielder Zoran Marušić rifled in a loose ball from
outside the box: https://giphy.com/media/R1iNuwAqZm6s6CHsIq/giphy.gif
but two late goals turned the match around - Joseph Mbong first headed in the
rebound after Dinamo keeper Loria had parried a free-kick by Ognjen Bjeličić:
https://giphy.com/media/0wcg6jRPlhFVMXikCQ/giphy.gif
and deep deep in stoppage time Mbong also volleyed in Ryan Camenzuli's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/ihFXiQt6nqe8QJUcbV/giphy.gif

Something something can't catch a break.


SP Tre Penne (SMR)_ v Valmiera FC (LAT) 0-3 (0-1)
(Mena 33', 54', Ndoye 47')

Two fine strikes by Colombian forward Camilo Mena and a header from a corner kick
by his Senegalese partner up front Alioune Ndoye destroyed all Sammarinese hopes
of an upset.


KF Ballkani (KOS) v Larne FC (NIR) 3-0 (2-0)
(Rrahmani 26' (pen), Kryeziu 33', Gripshi 67')

Albion Rrahmani converted a penalty awarded for Shaun Want (who had already scored
the decisive own goal in the CL qualifiers against HJK) going through the back of
Nazmi Gripshi, and soon after Almir Kryeziu ran onto Gripshi's through ball to
score Ballkani's second: https://giphy.com/media/xdpr7Jv40tlFBJWSKu/giphy.gif
Man of the match Gripshi got the third after the Northern Irish defence had lost
the ball to Rrahmani on the right wing.

Disappointing result for Larne, after having pushed the Finnish champions to the
brink of elimination in the previous round.



July 26


Champions Path
_ = unseeded team


FK Struga (MKD) v FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)_ 1-0 (1-0)
(Ibraimi 30')

The Montenegrin defence not for the first time lost a ball in a dangerous area in
front of their defence, allowing Marjan Radeski to slip a through ball to Besart
Ibraimi who had no problems beating Budućnost keeper Pavličić for the sole goal:
https://giphy.com/media/GEWHT69wsl5mwyROmH/giphy.gif



Main Path
* = seeded team


FK RFS (LAT)* v Sabah FK (AZE) 0-2 (0-1)
(Letić 22', Volkovi 56')

Successful European debut for Sabah ('tomorrow' in Azerbaijani), who were founded
in 2017 by the owner of an Azeri construction company, got promoted to the top
division the year after, and finished last season as runners-up, not far behind
Qarabağ. Sabah's Bosnian left-back Bojan Letić swept in a loose ball in the box
and Georgian striker Davit Volkovi nodded in from short range after RFS keeper
Šteinbors had parried a header by German journeyman Joy-Lance Mickels.


FC Midtjylland (DEN)* v FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX) 2-0 (1-0)
(Dalsgaard 38', Kaba 59')

No surprises here, and that Progrès keeper Latik received a booking for time-
wasting after just twenty minutes should already tell you everything about this
match, but two goals from headers cracked the Luxembourgish defence.


FC CSKA 1948 Sofia (BUL) v FC FCSB (ROM)* 0-1 (0-1)
(Coman 28')

So there are two CSKA Sofia's in the competition https://i.imgflip.com/7tk6bw.jpg
but by UEFA law it's this one that's the new incarnation, and from what I gather
they've got a point. It's somewhat ironic that their European debut came against
a Steaua team that's no longer allowed to be called Steaua.
Florinel Coman got the only goal by volleying into the empty net after CSKA 1948
keeper Naumov had parried a shot by FCSB captain Darius Olaru:
https://giphy.com/media/x9NxYFF3RAZFEs5K2j/giphy.gif


FC Neman Grodno (BLR)* v Balzan FC (MLT) 2-0 (0-0)
(Savitski 54', Karpovich 85')

While BATE lost heavily on Cyprus in the CL qualifiers, unfancied Neman (who are
actually leading the Belarusian Vysheyshaya League at the moment), once again
playing in Gyirmót in the suburbs of Győr, got a valuable win against the Maltese
surprise team. Pavel Savitski rifled in a loose ball and late on Sergei Karpovich
punished Balzan on the break.


Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)* v FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA) 5-0 (2-0)
(Kadıoğlu 11', Kent 14', Džeko 61', Szymański 63', King 88')

Unsurprisingly, Fener had little problem with a Zimbru side that had previously
struggled against Sammarinese opposition.
Ferdi Kadıoğlu sent a delightful looping shot into the far corner to start the
rout: https://giphy.com/media/VXmsTXVjBr6pE3h1hD/giphy.gif
Within a month and a half Edin Džeko had gone from starting in the Champions
League final to playing in a Europa Conference qualifier against Moldovans, but
Fenerbahçe's new captain did well to tee the ball up for another new arrival,
former Rangers winger Ryan Kent, to score the second:
https://giphy.com/media/WVJPPFvMUfH0K2Cx3k/giphy.gif
Džeko then tapped in Mert Hakan Yandaş's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/hmSaiWfdk1PQncDYVc/giphy.gif
and Polish midfielder Sebastian Szymański, also new in Fener's squad, ran onto
Džeko's through ball to score the fourth:
https://giphy.com/media/6FwFYtWsbGRy8G5azN/giphy.gif
Substitute Norwegian forward Joshua King added a late fifth with a deflected shot.



July 27
The matchday with the second-highest number of European games. Took a while to
wade through all this. The matchday with the most games will be next Thursday.



Champions Path


Ferencvárosi TC (HUN) v Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL) 4-0 (2-0)
(Sigér 16', Ramírez 32', Traoré 47', B. Varga 74')

As Stani Cherchesov was sacked following the loss against Klaksvík, Ferencváros
were led by interim manager Csaba Máté, and they showed a much better performance
against the Irish champions. Rovers keeper Alan Mannus made a complete mess out of
Dávid Sigér's hooked volley: https://giphy.com/media/0V3Gw2zI9t5eEXHxar/giphy.gif
former Ecuadorian international Cristian Ramírez, freshly back in Budapest after
a six-year stint in Russia, rifled in a shot from the edge of the area to make it
two; Adama Traoré headed in a Ramírez cross for the third, and Barnabás Varga
tapped into the empty net after Mannus had saved against Traoré on the break:
https://giphy.com/media/YmHk02guXGrBhu6Abv/giphy.gif


FCV Farul Constanța (ROM) v FC Urartu (ARM) 3-2 (2-2)
(Băluţă 27', Mazilu 45'+4, Larie 90'+5; Maksimenko 23', Zotko 38')

Artem Maksimenko scored the opener for the Armenians on the break, but straight
afterwards Urartu keeper Melikhov allowed Tudor Băluță's shot to go straight
through him: https://giphy.com/media/QDqN2GE1jfYDKxYixU/giphy.gif
Urartu might be one of few teams in the competition to have both Russian (like
Maksimenko and Melikhov) and Ukrainian players on the team, and Ivan Zotko, one
of the latter, gave the Armenians the lead again with a fierce free-kick that
likewise only stung the palms of Farul keeper Aioani on its way in:
https://giphy.com/media/erw7It31yj4B53aI2J/giphy.gif
17-year-old Gheorge Hagi Academy player Adrian Mazilu equalised again, with a
lovely curler: https://giphy.com/media/ZnjPNObrehmg27PjTr/giphy.gif
and at the very end of a less frantic second half Farul captain Ionuț Larie,
more than twice Mazilu's age, even got the winner with a drive into the bottom
corner of the net: https://giphy.com/media/2GyCMYhzvxAy7VfKfn/giphy.gif

Considering Farul's weakness away from home, this one is far from decided.



Main Path
* = seeded team


FC Ordabasy (KAZ) v Legia Warszawa (POL)* 2-2 (1-0)
(Sadovsky 13', Mbodj 48'; Pekhart 63', Kramer 86')

In a very open and entertaining match Vsevolod Sadovsky put the Kazakh league
leaders in front after just 12 minutes as Legia keeper Tobiasz was one step short
to keep out the Belarusian forward's lob:
https://giphy.com/media/GSeuJqsjtepU6ET4MT/giphy.gif
Ordabasy's new Senegalese centre-back Mamadou Mbodj, who's regularly popped up in
these reports in the last couple of years playing for the likes of Žalgiris or
Neftçi, headed in a corner kick to make it two, but Czech veteran Tomáš Pekhart
pulled one back by tapping in a cross from freshly signed Spanish winger Marc
Gual: https://giphy.com/media/Y72O9zUwZiuvq9KTZs/giphy.gif
Late on Blaž Kramer likewise tapped in Paweł Wszołek's centre:
https://giphy.com/media/pY5bfjYvGyuypqqh54/giphy.gif
The Slovenian forward might have been offside on that occasion, but unlike in the
Champions League qualifiers, there's no VAR here (it will only be used in the
play-offs). Right afterwards the Kazakhs also saw a rather robust penalty call
denied, which was sufficient for enraged Ordabasy fans to throw bottles and force
the game to be interrupted for a couple of minutes. In the 99th minute Legia even
missed a sitter to get the away win.


FC Alashkert (ARM)* v Debreceni VSC (HUN) 0-1 (0-0)
(Lončar 50')

The Armenians forgot about Stefan Lončar at the far post and the Montenegrin
midfielder volleyed in Dorian Babunski's cross for the sole goal:
https://giphy.com/media/7nsCCIqgkk3uSYCiRl/giphy.gif


Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND) v Hibernian FC (SCO)* 2-1 (1-0)
(Gallego 15', Assoubre 71'; Newell 90'+1)

That's Inter Escaldes BTW, not Inter Milan. At least Joseph Newell drilled in a
last-minute free-kick.

I shouldn't be one to talk, considering Vaduz against Rapid Vienna last year, but
outside of Rangers and Celtic Scottish club football in Europe really is pretty
tragic (and even those two quite famously lost in Luxembourg and Gibraltar,
respectively). Hibs away fans weren't exactly thrilled:
https://twitter.com/fezstewart/status/1684618028137193472


FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM) v Aris FC (GRE)* 1-1 (1-0)
(Eza 11'; Palma 20')

The usual subpar July start for a Greek entry as Ivorian forward Wilfried Eza
tapped in Artur Serobyan's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/tK4ikGRu1BYaYcGnhc/giphy.gif
and Aris only managed to get the equaliser thanks to Honduran international Luis
Palma who also tapped in a centre. In stoppage time of the first half the
Armenians hit the crossbar, too.


FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)* v Bohemians Praha 1905 (CZE) 3-0 (1-0)
(Grønbæk 44', Pellegrino 50', Espejord 90'+2)

The Norwegians were by and large the dominant team from the start, but Bohemians,
returning to Europe after 36 years, also had one big chance in the first half when
Jan Matoušek missed one-on-one with Bodø keeper Khaykin. Former AGF midfielder
Albert Grønbæk toe-poked in the opening goal just before the break:
https://giphy.com/media/K1WfIY77M3mLE830d7/giphy.gif
and Amahl Pellegrino's shot was then deflected in for the second:
https://giphy.com/media/5r9kG3K584GcFfMgMg/giphy.gif
Bohemians could have made the tie much more interesting had they pulled one back
when Martin Hála's effort instead came off the crossbar, and in stoppage time
Bodø/Glimt put the overall result all but out of reach when they caught the
Czechs once more on the break and Runar Espejord had little problems side-stepping
Bohemians keeper Reichl: https://giphy.com/media/zQLFEYLJ3Se0fcmzIE/giphy.gif


Qəbələ FK (AZE) v AC Omonoia (CYP)* 2-3 (1-1)
(Allach 4', 62'; Bezus 45'+1, 50', 82' (pen))

Belgian-Moroccan midfielder Ayyoub Allach got a brace, but Ukrainian set-piece
specialist Roman Bezus, Europa League finalist 2015 with Dnipro, answered with a
hat trick, two goals coming from direct free-kicks:
https://giphy.com/media/uXmrIo2Z7UYNVTw6F7/giphy.gif
https://giphy.com/media/PDw8d43keaa4r8CXmU/giphy.gif
and one from the spot.


Gżira United FC (MLT) v F91 Diddeleng (LUX)* 2-0 (0-0)
(Lucas Macula 54', Scerri 79'; Red Card: Roemer (Did) 60')

Gżira continue to expand on their excellent European record. Brazilian in the
Mediterranean Lucas Macula stole the ball off the Luxembourg defence and wrong-
footed Düdelingen keeper Desprez for the opener, and after Yahcuroo Roemer had
been sent off with a second yellow Zachary Scerri quite brilliantly volleyed in
Thiaguinho's cross to make it two:
https://giphy.com/media/kgqe2GXdiEPHvndlhm/giphy.gif


Djurgårdens IF (SWE)* v FC Luzern (SUI) 1-2 (1-1)
(Löfgren 5'; Ademi 29', Kadák 82')

So far Luzern have consistently been Switzerland's worst European entry, with only
one tie won out of nine attempts this century, but somewhat surprisingly they came
home from Stockholm with a valuable result, even though they had fallen behind
early when following a free-kick Jesper Löfgren poked in from short range:
https://giphy.com/media/CwGixo6gm0fPMRy9pr/giphy.gif
They soon got the equaliser though through Kemal Ademi, back in Switzerland after
stints in Turkey, Russia, and the German 2. Bundesliga, who headed in Martin
Frýdek's cross: https://giphy.com/media/IWqIi8Fn8yYdRzMxy4/giphy.gif
and Luzern even got the winner thanks to Slovakian substitute Jakub Kadák
finishing off a nice passing move:
https://giphy.com/media/7lkVNG11VPrWwqR0GY/giphy.gif


APOEL FC (CYP)* v FK Vojvodina (SRB) 2-1 (1-0)
(Kvilitaia 32', Dvali 65'; Zukić 56')

Georgian striker Giorgi Kvilitaia, formerly of Gent and Rapid Vienna, tapped in
Mateo Sušić's cross for the opener:
https://giphy.com/media/gYFw6U7ZxN57yLWVNt/giphy.gif
The Serbians equalised pretty much out of nowhere when the Cypriot defence
couldn't clear after a corner kick and on the follow-up Dejan Zukić headed in
Vojvodina captain Nikola Čumić's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/dqaYXegHXc16wtd46u/giphy.gif
but APOEL still got the win thanks to another Georgian, former Ferencváros
centre-back Lasha Dvali likewise volleyed in after a corner kick:
https://giphy.com/media/UhWHAY3j1KhjjFgr3H/giphy.gif


Kalmar FF (SWE) v FC Pyunik (ARM)* 1-2 (1-0)
(Trenskow 44'; Juričić 55', Bravo 81')

Kalmar's return to Europe after ten years wasn't crowned by success even though
they took the lead when Danish-Montenegrin striker Mileta Rajović found his
Danish compatriot Jacob Trenskow who nutmegged Pyunik's Brazilian centre-back
Juninho for the goal: https://giphy.com/media/Xyu39zI3TWWPrSUxRj/giphy.gif
A stupidly lost ball by Nahom Netabay led to former Red Bull prospect Yusuf
Otubanjo centring for Bosnian striker Luka Juričić to sweep in the equaliser:
https://giphy.com/media/qRb3iMmLjUWle6Wzkq/giphy.gif
and Pyunik's Colombian right-back Juan Bravo bungled the ball over the line after
a slight push against Ricardo Friedrich had led to Kalmar's Brazilian keeper
completely missing a high ball:
https://giphy.com/media/aISlJA7loTEj9FLdAD/giphy.gif


FK Auda (LAT) v FC Spartak Trnava (SLK)* 1-1 (0-1)
(Ramires 60'; Kóša 7'; Red Cards: Gorosito (Trn) 35',
Hodulík (assistant manager, Trn) 35', Zuntners (assistant manager, Aud) 90'+5)

The Latvian surprise cup winners Auda, based in the southeastern Riga suburb of
Ķekava, in their European debut fell behind early when 19-year-old centre-back
Sebastian Kóša poked in from close range after Auda keeper Ozols had parried a
shot by North Macedonia international Milan Ristovski, but the Slovakians weakened
themselves as Kóša's Argentine partner Nicolás Gorosito collected two first-half
bookings, and against ten men Benfica youth product Matheus Clemente provided
a through ball for Brazilian in the Baltics Reginaldo Ramires who had no problems
shooting past Spartak's badly positioned goalkeeper Vantruba.


FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)* v KF Drita (KOS) 0-0 (0-0)

Disappointing result for Viktoria (and the Czech coefficient) as they were
extremely wasteful in front of the Kosovar net, and four minutes from time they
were even lucky that in Drita's only proper opportunity of the game the substitute
Dabiqaj alone in front of the Viktoria net dragged his shot wide.


PFC CSKA-Sofia (BUL)* v ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM) 0-2 (0-0)
(Păun 68', Varga 81')

The other CSKA team in the competition didn't fare well at home against Romanian
opposition either. CSKA-'s Brazilian keeper Gustavo Busatto played a most
unfortunate role in both goals against:
https://giphy.com/media/0V9j1AvUJfpSuHiAyo/giphy.gif
https://giphy.com/media/MkSSnEhNu7Q49S0Jcg/giphy.gif


FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)* v FC Aktobe (KAZ) 1-4 (0-2)
(Arabidze 89'; Kasym 34' (pen), Raičković 43', Samorodov 73', Filipović 90'+3)

In what turned out to be an excellent matchday for Kazakhstan, former mainstays
Aktobe, back in Europe after seven years, had little problem in Georgia.
A clumsy penalty, a badly defended cross, and an atrocious back pass:
https://giphy.com/media/jb3k2QUy9MGSE1vnwH/giphy.gif
were enough to all but decide the game, and while Giorgi Arabidze pulled one back
with a nice solo run and shot:
https://giphy.com/media/h4RL5pCIOYxb1a9Ta7/giphy.gif
Croatian journeyman Andrija Filipović added a late fourth on the break:
https://giphy.com/media/9z8ekxRQBZ6fviTVfZ/giphy.gif


Kecskeméti TE (HUN) v Riga FC (LAT)* 2-1 (0-0)
(Szuhodovszki 52' (pen), Pálinkás 85'; Contreras 86')

Kecskemét's only previous European adventure had ended quickly in the 2011-12
Europa League qualifiers against Aktobe. This time around they might have a better
chance to survive a round even though Gergő Pálinkás' late tap-in was answered a
minute later by Costa Rican international Anthony Contreras, freshly signed to
Latvia after the Gold Cup, likewise heading in a cross.


FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR) v FC Dila Gori (GEO)* 2-1 (0-0)
(Felipe Rodrigues 73', Kane 90'+3; Kovtalyuk 57')

A Ukrainian gave Dila the lead against Ukrainian opposition (the match itself was
played in Tychy in Silesia) as Mykola Kovtalyuk swept in a cross by Brazilian in
the East Jean Victor. Another Brazilian in the East, former Série B player Felipe
Rodrigues, equalised by firing in a loose ball after a corner kick, and in
stoppage time Malian defender Ibrahim Kane did a great job controlling another
loose ball on his thigh and sending a volley curving perfectly into the top corner
of the net: https://giphy.com/media/iB6emQe3ia7I5AJaUo/giphy.gif
Not the first time in these qualifiers that a Georgian team ships a last-second
goal. Almost as if they can't catch a break or something.


FC CFR 1907 Cluj (ROM)* v Adana Demirspor (TUR) 1-1 (1-0)
(Betancor 6'; Stambouli 77')

Reasonably successful European debut for Adana Demirspor (not to be confused with
their local rivals Adanaspor, who played in the UEFA Cup three times between 1976
and 1981) even though they fell behind very early when Spanish journeyman striker
Jefté Betancor, once briefly in Austria's third divison, somewhat inadvertently
steered in a cross by Cluj's naturalised Portugal-born long-term captain Camora.
In a real 'where are they now' moment former Montpellier, Spurs, PSG, and Schalke
midfielder Benjamin Stambouli equalised with a great volley:
https://giphy.com/media/MdKCmyryIgm9DIFsAD/giphy.gif


FC Basel 1893 (SUI)* v FC Tobol (KAZ) 1-3 (1-0)
(Barry 25'; Déblé 57' (pen), Orazov 62', Chesnokov 71';
Red Cards: Barry (Bas) 56', Calafiori (Bas) 69')

An evening to forget for last year's semifinalists. Truth be told, due to their
precarious financial position they've already sold pretty much everyone from
that run and have instead brought in raw talents like Thierno Barry, who opened
the scoring with a fine turn-and-shot but subsequently missed a ton of chances
and then also needlessly pulled a Suárez and punched a goal-bound header off his
goal line, leading to his dismissal (his second in as many matches for Basel, he
had already been sent off the week-end before in the league) and a penalty,
despatched by veteran Ivorian winger Serges Déblé. Just minutes before that, Tobol
had already missed a penalty (caused by Barry, of course) as Basel's reserve
keeper Salvi (Hitz is injured) had pushed Ramazan Orazov's spot kick around the
post. Against ten Swiss, Islam Chesnokov's long-distance shot came crashing off
the right post, and on the immediate follow-up Orazov made amends for his earlier
miss by sending a smashing volley into the top corner, two absolute bangers within
a couple of seconds: https://giphy.com/media/wu9k0QsivNiGvzeCB0/giphy.gif
To compound Basel's misery they were then reduced to nine when Italian Under-21
international Riccardo Calafiori saw a second booking for a flying elbow, and some
more terrible Basel defending was finally punished by Chesnokov for Tobol's third:
https://giphy.com/media/GxJlFrAhzfMd073vsC/giphy.gif

Tobol currently sit only in fifth in the Kazakh Premier League.


FC Differdange 03 (LUX) v NK Maribor (SLO)* 1-1 (1-0)
(Castro 25'; Jakupović 90'+6)

Portugal-born Angola international Érico Castro did very well to collect a long
ball, hold off a challenge and turn and fire past Maribor keeper Jug:
https://giphy.com/media/dBdhu89LwHdiqKXLcJ/giphy.gif
But as in the previous round Maribor were saved by a late goal, former Austrian
striker hope Arnel Jakupović scored with a direct free-kick.
https://giphy.com/media/GmTc1u3wabG9gU7bBB/giphy.gif
Keep it up boy.


Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)* v FC Petrocub Hîncești (MDA) 3-0 (1-0)
(D. Bitton 13', Zahavi 63', Dor Peretz 90'+4)

Dan Bitton (no relation to his more famous teammate Nir Bitton) surprised Petrocub
keeper Avram with a direct free-kick:
https://giphy.com/media/6LaNtygRpGSpAEkU7n/giphy.gif
Old man Zahavi, still going strong at 36, got the second with a precise shot from
outside the box, and in the last minute of stoppage time Dor Peretz tapped in
Đorđe Jovanović's cross for an easy win.


PAOK FC (GRE)* v Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR) 0-0 (0-0)

Beitar had litigated their way back into the competition (they had originally been
banned by the Israeli FA because of a chaotic pitch invasion after they'd won the
State Cup), but - thankfully - this somewhat anxiously anticipated match between
two sets of problematic fans was a bit of a dud. PAOK's best chance was missed by
their Austrian midfielder Stefan Schwab (heavily rumoured to return to Rapid
Vienna this summer) who after twelve minutes saw his penalty saved by Beitar's
Portuguese keeper Miguel Silva:
https://giphy.com/media/cN8qo7KsczMgowkFen/giphy.gif
Schwab later also hit the post with a long-distance strike.


KF Dukagjini (KOS) v HNK Rijeka (CRO)* 0-1 (0-1)
(Janković 30'; Red Cards: Mërlaku (Duk) 62', Dallku (Duk, manager) 89')

Young midfielder Niko Janković got the only goal by cutting inside and curling a
nice shot past Dukagjini keeper Haxhihamza:
https://giphy.com/media/UfREGEJkO5VYdhfYuz/giphy.gif


NK Celje (SLO) v Vitória SC (POR)* 3-4 (1-2)
(Bobičanec 1', Matko 59', Edmilson 90'+6; Jota 25', A. Silva 35', Amaro 70',
Nogueira 80')

While Maribor struggled in Luxembourg and Domžale had lost against Maltese
opposition in the previous round, Celje, whose new coach is former Liverpool
winger Albert Riera, gave the Portuguese favourites from Guimarães a hard fight.
The Slovenians took the lead after just seventeen seconds when Luka Bobičanec
volleyed in a cross by Frenchman Julien Lamy, but João 'Jota' Silva expertly
headed in a free-kick and his strike partner André Silva (really, Portuguese
people need more variety in their names, Vitória's captain is called André André)
converted Jota's assist to turn the match around before the break. Celje equalised
again after Vitória keeper Bruno Varela had awkwardly palmed away Bobičanec's shot
allowing Aljoša Matko to volley in the rebound, but once more they conceded two
quick goals - centre-back André Amaro rifled in a loose ball after a free-kick,
and youngster Gonçalo Nogueira converted a cross by Vitória's new Spanish striker
Adrián Butzke (Spanish mother, German father). In stoppage time a Brazilian kept
Celje's chances for the return leg somewhat alive, as the substitute Edmilson
collected Žan Karničnik's cross and fired past Varela.


Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)* v FK Panevėžys (LTU) 1-0 (1-0)
(Elias 35')

Shay Elias secured the narrow win for the Israeli favourites with a precise shot
after a short corner routine:
https://giphy.com/media/RDnlllqCEHFxiUpYIW/giphy.gif


Beşiktaş JK (TUR)* v KF Tirana (ALB) 3-1 (2-0)
(Bulut 21', Muleka 42', Kılıçsoy 90'+4; Kainã 83')

Former Bochum and Freiburg winger Onur Bulut volleyed in a cross by former West
Ham left-back Arthur Masuaku, and Congolese striker Jackson Muleka collected
Vincent Aboubakar's assist and fired past Tirana keeper Selmani from a tight
angle to give the Turkish favourites what looked like a comfortable lead, but
Tirana surprisingly pulled one back through Brazilian-Portuguese forward Kainã
who tapped in Rimal Haxhiu's cross from short range. 17-year-old substitute Semih
Kılıçsoy restored the two-goal lead with a dribble and shot that surprised Selmani
at his near post: https://giphy.com/media/pw2zIQ4B4mqiVIUY9d/giphy.gif

Only the second win for Beşiktaş in their last fifteen European matches.


NK Osijek (CRO)* v Zalaegerszegi TE FC (HUN) 1-0 (0-0)
(Mierez 90'+1)

Osijek, which is bankrolled by Hungarian money that also financed their brand-new
Opus Arena, got the late win against their neighbours thanks to Argentine striker
Ramón Miérez heading in a looping cross by Šime Gržan (who had played in
Zalaegerszeg on loan in spring 2022).


FC Twente (NED)* v Hammarby IF (SWE) 1-0 (0-0)
(Steijn 53')

Anders has written about the violence between sets of Twente and Hammarby fans,
and it doesn't bode well for the return leg in Stockholm either. The Netherlands
really need to deal with their ever increasing hooliganism problem - every single
team they've sent to Europe in recent years has at some point been involved in
some sort of crowd trouble. Last year in Graz it was thankfully just the bathrooms
that suffered. (But to think that UEFA will exclude Twente is a pipe dream).

On the pitch, youngster Sem Steijn got the only goal by firing in a loose ball
after a corner kick: https://giphy.com/media/UalghSpTS7gvNvQvfp/giphy.gif

It's not been a good European week for the Swedish teams. One draw and three defeats.


KA (ISL) v Dundalk FC (IRL)* 3-1 (3-1)
(B. Aðalsteinsson 28', Hauksson 37', 45'; Kelly 32')

After Shamrock Rovers against Breiðablik, the next tough defeat for an Irish team
on Iceland. The Hafsteinn/Daníel family no longer holds the monopoly on KA's
European goals as it was Bjarni Aðalsteinsson who sent Dundalk centre-back Andy
Boyle sprawling before firing in the opener:
https://giphy.com/media/H0NOQF6lwz1Gps5UbA/giphy.gif
Daniel Kelly scored the equaliser from Archie Davies's cross, but youngster Sveinn
Margeir Hauksson got two goals on the break even before half-time.

It's shaping up to be a rather disappointing European season for the League of
Ireland.


Club Brugge KV (BEL)* v AGF (DEN) 3-0 (1-0)
(Buchanan 10', Rits 48', Vetlesen 76')

I kind of expected Aarhus to put up more of a fight, but Brugge expertly carved
them open on the wings. Tajon Buchanan gave the Belgians the lead following good
work by Andreas Skov Olsen: https://giphy.com/media/mRo1ph7b8EwKYDPvff/giphy.gif
Mats Rits got the second with a shot into the top corner from just inside the box,
and Norwegian midfielder Hugo Vetlesen volleyed in a loose ball for the third.


B36 (FAR) v Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL)* 2-1 (1-0)
(Agnarsson 11', Johansen 60'; Taylor-Crossdale 80')

B36 scored two goals from low crosses, and generally appeared to be in full
control until similarly to the previous round the Welsh debutants got a goal out
of nowhere - Martell Taylor-Crossdale, who comes out of Chelsea's youth system but
whose career had never taken off, with a little luck blocked Magnus Egilson's
defensive header and poked the ball in from close range:
https://giphy.com/media/tkZC3sqYoaco7oUELc/giphy.gif


FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino (BLR) v AEK Larnaca FC (CYP)* 2-3 (0-3)
(Glushchenkov 70', Ovono 73'; Gyurcsó 6' (pen), Casas 16', Faraj 40')

This was again played in Mezőkövesd in Hungary, and a Hungarian got on the
scoresheet first as Ádám Gyurcsó converted from the spot. Hispanophones also
always feature prominently on Larnaca's squad, and it was Spanish left-back Ismael
Casas who volleyed in from close range after Torpedo keeper Abramovich had parried
a shot by Argentine right-back Facundo Sánchez:
https://giphy.com/media/KLuxTONwkv47xZ4YrH/giphy.gif
AEK's third was scored by a Frenchman as Imad Faraj swept in Gyurcsó's low cross.
Somewhat surprisingly the Belarusians pulled back two goals in three minutes,
first AEK keeper Toumbas spilled Lisakovich's shot and Kirill Glushchenkov tapped
into the empty net: https://giphy.com/media/L8lgFqH4MTdkH917F2/giphy.gif
then Gabonese forward Emmanuel Ovono nodded the ball over the line after a cross
had been headed back across goal.

Still, a perfect European week for Cyprus, four wins out of four.


KAA Gent (BEL)* v MŠK Žilina (SLK) 5-1 (1-0)
(Orban 23', De Sart 55', Cuypers 67', 85', Watanabe 76'; Kaprálik 79';
Red Card: Javorček (Žil) 73')

Nigerian prodigy Gift Orban, who earlier this year had scored the fastest hat
trick in the history of European cups, started the rout by tapping in his own
rebound after Žilina's unlucky keeper Belko had saved brilliantly against Orban's
initial header. Julien De Sart scored the second with a free-kick, and Hugo
Cuypers headed in Matisse Samoise's cross before Žilina's 20-year-old substitute
Dominik Javorček collected a second yellow for a shirt pull. Japanese new signing
Tsuyoshi Watanabe inadvertently steered in Cuypers' header for the fourth and
thereby ruined the latter's hat trick. On occasion of a rare counter attack Adrián
Kaprálik at least got the consolation goal for Žilina's youngsters who just
weren't up to the task against far more experienced Belgians.


KKS Lech Poznań (POL)* v FK Kauno Žalgiris (LTU) 3-1 (3-0)
(Hotić 11', Milić 41', Murawski 45'+2; Fase 57')

Bosnian winger Dino Hotić, newly signed by Lech from Cercle Brugge, headed in
Elias Andersson's cross for the early lead:
https://giphy.com/media/8JpTscrpXWwnfctrAr/giphy.gif
Former Oostende and Anderlecht centre-back Antonio Milić tapped in Joel Pereira's
cross for the second, and Radosław Murawski made it three with a powerful shot
from distance. At the other end, Dutchman Anton Fase likewise reduced the deficit
with a long-distance missile: https://giphy.com/media/dyPVF5AmVc76fdrj4P/giphy.gif


FK Austria Wien (AUT)* v FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH) 1-0 (0-0)
(Tabaković 90'+4)

A difficult match in which Austria were by and large the better team, but Borac
could easily have punished them during one of their couple of occasions on the
break. In the end, young substitute Manuel Polster (no relation to Toni) with the
last move of the match provided the cross that Haris Tabaković kneed in.

First home win in Europe for Austria since 2015, or 15 matches.


Derry City FC (IRL) v KuPS (FIN)* 2-1 (0-1)
(Patching 69', Kavanagh 79'; Vidjeskog 45' (pen))

The only bright spot for Ireland on that matchday, even though Jaro youth product
Axel Vidjeskog had given Kuopio the lead from the spot. Former England U-18
international Will Patching headed in Paul McMullan's cross for the equaliser, and
a long throw-in led to Michael Duffy's cross and young Cian Kavanagh's easy tap-in
finish: https://giphy.com/media/5omRgaT2F0maB725eN/giphy.gif


Linfield FC (NIR)* v MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL) 2-5 (0-2)
(Finlayson 56', Hall 80'; Grosicki 14' (pen), Gamboa 40', Malec 63',
Koulouris 66', Fornalczyk 90'+5)

Linfield captain Matthew Clarke lost the ball in front of his own net to Luka
Zahović and was so forced to bring down the son of Slovenia legend Zlatko in the
area, with former Hull City veteran Kamil Grosicki subsequently scoring from the
spot. Portuguese midfielder João Gamboa tapped in a corner kick to make it two.
Linfield pulled one back after Pogoń's Croatian keeper Dante Stipica had spilled
a free-kick: https://giphy.com/media/FKsaHyUljinxLGZnXI/giphy.gif
but Mariusz Malec soon restored the lead after a corner kick. Greek striker
Efthymis Koulouris, a recent flop in Austria with LASK, swept in Pogoń's fourth,
and even though the Northern Irish weren't without their chances, scored two
offside goals, and once more pulled one back thanks to Ben Hall's fine volley:
https://giphy.com/media/3QACQXVhNxFm1HGQlF/giphy.gif
the tie was all but decided in stoppage time when Mariusz Fornalczyk tapped in
a Grosicki cross.


FK Sutjeska (MNE)* v FC Santa Coloma (AND) 2-0 (1-0)
(Šaletić 24', Striković 73')

Unspectacular but important win for Montenegro who provisorily leave the bottom
five in the UEFA ranking, just ahead of Wales and Andorra.


FK Željezničar (BIH) v Neftçi PFK (AZE)* 2-2 (1-1)
(Haračić 14', Amoah 45'+8; Kosorić 44' (og), Hacıyev 90'+5)

Dženan Haračić headed in Nedim Mekić's cross, but Željezničar captain Aleksandar
Kosorić unluckily deflected Emin Mahmudov's shot past his own keeper:
https://giphy.com/media/86hdOEe479oE1uPA16/giphy.gif
Young Ghanaian forward Joseph Amoah gave the Bosnians the lead again after some
good passing: https://giphy.com/media/WqRA2GNVQTkPw8ieuA/giphy.gif
but very late Željo keeper Mulalić slapped away a corner kick, only to see
Rəhman Hacıyev's follow-up volley nestle perfectly in the top corner of the net.
Great goal: https://giphy.com/media/ZIyiG3XOtMRXDEbQp9/giphy.gif

Just as with Georgia, this isn't the first time we see a Bosnian team conceding
deep in stoppage time.


Crusaders FC (NIR) v Rosenborg BK (NOR)* 2-2 (1-2)
(Lowry 11', Reitan 74' (og); Holse 30', Sæter 42' (pen))

A rare occasion, there were two European matches being played simultaneously in
Belfast that evening - Linfield took the field in Windsor Park while Crusaders
hosted Rosenborg five kilometres to the north in their much much smaller Seaview
ground. Philip Lowry volleyed Crusaders in front after little more than ten
minutes, but Carlo Horse's wicked shot:
https://giphy.com/media/buxNzY9a4mD3vvNE2L/giphy.gif
and a harsh penalty turned the match around already before the break. Still, the
plucky Northern Irish got a deserved equaliser when a long-distance drive by their
captain Billy Joe Burns was unluckily deflected in by Erlend Dahl Reitan:
https://giphy.com/media/HC2jOWE8GP2tu5LLKN/giphy.gif

Not altogether a surprising result, as Rosenborg have been in crisis mode for a
couple of months now, have fired their manager Kjetil Rekdal, and only recently
have begun to distance themselves a bit from the relegation zone in the Norwegian
league.


KF Shkupi (MKD)* v PFC Levski Sofia (BUL) 0-2 (0-1)
(Welton Felipe 31', Ronaldo 90'+4)

Levski were the only Bulgarian team to celebrate a win, thanks to three of their
numerous Brazilians - Welton Felipe rifled in Ricardinho's assist, and Ronaldo
- I'm not exactly sure this one will ever be as famous as his namesakes - late on
tapped in a corner kick.

Unfortunately there were major fan clashes surrounding this match as well, with
dozens of arrests. Something about Bulgarians fighting Macedonians fighting
Albanians fighting Bulgarians. or the other way round.



Ciao,
Werner

Jesper Lauridsen

unread,
Jul 31, 2023, 2:51:29 PM7/31/23
to
On 2023-07-30, Werner Pichler <wpic...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> KF Ballkani (KOS) v Larne FC (NIR) 3-0 (2-0)

A rare ray of light.

> FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)* v Bohemians Praha 1905 (CZE) 3-0 (1-0)
> (Grønbæk 44', Pellegrino 50', Espejord 90'+2)

Promising pre-season training for the Vikings.

> FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR) v FC Dila Gori (GEO)* 2-1 (0-0)

> Not the first time in these qualifiers that a Georgian team ships a last-second
> goal. Almost as if they can't catch a break or something.

They've had their share of breaks!

> KA (ISL) v Dundalk FC (IRL)* 3-1 (3-1)
> (B. Aðalsteinsson 28', Hauksson 37', 45'; Kelly 32')
>
> After Shamrock Rovers against Breiðablik, the next tough defeat for an Irish team
> on Iceland.

Ice > Ire.

> Club Brugge KV (BEL)* v AGF (DEN) 3-0 (1-0)
> (Buchanan 10', Rits 48', Vetlesen 76')
>
> I kind of expected Aarhus to put up more of a fight,

No Bisseck.

Why is it always such a shit show to get into an away section in
European matches? First the police blockade that only lets in a couple
of fans at a time. Then a ticket scan, followed by a body search. And
then a *second* ticket scan, with the scanner placed behind some bars,
so you have to reach back akwardly and can see neither the scanning
plate, nor the light that turns green after scanning.

Werner Pichler

unread,
Aug 6, 2023, 10:17:53 PM8/6/23
to
Europa Conference League 2nd Qualifying Round, 2nd leg
Teams in CAPITALS (except RFS and AGF) through to ECLQ3
Champions Path Byes: Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB) and FC Flora (EST)



August 1


Champions Path
_ = unseeded team


VALMIERA FC (LAT) v SP Tre Penne (SMR)_ 7-0 (4-0), 10-0 on aggregate
(Toņiševs 3', 68', Nigretti 6' (og), Veips 9', Kayramani 12', Ndoye 73',
Jaunzems 90'+3)

Not much to say here except that the Latvians appeared to have had a bit of pity
after the first twelve minutes.

But I feel that the sheer fact that real minnows like the San Marino teams still
exist is an interesting contrast to the actual progress teams from countries like
Kosovo, the Faroes, or even Andorra have undeniably made.


FC SWIFT HESPER (LUX) v The New Saints FC (WAL) 3-2 (1-1), 4-3 on aggregate
(Stolz 2', Alioui 62', Martins 66'; McManus 22' (pen), 71' (pen))

It appeared as if TNS keeper Connor Roberts would easily be first to a wayward
long back pass, but he dithered, allowing Dominik Stolz to instead push the ball
through his legs. Even though TNS subsequently hit the woodwork twice the
Luxembourgers were clearly superior, and added two more through two new arrivals -
former Moroccan international Rachid Alioui tapped in from close range and
Portuguese centre-back Simão Martins, freshly signed from Trofense in Liga
Portugal 2, punished some more bad defending. But penalties are also quite
evidently Swift's thing, as in their four European matches so far they've been
awarded three of them (missed two) and conceded four (all scored). So they
had to suffer until the final minute when Hesper keeper Dupire kept out Danny
Davies's shot.

Quite the blow for the Cymru Premier, who will remain in the bottom 5, lose a
European entry and will have to wait at least one more year, possibly longer, for
a first ever group phase.


FK PARTIZANI (ALB) v Atlètic Club d'Escaldes (AND)_ 4-1 (2-0), 5-1 on aggregate
(Cara 28', 45'+1, Rrapaj 64', Grezda 90'+5; Lopez 90'+4 (pen))

Too easy, as evidenced by Tedi Cara's second goal:
https://giphy.com/media/WB6cDLHyMq31GQPzAm/giphy.gif


FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)_ v FK STRUGA (MKD) 3-4 (2-2), 3-5 on aggregate
(Đuričković 7', Adžić 45'+9, Sekulović 82'; Radeski 11', 45'+3, 74', Ibraimi 66')

Both sides exchanged early goals from corner kicks, and both sides scored in
stoppage time of the first half - Marjan Radeski rolled in Nigerian youngster
Hogan Ukpa's assist on the break:
https://giphy.com/media/XUjJNb8RLQUMjX1iI4/giphy.gif
while Vladan Adžić saw his free-kick deflected in:
https://giphy.com/media/HTy1KiOa26QwxL72Z7/giphy.gif
Besart Ibraimi's solo run and drive decided the tie for good, followed by Radeski
completing his hat trick by volleying in the rebound off a deflected shot. Petar
Sekulović's turn-and-shot came too late.



Main Path
* = seeded team


Balzan FC (MLT) v FC NEMAN GRODNO (BLR)* 0-0 (0-0), 0-2 on aggregate

Only one shot on target for Balzan was not good enough.


FC Zimbru Chișinău (MDA) v FENERBAHÇE SK (TUR)* 0-4 (0-0), 0-9 on aggregate
(Tadić 49', Batshuayi 57', 59', Yüksek 77')

After a boring first half the floodgates opened in the second. Thanks to a helpful
deflection Dušan Tadić got the first goal for his new club from the shortest of
ranges: https://giphy.com/media/zisV9pbrTATNUsKXaS/giphy.gif
Michi Batshuayi scored twice from tap-ins, and İsmail Yüksek scored a pretty
brilliant fourth with a long-distance drive:
https://giphy.com/media/h0xmDXQPddkw00dMea/giphy.gif



August 2


Main Path
* = seeded team


AEK LARNACA FC (CYP)* v FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino (BLR) 1-1 (0-0), 4-3 on aggregate
(Pons 90'+6; Gorbachik 90'+8)

At the end of a poor match came two headers in stoppage time - former Alavés
midfielder Pere Pons nodded in Ivan Tričkovski's looping cross:
https://giphy.com/media/rpYYRnKL6m7Tto0LRl/giphy.gif
and Valeri Gorbachik did the same from Dmitry Lisakovich's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/sAti3SqMJgoPsLGZTh/giphy.gif

The first European match this year that a Cypriot team didn't win.


F91 Diddeleng (LUX)* v GŻIRA UNITED FC (MLT) 2-1 (1-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(Hadji 38', 84'; Wilkson 87')

Düdelingen were all over the Maltese from the start, and deservedly took the lead
when a free-kick by Moroccan striker Samir Hadji (some might remember his father
Mustapha's goal against Norway at the 1998 World Cup) went straight through the
poorly built Gżira wall. It was also Hadji who levelled the overall score when he
headed in Ivan Englaro's cross, but Gżira are a cat with nine lives in Europe, and
one quick break ended with Brazilian in the Mediterranean Jose Wilkson heading in
from close range.

The second year in a row that Gżira reach the third round of the Europa Conference
League qualifiers. Quite impressive for a team of their stature.



August 3
45 matches. Phew.


Champions Path


FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v ĦAMRUN SPARTANS FC (MLT) 0-1 (0-1), 1-3 on aggregate
(Đuranović 45'+2; Red Cards: Chiabrishvili (Din, manager) 45'+1;
Đuranović (Ħam) 46')

Genk winger Joseph's older brother Seth Paintsil, who had just moved to Malta
following lengthy spells first with Jaro and then in the lower reaches of the
Austrian Bundesliga, provided the cross that Montengrin forward Uroš Đuranović
gathered to fire in: https://giphy.com/media/L30p0uAhsMPhC9oQ9R/giphy.gif
The Georgians never got anything going, not even with one half in numerical
advantage.

For a team that once was one of the strongest in the former Soviet Union, and have
a Cup Winners' Cup in their trophy cabinet to show for it, Dinamo's European
results in recent years have really been a bit tragic.


FC Urartu (ARM) v FCV FARUL CONSTANȚA (ROM) 2-3 (1-0), 4-6 on aggregate
(Antwi 11', Sabua 47'; Nedelcu 53', Alibec 57', 90'+2)

Things looked really bad for the Romanian champioms after Urartu's Ghanaian
right-back Nana Antwi had been given all the time in the world to measure a shot
past Farul keeper Aioani: https://giphy.com/media/vXXzo6LdleItQQtay0/giphy.gif
and Leon Sabua had tapped in the rebound after Aioani had saved against Sabua's
fellow Russian Artem Maksimenko:
https://giphy.com/media/VJSHB4LE0YhZuNUIxw/giphy.gif
but Farul replied immediately - Dragoș Nedelcu tapped in a corner kick, and
veteran forward Denis Alibec (two matches for Inter's senior team, back in the
day) was sent clear by youngster Mazilu's clever flick:
https://giphy.com/media/aQyEAO2gt97oJ1WAgs/giphy.gif
Subsequently the match was on the edge for the longest time until Alibec finished
off a counter attack at the death.


Larne FC (NIR) v KF BALLKANI (KOS) 1-4 (0-2), 1-6 on aggregate
(Bonis 60' (pen); Gripshi 27', 36', Rrahmani 46', Kryeziu 66')

The Kosovar champions dominated in Northern Ireland as well, Nazmi Gripshi, Albion
Rrahmani and Almir Kryeziu connecting with each other just as in the first leg.


Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL) v FERENCVÁROSI TC (HUN) 0-2 (0-1), 0-7 on aggregate
(Zachariassen 31', Mmaee 90')

One Mmaee brother, Ryan, has just left Ferencváros for the Championship and
Stoke City, but the other one, Samy, is still playing in Budapest, and he got a
late second goal as the Hungarians followed up last week's rout with another easy
win in Ireland.



Main Path
* = seeded team


FC TOBOL (KAZ) v FC Basel 1893 (SUI)* 1-2 (1-2), 4-3 on aggregate
(Déblé 43' (pen); Kade 26', Augustin 32' (pen))

As the whole tie has been nothing but a big mess for last year's semifinalists,
Basel's departure for Kazakhstan was delayed by over a day due to a broken cockpit
window on their chartered plane - they arrived in Kostanay less than twelve hours
before the match, and due to injuries, illnesses, and impending transfers with a
severely depleted squad.
Still, there was a certain consensus among many observers that a comparative
European juggernaut like Basel would find a way to squeeze through regardless, and
those views were quickly vindicated as German under-19 international Anton Kade
capped off his solo run with a perfect shot into the far corner:
https://giphy.com/media/mkdWRE8wcnazrkaiUR/giphy.gif
and soon afterwards a completely unnecessary push from behind by Tobol right-back
Bagdat Kairov on Liam Millar led to a somewhat soft penalty, despatched by former
Leipzig striker Jean-Kévin Augustin to level the aggregate score.
But the Serbian referee threw a spanner in the Swiss works when he apparently felt
he had to make amends for his earlier call, because he awarded Tobol an extremely
harsh handball penalty after Basel keeper Salvi had pushed Miljan Vukadinović's
shot against the arm of his own defender Finn van Breemen.
Nevertheless, 45 minutes were still left to overcome the one-goal deficit, but
Basel were completely devoid of ideas in the second half, and Tobol with
surprising ease held on to the result that let them reach the third Conference
League qualifying round for the second year in a row.


FC SANTA COLOMA (AND) v FK Sutjeska (MNE)* 3-0 aet (1-0, 2-0), 3-2 on aggregate
(Mourelo 35', Nierga 71', Garrido 96')

Three Spaniards with Segunda B experience scored to make up the first-leg deficit
and get the extra time winner, and so FC Santa Coloma, coached by Denis
Cheryshev's father Dmitriy, become the first team from Andorra to reach a third
qualifying round in Europe, and - momentarily - lift the Primera Divisió out of
the bottom five in the UEFA ranking for the first time ever.

On the other side, all three Montenegrin teams have been eliminated, and they will
remain third or even second from last.


FC PYUNIK (ARM)* v Kalmar FF (SWE) 2-1 (0-0), 4-2 on aggregate
(Dashyan 75', Harutyunyan 77'; Rajović 88')

The bad moment for Swedish club football continued in Armenia where within two
minutes Artak Dashyan first lobbed Kalmar's Brazilian keeper Ricardo Friedrich
from behind his own half-way line, then Nigerian forward Taofiq Jibril and
Hovhannes Harutyunyan on the break outplayed poor substitute right-back Axel
Lindahl and Harutyunyan fired in from near the penalty spot. Mileta Rajović's
precise shot from twenty metres came too late.


FC SPARTAK TRNAVA (SLK)* v FK Auda (LAT) 4-1 (3-0), 5-2 on aggregate
(Daniel 36', Djuricin 38', Štetina 45'+1, Procházka 75'; Achol 88')

The Latvian cup winners are a mid-table team in the Virslīga this year, so despite
the decent first-leg result it was not very surprising that Spartak left them
little chance in Slovakia. Erik Daniel opened the scoring with a brilliant long-
distance curler; Austrian striker Marco Djuricin, loaned out from Rijeka, in his
second game for his new club got his second goal by volleying in a cross by
Spartak captain Martin Mikovič; centre-back Lukáš Štetina fired in from close
range after the Latvian defence had failed to clear Filip Bainović's free-kick,
and later on Roman Procházka's shot was unluckily deflected in by Auda's Croatian
captain Božo Mikulić. Auda got a consolation goal through New Zealand-trained
winger Manyumow Achol, and I'm now wondering whether he's the first South Sudanese
international to have scored a goal in the European cups.


FK Panevėžys (LTU) v HAPOEL BE'ER SHEVA FC (ISR)* 1-1 (0-0), 1-2 on aggregate
(Mbo 79'; Vítor 53')

Portuguese-born Israeli captain Miguel Vítor headed into the empty net after
Linas Klimavičius's awkward header against his own crossbar had left his poor
keeper Černiauskas stranded: https://giphy.com/media/UB0QYf7fJnI9fcG6gP/giphy.gif
But what looked like a stroll in the park for Hapoel at least became a bit more
difficult when Gillingham-trained Congolese forward Noel Mbo headed in a cross by
Nicaraguan international Ariagner Smith.


SABAH FK (AZE) v FK RFS (LAT) 2-1 (0-0), 4-1 on aggregate
(Mickels 77', Apeh 90'+4; Ikaunieks 67'; Red Card: Zjuzins (RFS) 34')

Despite having been reduced to ten already in the first half when Artūrs Zjuzins
collected two bookings inside four minutes, the Riga Football School halved the
first-leg deficit when Jānis Ikaunieks, back in Latvia after a spell in Finland,
elegantly controlled Dragoljub Savić's cross, and a bit less elegantly poked it
into the net: https://giphy.com/media/VVQcDpoOJMYpctxOqL/giphy.gif
Still, as ten Latvians were pushing for the goal that would take them to extra
time, Sabah punished them twice on the break.


FK Kauno Žalgiris (LTU) v KKS LECH POZNAŃ (POL)* 1-2 (0-1), 2-5 on aggregate
(Uzėla 90'+6; Marchwiński 14', Ba Loua 90'+2)

The tie was already all but decided when Lech's new Slovenian centre-back Miha
Blažič acrobatically headed Jesper Karlström's cross back across goal, and Polish
Under-21 striker Filip Marchwiński nodded in from close range. Ten minutes from
time former long-time Hannover forward Artur Sobiech sent a penalty against the
right post, but Ivorian Adriel Ba Loua still got a late second for Lech after a
solo run on the break. The Lithuanians at least scored a consolation goal when
Karolis Uzėla's shot was somewhat clumsily deflected in by the substitute Alan
Czerwiński: https://giphy.com/media/lMsKG0rk5OyZmCPgqr/giphy.gif


FC AKTOBE (KAZ) v FC Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)* 1-2 (1-0), 5-3 on aggregate
(Samorodov 31'; Arabidze 58', Bugridze 66'; Red Card: Sandokhadze (Tor) 77')

Maksim Samorodow decided the tie for good following a lovely assist by Bauyrzhan
Baytana: https://giphy.com/media/pZq2IjDJzn1DiMHEEz/giphy.gif
but Giorgi Arabidze's weirdly deflected long-distance shot:
https://giphy.com/media/pVKh1rUd2OJtXEDNJD/giphy.gif
and Irakli Bugridze's tap-in at least gave the Georgians the coefficient points.


KuPS (FIN)* v DERRY CITY FC (IRL) 3-3 (2-1), 4-5 on aggregate
(Tuominen 24', Savolainen 44', 58'; Kavanagh 13', Diallo 55', Duffy 69')

Already early on the Finnish defence completely forgot about Cian Kavanagh at the
far post and he nodded in a cross by former Dundee United and Dundee FC winger
Paul McMullan: https://giphy.com/media/CzabsdPAHSSIX6FXkA/giphy.gif
Jasse Tuominen equalised from a corner kick, and Saku Savolainen levelled the
aggregate score thanks to a deflected shot. Derry took the aggregate lead again
when a crazy ping-pong shot allowed Man City academy alumnus Sadou Diallo to score
at the second attempt: https://giphy.com/media/eAQt4KAaXvdpIDTpXU/giphy.gif
Savolainen once more got the overall equaliser from Tuominen's through ball, but
Michael Duffy was again left unimpeded by the Finnish defence to head in the
decisive goal from a Diallo cross:
https://giphy.com/media/g6TLAxmYZ09Ub0t652/giphy.gif

Terrible result for the Veikkausliiga where Kuopio are currently leading the
standings.


MKS POGOŃ SZCZECIN (POL) v Linfield FC (NIR)* 3-2 (0-1), 8-4 on aggregate
(Koulouris 49', Wahlqvist 58', Bichakhchyan 75'; Mulgrew 16', McClean 51')

To their credit, Linfield continued with their happy-go-lucky approach from the
first leg and got the lead thanks to a deflected shot by their 37-year-old captain
Jamie Mulgrew. But a comeback was never really on the cards, and former LASK flop
Efthymis Koulouris continued his good moment in Poland and nodded in the
equaliser. Kyle McClean headed Linfield in front once more, but their naïve
defending led to the Northern Irish conceding again, and Armenian midfielder
Vahan Bichakhchyan even got the winner with a fabulous shot from distance:
https://s11.gifyu.com/images/SccZ1.gif
so Linfield didn't even get a coefficient point for their troubles.


Zalaegerszegi TE FC (HUN) v NK OSIJEK (CRO)* 1-2 (0-1), 1-3 on aggregate
(Ikoba 82'; Gergényi 9' (og), Špoljarić 73')

In the first leg at home Osijek had to wait until stoppage time to score, but in
Hungary it took them only nine minutes because following ZTE keeper Gyurján's
save the ball smacked Bence Gergényi most unluckily in the face:
https://giphy.com/media/BUJPFlOAaoV3xb8xQP/giphy.gif
In the second half, Josip Špoljarić made it two on the break, and US boy Eduvie
Ikoba scoring via a deflection was only consolation.


FC DILA GORI (GEO)* v FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR) 3-1 (1-0), 4-3 on aggregate
(Parulava 45', Kovtalyuk 71', Gale 86'; Stepanyuk 74')

Who knows what Vorskla's young keeper Isenko was doing miles outside his net, but
Brazilian in the East Alef Santos lobbed over him and against the crossbar, and
Otar Parulava volleyed the rebound into the empty net:
https://giphy.com/media/rpYq2NSxe92Lf1ROCv/giphy.gif
A Ukrainian gave the Georgians the aggregate lead, Mykola Kovtalyuk ran onto
Barbados international Thierry Gale's through ball and rounded Isenko, and while
Ruslan Stepanyuk levelled the overall score when he reacted quickest to a loose
ball in the box, the Barbadian got the decisive goal from a long ball over the
top, and a fair share of luck:
https://giphy.com/media/zcgepydEJhPN0vDg6r/giphy.gif

Dila are indeed the one Georgian team that do get breaks, and also the only one to
survive into ECLQ3.


NEFTÇI PFK (AZE)* v FK Željezničar (BIH) 2-0 (1-0), 4-2 on aggregate
(Saief 20', Eddy 68')

But for the Bosnian teams it's the usual story instead. Frenchman Keelan Lebon's
assist carved the Željo defence open leaving erstwhile US international
Kenny Saief, now in his second year in Azerbaijan, with a simple finish:
https://giphy.com/media/jra3libVnUbMsPuFF4/giphy.gif
and Angolan-Spanish-Azeri midfielder Eddy got the second from a corner kick, at
the second attempt: https://giphy.com/media/lcfCMJsHBbnEKRbZMa/giphy.gif


ROSENBORG BK (NOR)* v Crusaders FC (NIR) 3-2 aet (1-1, 1-1), 5-4 on aggregate
(Nelson 34', Þorvaldsson 102', Cornic 108'; Lowry 45', Heatley 105';
Red Card: Heatley (Cru) 105'+3)

Canadian winger Jaydon Nelson beat Crusaders keeper Tuffey from a tight angle
to give the former Norwegian giants the lead, but Philip Lowrey tapped in from
close range after 16-year-old Rosenborg midfielder Sverre Nypan hadn't been up
to the physical challenge: https://giphy.com/media/4AXbao8aA0De0bKgXx/giphy.gif
Rosenborg's Icelandic forward Ísak Þorvaldsson headed the Norwegians in front
again in extra time, but Paul Heatley's deflected shot levelled things once more:
https://giphy.com/media/RDBFNaDmnS48Dd1EyQ/giphy.gif
Heatley then turned from hero into goat as soon afterwards he received a second
booking for time wasting, and against ten men French-Norwegian youngster Leo
Cornic got the decisive goal by turning in the rebound after Tuffey had saved
against Magnus Holte: https://giphy.com/media/9IMPgQguOMVnDGqGqC/giphy.gif

A valiant fight, but Northern Ireland are the highest-ranked league to see all
of their four teams eliminated.


ACS SEPSI OSK SFÂNTU GHEORGHE (ROM) v PFC CSKA-Sofia (BUL)* 4-0 (1-0), 6-0 on aggregate
(Matei 19' (pen), Aganović 70', Varga 90', Alimi 90'+5 (pen);
Red Card: Carreazo (Sof) 90'+7)

Sepsi had it very easy in the return leg as well, for their second goal Cosmin
Matei and Adnan Aganović were allowed to send the ball around in the box at will:
https://giphy.com/media/160eEM9ZZgvdG738Wj/giphy.gif
In stoppage time CSKA-'s Colombian midfielder Marcelino Carreazo caused a penalty
and collected two bookings.


FC Petrocub Hîncești (MDA) v MACCABI TEL AVIV FC (ISR)* 0-2 (0-0), 0-5 on aggregate
(Guiagon 90'+1, Dor Peretz 90'+3)

Ivorian midfielder Parfait Guiagon and Dor Peretz made sure very late that all
coefficient points would go to Israel.


RIGA FC (LAT)* v Kecskeméti TE (HUN) 3-1 aet (0-1, 2-1), 4-3 on aggregate
(Muzinga 62', Mankenda 90'+5, Ngom 120'+2; Vágó 8')

Things appeared to go well for Kecskemét as Levente Vágó fired them into a two-
goal aggregate lead already early on, but Riga's Congolese left-back Ngonda
Muzinga dove low to head in a cross by his compatriot Gauthier Mankenda at the
far post: https://giphy.com/media/n6rLnREskpt1Ah7tzN/giphy.gif
and as the Latvians laid siege to the Hungarian box, in the last minute of
injury time Mankenda levelled the aggregate score with a precise shot from just
inside the area: https://giphy.com/media/DvI8fTUz9EeRgAEubj/giphy.gif
With extra time all but over Mouhamed Ngom's inswinging free-kick eluded everyone
on its way into the net: https://giphy.com/media/nL6OWwtAQWzzcNkE2Q/giphy.gif


AC OMONOIA (CYP)* v Qəbələ FK (AZE) 4-1 (1-0), 7-3 on aggregate
(Bezus 5', 30' (pen), Lang 38', Coulibaly 59'; Isaiah 56')

Roman Bezus, who had scored a hat trick in the first leg, got a brace in this one
as well, and for once one goal came from a header, and not a set-piece as usual.
Hungarian centre-back Ádám Lang got another one from a cross, and Senou Coulibaly,
formerly of Dijon, and Nigerian journeyman striker Ahmed Isaiah exchanged goals in
the second half.


PFC LEVSKI SOFIA (BUL) v KF Shkupi (MKD)* 1-0 (0-0), 3-0 on aggregate
(Petkov 90'+11)

One bright spot for Bulgaria, Marin Petkov's very late long-distance strike made
certain of all coefficient points.


Bohemians Praha 1905 (CZE) v FK BODØ/GLIMT (NOR)* 2-4 (1-2), 2-7 on aggregate
(Matoušek 26', Křapka 55'; Sørli 22', Moumbagna 42', Grønbæk 78', Sørensen 88')

With Rosenborg struggling, in the last couple of seasons it's been Bodø's job to
pick up the slack, and they performed in Prague as well, punishing the 'Kangaroos'
twice on the break, and twice from corner kicks.


FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX) v FC MIDTJYLLAND (DEN)* 2-1 aet (1-0, 2-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(De Almeida 15', 52'; Chilufya 112')

Considering how little the Luxembourgers had showed in the first leg, it came as a
major surprise that they almost got the better of the big Danish favourites at
home. Mayron De Almeida simply nutmegged Stefan Gartenmann to be left with a free
shot: https://giphy.com/media/t4bWf4yGe0SQJeOvKt/giphy.gif
and the Belgian winger also curled in the aggregate equaliser:
https://giphy.com/media/gYBIHFVIwmxDY3tf87/giphy.gif
In the end, an energetic solo run capped off with an emphatic shot into the far
corner by Zambian international Edward Chilufya saved FCM the blushes:
https://giphy.com/media/PoWHJq4auDpvDq5yoq/giphy.gif


Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR) v PAOK FC (GRE)* 1-4 (1-2), 1-4 on aggregate
(Friday 45'+7; Gotlib 12' (og), Brandon 45'+1, Thomas 90'+2 (og),
Konstantelias 90'+6; Red Card: Douglas Augusto (PAOK) 40')

A horrific own goal by Beitar centre-back Edi Gotlieb set the Israeli on the road
to defeat: https://giphy.com/media/wCGwhkYzvmAeKd33IQ/giphy.gif
but things didn't look so glum for them when another bad back pass at the other
end of the pitch led to Brazilian in the Mediterranean Douglas Augusto being sent
off for pulling down Yarden Shua as last man, but Shua subsequently saw his
penalty saved by PAOK's Croatian keeper Dominik Kotarski. Instead, English-Spanish
forward Brandon tapped in the Greeks' second. Beitar managed to pull one back even
before the break as their new Nigerian striker Fred Friday expertly headed in
Shua's cross, but despite being a man up in the second half the Israeli chased in
vain the goal that would send the tie to extra time. Instead, the Ivorian
substitute Trazié Thomas added another own goal to the tally when a shot parried
by Beitar's Portuguese keeper Miguel Silva caromed off him, and youngster Giannis
Konstantelias even scored a fourth on the break after the Beitar defence had once
more lost the ball in front of their own net.


ADANA DEMIRSPOR (TUR) v FC CFR 1907 Cluj (ROM)* 2-1 (1-0), 2-1 on aggregate
(David 43', Ndiaye 90'+4; Mogoș 68' (pen); Red Card: Gravillon (Ada) 63')

Babajide David headed Adana in front from a corner kick, but Cluj appeared to have
the advantage when Inter youth product and Guadeloupe international Andreaw
Gravillon scythed down Daniel Bîrligea in the box, got sent off, and Vasile
Mogoș converted from the spot. But even though down to ten, the Turkish debutants
managed to score the decisive winner in stoppage time thanks to an honestly quite
brilliant free-kick routine: https://giphy.com/media/IZe6Q0YlIAsZtFUUcw/giphy.gif


KF Tirana (ALB) v BEŞIKTAŞ JK (TUR)* 0-2 (0-0), 1-5 on aggregate
(Amartey 57', Aboubakar 75'; Red Card: Masuaku (Beş) 67')

A comfortable evening for Beşiktaş in Albania was only marred by Arthur Masuaku's
dismissal for an absolutely pointless late challenge.


FK Vojvodina (SRB) v APOEL FC (CYP)* 1-2 (1-1), 2-4 on aggregate
(Zukić 37'; Sarfo 27', Efrem 74' (pen))

Kingsley Sarfo's story is actually a rather sordid one - in 2018 he was convicted
for statutory rape while playing for Malmö, served two-and-a-half years in prison
and was deported from Sweden afterwards - which led to him relaunching his career
in Cyprus, first with lowly Olympiakos Nicosia, and now with APOEL. Dejan Zukić
equalised with an angled shot from close range, but veteran winger Georgios Efrem
decided the tie for good from the spot.

Not only is Cyprus the currently lowest-ranked league to still have all four teams
alive, they've also won seven out of eight matches in the process. Only AEK
Larnaca were held to a draw.


Hammarby IF (SWE) v FC TWENTE (NED)* 1-1 aet (1-0, 1-0), 1-2 on aggregate
(Erabi 38'; Steijn 115')

The disaster week for Sweden continued unabated. Young forward Jusef Erabi
cancelled Hammarby's first-leg deficit thanks to a deflected shot that curved
over Twente's German keeper Lars Unnerstall:
https://giphy.com/media/SHzzxLAq7J6oXBIIZB/giphy.gif
but a second goal eluded them, and in extra time Sem Steijn, who had already
scored in the first leg, volleyed in Joshua Brenet's cross to send the Dutch
through: https://giphy.com/media/mS5TMqCF3JElDABIn1/giphy.gif


AGF (DEN) v CLUB BRUGGE KV (BEL)* 1-0 (1-0), 1-3 on aggregate
(Beijmo 3')

Aarhus fans might have entertained some hopes of a miraculous comeback when Felix
Beijmo headed in a corner kick after just three minutes, but that was as far as
it got.


KF Drita (KOS) v FC VIKTORIA PLZEŇ (CZE)* 1-2 (0-0), 1-2 on aggregate
(Bl. Krasniqi 90'+2; Durosinmi 76', Jirka 90'+21 (pen);
Red Card: Bl. Krasniqi (Dri) 90'+19)

If you're wondering about the stoppage time, the match was interrupted twice in
the second half because of floodlight failures. A bit ironic, since 'drita' in
Albanian means 'light'.

In a tight match with few chances Viktoria were more dangerous from headers, and
after one by Tomáš Chorý had come off the crossbar, his young Nigerian teammate
Rafiu Durosinmi just seconds after having come on as a substitute nodded in Erik
Jirka's cross. Drita's Congolese substitute Raddy Ovouka powered through on the
left side before centring for Blerim Krasniqi to get the Kosovars the deserved
equaliser: https://giphy.com/media/PcNBeNsdYLKaEjaCQZ/giphy.gif
but in a pattern we've already seen in these qualifiers Krasniqi then got himself
sent off with a second booking, and his first had resulted from taking off his
jersey in celebration for the goal. To make matters worse, Drita then gave up a
handball penalty when Besnik Krasniqi (no relation, he is Kosovar and Blerim is
Albanian) tried to clear a ball volleyball style:
https://giphy.com/media/PzKC7Cc3qiUBWB6saU/giphy.gif
and Jirka scored the decisive goal from the spot. In the 26th minute of stoppage
time Viktoria keeper Staněk pulled off a brilliant save to deny Muharrem Jashari.


MŠK Žilina (SLK) v KAA GENT (BEL)* 2-5 (0-1), 3-10 on aggregate
(Kaprálik 66', Bari 77'; Hjulsager 30', Cuypers 62', 89', Tissoudali 70',
Gerkens 72')

Gent had fun with the very leaky Žilina defence in Slovakia as well. The best goal
of the night was scored by Tarik Tissoudali who curled one in from a tight angle.


HNK RIJEKA (CRO)* v KF Dukagjini (KOS) 6-1 (3-1), 7-1 on aggregate
(Pašalić 27', Ivanović 39', 45'+3, 90'+2, Goda 64', Djouahra 81'; Zylfiu 42')

Rijeka took no prisoners against the Kosovar debutants. Stuttgart and Dortmund
youth product Marco Pašalić (no relation to Mario) after a corner kick
emphatically smashed in a volley to open the scoring, and Austria-born 19-year-old
striker Franjo Ivanović, who was signed by Rijeka from Augsburg's amateurs, got
a hat trick.


HIBERNIAN FC (SCO)* v Inter Club d'Escaldes (AND) 6-1 (3-0), 7-3 on aggregate
(Boyle 10', 22', Doidge 29', Campbell 48', 61', Youan 65'; De La Torre 83')

OK, so I guess Scottish pride was inddeed piqued, and Inter Escaldes keeper Adrià
helped with the first goal: https://giphy.com/media/ssn2IRjPaPUFK05XdO/giphy.gif
What followed were two goals from headers, a bicycle kick by Welshman Christian
Doidge: https://giphy.com/media/Wdgv8L6BGBIJTqsSe8/giphy.gif
and Frenchman Élie Youan first providing the cross on the break that Josh Campbell
tapped in, then scoring the sixth with a smashing effort:
https://giphy.com/media/BufgOOBX4BZsBxdcOG/giphy.gif
The Andorrans at least got an equally nice consolation goal:
https://giphy.com/media/G0Le1QWThrL2rWanj2/giphy.gif


ARIS FC (GRE)* v FC Ararat-Armenia (ARM) 1-0 (0-0), 2-1 on aggregate
(Fabiano 80')

Hardly brilliant from Aris, but Brazilian in the Mediterranean Fabiano Leismann
heading in a late free-kick was enough.


FC FCSB (ROM)* v FC CSKA 1948 Sofia (BUL) 3-2 (1-0), 4-2 on aggregate
(Đoković 27', 82', Oc. Popescu 90'+1; Pedrinho 49', Daskalov 68')

In Bert's forum CSKA 1948 has been ingeniously described as being basically a
'spite team', just like the 'spite stores' described in Curb Your Enthusiasm:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YlA6gtha-w
But in Europe the two CSKA's were very much in step with each other, with both
losing in Romania. CSKA 1948 did a bit better than CSKA-, and after Dutch-Croatian
midfielder Damjan Đoković had swept in the opener, two headers at the other end
actually meant that the aggregate score was tied for the longest time. But eight
minutes from time Đoković finished off a quick break with a nice chip:
https://giphy.com/media/kvtnGIdMVIHZMp20AS/giphy.gif and late on Octavian Popescu
rolled in a loose ball, so the two CSKA's combined didn't manage to get even a
single coefficient point.


NK MARIBOR (SLO)* v FC Differdange 03 (LUX) 4-3 aet (1-2, 3-3), 4-4 on aggregate
(Kolar 5', Repas 62', Brnić 82', Iličić 120'+2 (pen); Castro 27' (pen),
Trani 42', 46')

A wild match, and Maribor - like all the Slovenian teams this week, it seems -
proved to be supreme escape artists. They opened the scoring early from a corner
kick, but soon also gave up a clumsy penalty, and then Differdingen shocked them
with two goals each side of the break - Guillaume Trani first raced onto Nestor
Monge's through ball: https://giphy.com/media/z2ylX7XYCz9tJlR26n/giphy.gif
and then got a pretty brilliant second practically all by himself:
https://giphy.com/media/o6bHiTYwiKVauYqlfy/giphy.gif
A rehearsed move after a short corner kick surprised the Luxembourg defence and
helped Maribor to get back on track, and Ivan Brnić was allowed too much time and
space in the box and so he curled in the equaliser:
https://giphy.com/gifs/lZlOHiVjwm1IZtbUwu
Much like their compatriots from Niederkorn despite their valiant efforts the
Luxembourgers fell in extra time - Théo Brusco was in a great position to
intercept a pass into the box, but instead of the ball he caught the heel of
Xhuliano Skuka, and Josip Iličić as experienced as he is calmly converted from the
spot.


FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH) v FK AUSTRIA WIEN (AUT)* 1-2 (0-0), 1-3 on aggregate
(Cortes 49'; Gruber 53', Polster 65')

Just before the match Austria had to suffer quite the blow - just as their fans
had dreaded all summer long, somebody triggered the rather low release clause for
their target striker Haris Tabaković, and so Austria's Swiss top scorer switched
underachieving capital clubs and left Vienna for Hertha BSC.

The biggest chance before the break fell to Borac when former long-time Rijeka
right-back Zoran Kvržić shot against the crossbar, and so it wasn't entirely
undeserved when Borac's speedy Colombian winger José Cortés headed in a deflected
cross to level the aggregate score:
https://giphy.com/media/wCFftmEM8AlPLYPIn2/giphy.gif
But Austria immediately replied with their best move of the evening at the end of
which Andreas Gruber tapped in Manfred Fischer's centre, and youngster Manuel
Polster (again, no relation to Toni) scored a second with a move that would have
made his namesake proud twenty-five years ago:
https://giphy.com/media/SXIXgXstlJc6AH9Qot/giphy.gif


FC LUZERN (SUI) v Djurgårdens IF (SWE)* 1-1 (1-1), 3-2 on aggregate
(Burch 27'; Asoro 45'+6)

The last nail in the Swedish coffin came at the hands of notorious European
underachivers Luzern. Joel Asoro finished off a quick break to cancel out Marco
Burch's opener, but despite their superiority in the second half a second goal
eluded the team that last year had won their Conference League group.

Sweden are the highest-ranked league to have already lost all three Conference
League entries, and Häcken's CL qualifiers exit against Klaksvík means they're not
yet guaranteed to play in a group phase either.


Dundalk FC (IRL)* v KA (ISL) 2-2 (1-1), 3-5 on aggregate
(Martin 33', Sloggett 89'; Edmundsson 14', Steingrímsson 81' (pen))

Jóan Símun Edmundsson, the only Faroese player in the history of the German
Bundesliga (five matches, one goal with Arminia Bielefeld three years ago), has
just signed with the team from Akureyri, and he got the early opener from a route
one attack. John Martin headed in the equaliser, but Hallgrimur Steingrimsson's
late penalty decided the tie for good. Gregory Sloggett at least salvaged a
coefficient point, again with a header.


Haverfordwest County AFC (WAL)* v B36 (FAR) 1-1 aet (0-0, 1-0), 2-3 on aggregate
(Fawcett 66'; Benjaminsen 100' (pen))

Ben Fawcett tapped in from close range after a free-kick had been headed down
across goal, but in extra time Fawcett was also adjudged to have handled the ball
and so caused the penalty that sent the last remaining Welsh team crashing out of
Europe, which means that the Cymru Premier will drop into the Bottom Five and lose
a European entry.


LEGIA WARSZAWA (POL)* v FC Ordabasy (KAZ) 3-2 (2-0), 5-4 on aggregate
(Wszołek 18', Ribeiro 42', Pekhart 71'; Sadovsky 57', Malyi 84')

Probably a bit closer than Legia would have liked. Paweł Wszołek beat Ordabasy
keeper Shayzada from a tight angle:
https://giphy.com/media/T6xOVE3HLMQtAEpHbi/giphy.gif
and Legia scored their second when Josué's free-kick got tangled in the wall,
Jędrzejczyk's follow-up volley was miraculously pushed against the crossbar by
Shayzada, and Portuguese left-back Yuri Ribeiro finally tapped the ball over the
line. But the Kazakhs pulled one back thanks to a good run by Temirlan Yerlanov
who provided the cross that Belarusian forward Vesvolod Sadovsky swept in:
https://giphy.com/media/WIQGkxYjYvB7gUhMzf/giphy.gif
Veteran striker Tomáš Pekhart scored the third on the break, but once more the
Kazakhs got back into the game when Serhiy Malyi headed in a corner kick, and so
things remained a bit tense until the final whistle.


DEBRECENI VSC (HUN) v FC Alashkert (ARM)* 1-2 aet (0-1, 1-2), 2-2 on aggregate, Debrecen win 3-1 on penalties
(Dzsudszák 77'; Ustinov 18', Mimito Biai 67'; Red Card: Kutalia (Ala) 87')

Debrecen also probably would have imagined their task to be easier, but Vitali
Ustinov's header from a corner kick levelled the aggregate score already early on,
and Bissau-Guinean international Mimito Biai even put the Armenians in front
following good work by Georgian forward Levan Kutalia:
https://giphy.com/media/ilWORK3MDd4vVc3upL/giphy.gif
Balazs Dzsudzsák aka 'The Dude' of long ago Miniger fame, 36 by now, saved
Debrecen's hide when he volleyed in a cross by Frenchman Brandon Domingues.
Alashkert were then being reduced to ten due to Kutalia's reckless challenge
against Domingues, but with Debrecen producing three incredible misses in extra
time the Armenians managed to drag the match into the shoot-out - where they
promptly missed the first two spot kicks, and finally a third.


Vitória SC (POR)* v NK CELJE (SLO) 0-1 aet (0-0, 0-1), 4-4 on aggregate, Celje win 4-2 on penalties
(Bajde 65')

Albert Riera's side levelled the overall score when following some confusion after
a corner kick Gregor Bajde nodded in from close range. In the shoot-out the first
two Vitória players missed, and that's exactly why Portugal is no longer competing
for fifth spot in the UEFA ranking. No cheap Conference League points for them.




Draw for Europa Conference League 3rd Qualifying Round (August 10 and 17)
Winners go to ECLPO


Champions Path
(no seeding)

Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT) v Ferencvárosi TC (HUN)
FCV Farul Constanța (ROM) v FC Flora (EST)
Valmiera FC (LAT) v FK Partizani (ALB)

KF Ballkani (KOS) v Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB)
FK Struga (MKD) v FC Swift Hesper (LUX)



Main Path
* = seeded team


AEK Larnaca FC (CYP) v Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)*
Sabah FK (AZE) v FK Partizan (SRB)*
ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM)* v FC Aktobe (KAZ)
SK Rapid Wien (AUT)* v Debreceni VSC (HUN)

HNK Hajduk Split (CRO) v PAOK FC (GRE)*
FC Santa Coloma (AND) v AZ (NED)*
NK Celje (SLO)* v FC Neman Grodno (BLR)
Beşiktaş JK (TUR)* v Neftçi PFK (AZE)

AC Omonoia (CYP) v FC Midtjylland (DEN)*
Aris FC (GRE) v FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)*
Legia Warszawa (POL)* v FK Austria Wien (AUT)
Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)* v PFC Levski Sofia (BUL)

Hibernian FC (SCO) v FC Luzern (SUI)*
FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)* v Gżira United FC (MLT)
FC Arouca (POR)* v SK Brann (NOR)
KAA Gent (BEL)* v MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL)
Adana Demirspor (TUR)* v NK Osijek (CRO)

B36 (FAR) v HNK Rijeka (CRO)*
FC Twente (NED)* v Riga FC (LAT)
Rosenborg BK (NOR)* v Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO)
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)* v NK Maribor (SLO)
Club Brugge KV (BEL)* v KA (ISL)

FC Dila Gori (GEO) v APOEL FC (CYP)*
KKS Lech Poznań (POL)* v FC Spartak Trnava (SLK)
FC FCSB (ROM)* v FC Nordsjælland (DEN)
FC Tobol (KAZ)* v Derry City FC (IRL)
FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)* v FC Pyunik (ARM)



Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Aug 7, 2023, 8:33:03 AM8/7/23
to
Draw for Europa Conference League Play-Off (August 24 and 31)
* = seeded team
Winners go to ECL group phase


Champions Path

KF Ballkani (KOS)/Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB) v FC Sheriff (MDA)/FC BATE Borisov (BLR)*
FK Žalgiris (LTU)/BK Häcken (SWE)* v Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT)/Ferencvárosi TC (HUN)

FK Struga (MKD)/FC Swift Hesper (LUX) v HŠK Zrinjski Mostar (BIH)/Breiðablik (ISL)*
FCV Farul Constanța (ROM)/FC Flora (EST) v Qarabağ FK (AZE)/HJK (FIN)*
FC Astana (KAZ)/PFC Ludogorets 1945 (BUL)* v Valmiera FC (LAT)/FK Partizani (ALB)


Main Path

Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)/PFC Levski Sofia (BUL) v Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)*
ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM)/FC Aktobe (KAZ) v FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)/FC Pyunik (ARM)*
AC Omonoia (CYP)/FC Midtjylland (DEN)* v Legia Warszawa (POL)/FK Austria Wien (AUT)
Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)/NK Maribor (SLO)* v FC Twente (NED)/Riga FC (LAT)

FC Dila Gori (GEO)/APOEL FC (CYP) v KAA Gent (BEL)/MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL)*
FC Tobol (KAZ)/Derry City FC (IRL) v FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)/Gżira United FC (MLT)*
Lille OSC (FRA)* v B36 (FAR)/HNK Rijeka (CRO)
Aris FC (GRE)/FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)* v Beşiktaş JK (TUR)/Neftçi PFK (AZE)

KKS Lech Poznań (POL)/FC Spartak Trnava (SLK) v SK Slavia Praha (CZE)/SC Dnipro-1 (UKR)*
Hibernian FC (SCO)/FC Luzern (SUI) v Aston Villa FC (ENG)*
Olympiacos FC (GRE)/KRC Genk (BEL)* v Adana Demirspor (TUR)/NK Osijek (CRO)
FC Santa Coloma (AND)/AZ (NED)* v FC Arouca (POR)/SK Brann (NOR)

SK Rapid Wien (AUT)/Debreceni VSC (HUN) v ACF Fiorentina (ITA)*
Rosenborg BK (NOR)/Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO) v HNK Hajduk Split (CRO)/PAOK FC (GRE)*
FC FCSB (ROM)/FC Nordsjælland (DEN) v Sabah FK (AZE)/FK Partizan (SRB)*
CA Osasuna (ESP) v Club Brugge KV (BEL)/KA (ISL)*
AEK Larnaca FC (CYP)/Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)* v NK Celje (SLO)/FC Neman Grodno (BLR)


In case you missed it, Osasuna were reinstated into the competition after a
successful appeal at CAS. Fiorentina have taken Juve's place.



Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Aug 14, 2023, 4:17:59 PM8/14/23
to
Europa Conference League 3rd Qualifying Round, 1st leg


To wrap this up before the return legs start.



August 9


Main Path
* = seeded team


AEK Larnaca FC (CYP) v Maccabi Tel Aviv FC (ISR)* 1-1 (0-0)
(Faraj 80'; Cohen 64')

I had overlooked the fact that the Israeli have appointed Robbie Keane as their
new manager going into this season. Interesting choice, it's his first job as a
head coach.

Anyway, the Irish legend's side were the better team from the start and deservedly
went in front when Yonatan Cohen cut inside and sent a shot flying past AEK's
Bosnian keeper Pirić into the far side of the net, but Frenchman Imad Faraj
outwitted Maccabi's defence for the late equaliser:
https://giphy.com/media/fPWa0bL7bEJgDc6TOI/giphy.gif
and four minutes from the end the Cypriots could even have won it as they were
awarded a penalty for Nir Bitton's foul on Ádám Gyurcsó, but AEK's longest-serving
player Ivan Tričkovski saw his spot kick saved by Maccabi keeper Daniel Peretz.


KAA Gent (BEL)* v MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL) 5-0 (4-0)
(Orban 13', 35', 64', Cuypers 40', 45'+1)

Pogoń's young reserve keeper Bartosz Klebaniuk had a nightmare game - he first let
go of Julien De Sart's shot allowing Gift Orban to tap in the rebound, then
hesitated a second too long on occasion of Sven Kums's high ball into the box,
allowing Orban to nod the ball over him, and Gent's third was the worst - a long
sequence of bad back passes by the Polish defence ended with Klebaniuk losing the
ball at the edge of his area, and Hugo Cuypers said thank you with a simple finish
into the gaping net: https://i.imgflip.com/7v96fx.gif
Cuypers soon added another following another lost ball by the Pogoń defence, and
in the second half Orban completed his hat trick with an angled shot from close
range that went straight through Klebaniuk.

An interesting Opta stat - following their 5-1 and 5-2 wins over Žilina Gent have
now become only the seventh team in the history of European Cups to score five
goals in three consecutive matches. The last previous team to manage that feat had
been Porto in the 2010-11 Europa League (when they went on to win it with an
irresistible Radamel Falcao up top).



August 10


Champions Path
(no seeding)


FK Struga (MKD) v FC Swift Hesper (LUX) 3-1 (2-0)
(Ibraimi 23', 40' (pen), 77' (pen); Stolz 46')

With the Biljanin Izvori stadium in Ohrid no longer adequate, Struga had to play
this match in the usual much more cheerless venue for Northern Macedonian teams in
European qualifiers, the Football Federation's training centre in Skopje. The
dreary surroundings apparently also affected Swift keeper Youn Czekanowicz,
because he completely misjudged a harmless long ball by Marjan Radeski allowing
Besart Ibraimi to tap into the empty net:
https://giphy.com/media/uwt7aMXvtl34vDvoTj/giphy.gif
Despite Dominik Stolz pulling one back right after the re-start, what made things
worse for the Luxembourgers was that they managed to concede the fifth and the
sixth penalty against of their European campaign so far (in five matches).

Crucial win for North Macedonia, who overtake Andorra in the UEFA ranking by 0.002
points and are now favourites to escape the Bottom Five.


Valmiera FC (LAT) v FK Partizani (ALB) 1-2 (1-0)
(Gustavo 27'; Cara 58', Rrapaj 78')

Brazilian in the East Gustavo Silva Souza, who had come to Latvia from
Internacional's youth system, measured a great shot into the top corner to give
Valmiera the lead, but Tedi Cara fired in a deserved equaliser after Roberts Veips
had slipped when trying to clear a cross, and thanks to Arinaldo Rrapaj's
unluckily deflected shot from distance the Albanian champions even got the winner.


Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT) v Ferencvárosi TC (HUN) 1-6 (0-1)
(Montebello 89'; Abu Fani 3', Zachariassen 51', B. Varga 53', 56', 65', Owusu 90')

The first half was not yet that one-sided even though Ferencváros still took the
lead through an excellent long-distance drive by their Israeli midfielder Mohammad
Abu Fani, but the Maltese champions were overwhelmed after the break by three
goals in five minutes, with Barnabás Varga, who at 28 has now made it to Hungary's
top club and into the national team after having started out with several seasons
spent in the Austrian fourth division, getting a hat trick. Luke Montebello at
least hammered in a nice consolation goal from the edge of the area.

So no group stage for Malta this year either.


FCV Farul Constanța (ROM) v FC Flora (EST) 3-0 (0-0)
(Alibec 48', Budescu 80', Queirós 90'+5)

Denis Alibec capped off a quick break with a solo run and precise shot from the
edge of the area into the bottom far corner of the net. Two late goals all but
decided the tie - following a dreadful lost ball in defence Alibec's shot came off
the post leaving Constantin Budescu with an empty-net finish:
https://giphy.com/media/6mwDuTCtPvvA3XJ47d/giphy.gif
and in stoppage time Rivaldo's son Rivaldinho (by now in his seventh season in
Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland) flicked on Alibec's corner kick for former
Portuguese under-21 international Diogo Queirós to head in at the far post:
https://giphy.com/media/QpFU2hH7T8yi2M1xhF/giphy.gif


KF Ballkani (KOS) v Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB) 2-0 (0-0)
(Korenica 59', Trashi 62')

The Imps's chances to reach their second European group phase all but evaporated
inside three minutes when Meriton Korenica first was completely forgotten by the
Gibraltarian defence: https://giphy.com/media/Ghbt0ErJfrzlfE0Y2T/giphy.gif and
subsequently Albanian international Lorenc Trashi volleyed in a corner kick:
https://giphy.com/media/SwXer1veueNi4iYeMS/giphy.gif



Main Path
* = seeded team


FC Tobol (KAZ)* v Derry City FC (IRL) 1-0 (0-0)
(Asrankulov 65')

This tie is a huge opportunity for both teams to reach a European play-off for the
very first time. Tobol were the dominant team from the start but struggled in the
final third until left-back Roman Asrankulov unleashed a great strike from the
corner of the area that left Derry keeper Maher no chance:
https://giphy.com/media/qLCxPIs9IrVNFXm9sj/giphy.gif
while Derry missed their biggest chance to equalise when Tobol keeper Konovalov's
miscued throw-out landed straight at the feet of Will Patching, but subsequently
Michael Duffy alone in on goal sent his shot wide.

BTW Derry City - famously based in Northern Ireland but playing in the ROI League
of Ireland since 1985 - have asked UEFA whether they could stage the return leg at
Windsor Park in Belfast, but as UEFA regulations stipulate that any alternative
venue must be located 'within the territory of its association' they will have to
play in Dublin's Tallaght Stadium instead. Seems like a bit of a lost opportunity
to re-integrate Derry into the Northern Irish football world if you ask me.


Sabah FK (AZE) v FK Partizan (SRB)* 2-0 (0-0)
(Letić 70', İsayev 74')

Surprisingly dominant performance by the Azeri - Aleksey İsayev had seen a penalty
saved by Partizan keeper Jovanović, but from the ensuing corner kick the ball came
to Bojan Letić outside the area, and Sabah's Bosnian left-back unleashed a perfect
volley into the top corner: https://giphy.com/media/1fRso23N6fURUuZ2vO/giphy.gif
A couple of minutes later İsayev got the slightest of touches on Letić's insidious
inswinging cross to make it two:
https://giphy.com/media/2CQP2AEKeKgNRv3f19/giphy.gif

Losing Partizan already at this stage would be quite the blow for the Serbian
coefficient.


FK Bodø/Glimt (NOR)* v FC Pyunik (ARM) 3-0 (2-0)
(Grønbæk 6', Moumbagna 31', Pellegrino 56')

Bodø at home are a force to be reckoned with, and they left the Armenians little
chance. The young Dane Albert Grønbæk twisted and turned his way through the box
to open the scoring: https://giphy.com/media/UcVyxHfYuj2gEKb2HY/giphy.gif
Cameroonian forward Faris Pemi Moumbagna tapped in Amahl Pellegrino's centre, and
Pellegrino likewise swept in a low cross by Tobias Gulliksen.


ACS Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (ROM)* v FC Aktobe (KAZ) 1-1 (0-0)
(Varga 89'; Santana 65')

Brazilian in the East Élder Santana headed in Maksim Samorodov's corner kick to
give Aktobe the surprise lead, but a late volley by the Hungarian substitute
Roland Varga was deflected in for a somewhat lucky equaliser:
https://giphy.com/media/qF57sbvPUAysBuVarD/giphy.gif


FC Santa Coloma (AND) v AZ (NED)* 0-1 (0-0)
(Mihailovic 75')

The Andorran underdogs held on for the longest time, until Yukinari Sugawara's
free-kick from the left side was headed in by US international Djordje Mihailovic,
which would remain AZ's only shot on target in the entire match.


Neftçi PFK (AZE) v Beşiktaş JK (TUR)* 1-3 (0-2)
(Lebon 79'; Aboubakar 14', Muleka 23', Uçan 62')

In the previous round I had wondered about two European ties taking place on the
same evening in Belfast, but this time around there were even three European
matches being played simultaneously in Baku - Qarabağ hosted HJK in the Tofiq
Bahramov Republican Stadium, Sabah played Partizan in the Alinja Arena, while this
one took place in the Neftçi Arena, with all three stadiums located within a ten-
kilometre radius.

At least it appears like three Baku teams in Europe won't be a problem for very
much longer, as Beşiktaş took care of business early - a piece of trickery by
Vincent Aboubakar gave the Turks the opener:
https://giphy.com/media/EiOVEa5KN1W7XkKb3h/giphy.gif
Jackson Muleka tapped in the second from what looked like an offside position, and
a terrible square pass by Neftçi's Ivorian right-back Erwin Koffi was duly
punished by Salih Uçan: https://giphy.com/media/6srgXv8kmxstQsu97U/giphy.gif
Frenchman Keelan Lebon at least scored a consolation goal on the break:
https://giphy.com/media/cNeaomxmKXNbIyuCk2/giphy.gif


AC Omonoia (CYP) v FC Midtjylland (DEN)* 1-0 (1-0)
(Bezus 38')

FCM had more and better opportunities, and saw a robust penalty shout denied, but
a string of mistakes still gave the Cypriots the narrow and somewhat surprising
home win - young Swedish mdifielder Armin Gigović played a horrible pass straight
into the feet of Roman Bezus, and the Ukrainian, who has now scored six of
Omonoia's eight European goals this season, let off a rather weak shot that
bobbled straight over the pads of FCM keeper Lössl:
https://giphy.com/media/ZfpbownHJDkECOWOO9/giphy.gif


Legia Warszawa (POL)* v FK Austria Wien (AUT) 1-2 (0-1)
(Muçi 87'; Husković 11', 56')

A terrible back pass by Legia's Colombian midfielder Juergen Elitim led to Dominik
Fitz setting up Muharrem ('Muki') Husković with an easy empty-net finish:
https://giphy.com/media/YX7a9ZizzOUbk8QCjh/giphy.gif
Husković, back in Austria's squad after having missed most of last season because
of a horrific car accident (not caused by him) last October, also got the second
when he nodded in Manuel Polster's pin-point cross:
https://giphy.com/media/D8SLYxnFM0tRfbvTZn/giphy.gif
At the other end Austria's usual defensive frailties were by no means resolved,
but former Bayern II keeper Christian Früchtl had an inspired game in the Austrian
net to maintain the clean sheet until three minutes from time when Albanian
substitute Ernest Muçi got Legia a deserved goal when he headed in a cross by
Makanu Baku, Ridle Baku's slightly less successful twin brother.


FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)* v Gżira United FC (MLT) 4-0 (2-0)
(Bucha 10', Durosinmi 23', Šulc 73', Kopic 90'+4)

As expected the end of the line for the plucky Maltese. Pavel Bucha's inswinging
cross made it all the way into the far corner:
https://giphy.com/media/2fChrC9nKUlLRH4ZdH/giphy.gif
Nigerian striker Rafiu Durosinmi got the second following a nice passing move:
https://giphy.com/media/SqjbClgFRTOpC1SAkE/giphy.gif
and after Viktoria had hit the woodwork a couple of times Pavel Šulc was left all
alone in the box to fire in the Czechs' third:
https://giphy.com/media/lnLNxBOGesqTYTJE0k/giphy.gif
Jan Kopic likewise had been completely forgotten by the Maltese defence when he
scored the fourth in stoppage time:
https://giphy.com/media/qBxusDrHz6b6IJpVEy/giphy.gif


Rosenborg BK (NOR)* v Heart of Midlothian FC (SCO) 2-1 (2-0)
(Frederiksen 15', Nelson 45'+2; Shankland 79')

Rosenborg have recovered a bit in the Norwegian Eliteserien in recent weeks, and
they also took an early lead against Hearts when Emil Frederiksen from short range
bungled in a cross by 16-year-old Norwegian talent Sverre Nypan. There are now
professional football players that haven't been born when Italy won the World Cup.
Nypan also provided the assist for Canadian youngster Jayden Nelson to score
Rosenborg's second: https://giphy.com/media/VU1V9M3qy3YseHaxJ3/giphy.gif
Nevertheless, Lawrence Shankland's late header from Stephen Kingsley's looping
cross still gives the Scots every chance in the return leg.


FC Dila Gori (GEO) v APOEL FC (CYP)* 0-2 (0-1)
(Crespo 45'+1, Efrem 64'; Red Card: Alef Santos (Dil) 87')

Dila's Ukrainian keeper Kucherenko did well to parry Giorgi Kvilitaia's scissor
kick, but he was helpless against the rebound by 36-year-old former Sevilla and
PAOK defender José Ángel Crespo:
https://giphy.com/media/hnEgxKDci2kuvvCPOy/giphy.gif
Kucherenko did not do nearly as well when he let Georgios Efrem's free-kick go
straight through him: https://giphy.com/media/TzcBCuiLmXQd46yhRC/giphy.gif
Late on Brazilian in the East Alef Santos saw a straight red for pulling down the
Argentine substitute Lucas Villafáñez as last man.

Nine wins out of twelve European matches so far for the Cypriot teams.


Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)* v PFC Levski Sofia (BUL) 0-0 (0-0)

Levski actually had the more dangerous chances, but Asen Mitkov's shot was
deflected just wide by Mariano Bareiro's last-second tackle, and Hapoel keeper
Ofir Marciano, back in Israel after several seasons with Hibs and Feyenoord,
parried a point-blank header by Levski's Brazilian forward Ronaldo.


NK Celje (SLO)* v FC Neman Grodno (BLR) 1-0 (0-0)
(Ikwuemesi 69')

As with the Tobol/Derry tie, a big chance for both to reach a first ever European
playoff round. In an even match, young Nigerian striker Chukwubuikem Ikwuemesi
headed in Luka Bobičanec's cross for the only goal.


FC Arouca (POR)* v SK Brann (NOR) 2-1 (1-0)
(Mújica 23', González 74'; Warming 80')

Arouca's second ever European adventure (after the 2016-17 Europa League
qualifiers where they were eliminated after extra time in the playoffs by
Olympiacos) started well when their Spanish winger and La Masia product Rafa
Mújica ran onto a through ball by his compatriot Cristo González (one league match
for Real Madrid back in 2019) and rounded Brann keeper Dyngeland:
https://giphy.com/media/VtUE0InSGgMPwDgs5u/giphy.gif
Mújica later returned the favour by providing the ball for González to roll it in:
https://giphy.com/media/SGy90FKmvPS1hnxhfR/giphy.gif
But the Norwegians weren't beaten yet, and just after Arouca's Uruguayan keeper De
Arruabarrena had denied Brann's Danish forward Frederik Børsting, another Dane
pulled one back as Magnus Warming beat Arouca's English centre-back Jerome Opoku
to a through ball and chipped over De Arruabarrena:
https://giphy.com/media/X7A1MF9fCEVPHYyNAA/giphy.gif


Adana Demirspor (TUR)* v NK Osijek (CRO) 5-1 (2-0)
(Svensson 3', Sarı 16', C. Ndiaye 52', 67' (pen), Erdoğan 88'; Gržan 73' (pen))

Norwegian right-back Jonas Svensson opened the scoring with a piledriver into the
bottom corner: https://giphy.com/media/6C5RT0MVaGdIJugf6W/giphy.gif
Following some smooth passing French-Turkish winger Yusuf Sarı made it two at the
second attempt: https://giphy.com/media/JDgTsZ34VzJLKLggL8/giphy.gif
After the break Senegalese striker Cherif Ndiaye got a brace (the second from the
spot following an egregious dive by Yusuf Sarı), Osijek scored a consolation goal
also from the spot after Svensson had scythed down Kristijan Lovrić, and Yusuf
Erdoğan capped off an excellent performance by the Turks with a perfectly curved
shot into the top corner: https://giphy.com/media/KbOY24ndBW0R2ldJ95/giphy.gif


B36 (FAR) v HNK Rijeka (CRO)* 1-3 (1-1)
(Agnarsson 33'; Janković 41' (pen), Goda 48', Radeljić 88')

For a short while Bóltfelagið 1936 could hope to follow in Klaksvík's footsteps,
as Hannes Agnarsson tapped in Michał Przybylski's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/jjA7uZwDMAsZmxbjKq/giphy.gif
but soon afterwards Rijeka were awarded a penalty even though Przybylski appeared
to have handled the ball just outside the box. Left-back Bruno Goda headed the
Croatians in front right after the break from Marco Pašalić's corner kick, and
late on Rijeka's Bosnian centre-back Stjepan Radeljić at the far post tapped in
a free-kick by former Fiorentina hope Toni Fruk.


FC Twente (NED)* v Riga FC (LAT) 2-0 (1-0)
(Sampsted 11', Rots 67')

Twente's Icelandic right-back Alfons Sampsted (like e.g. Guðjohnsen one of the few
Icelandic players with a proper last name and not just a patronymic) gave the
Dutch the early lead from young Norwegian Mathias Kjølø's assist:
https://giphy.com/media/h3jidRlXBBwlesqqIz/giphy.gif
and Daan Rots got the second by volleying in a loose ball in the box:
https://giphy.com/media/a3ZHXY4nTFm3oXGILo/giphy.gif


Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)* v NK Maribor (SLO) 3-1 (0-0)
(Rodrigo Becão 58', Kahveci 62', Tadić 90'+3 (pen); Strajnar 72')

Two quick goals after the break broke the Slovenian resistance - former Udinese
centre-back Rodrigo Becão headed in his first goal for his new club from Sebastian
Szymański's corner kick, and İrfan Kahveci tapped in a low cross, likewise
provided by Fenerbahçe's new Polish signing. 19-year-old left-back Mark Strajnar
pulled one back for Maribor from Josip Iličić's perfectly weighted through ball
(the old man still got it): https://giphy.com/media/iFqc3Q4GDJ7Ovj6gCP/giphy.gif
but a last-gasp penalty despatched by Dušan Tadić made sure of a comfortable home
win.

Coefficient points-wise this is shaping up to be another excellent season for
Turkey, with their strongest line-up romping through the qualifiers and newcomers
Adana Demirspor keeping up the pace. 10 wins 2 draws so far. Reaching the Top 9 is
a distinct possibility this year, after having started out in 20th two seasons
ago.


Club Brugge KV (BEL)* v KA (ISL) 5-1 (4-0)
(Spileers 10', Vanaken 40', Skov Olsen 41', Igor Thiago 45' (pen), Yaremchuk 77';
Willard 60')

End of the road for the plucky Icelanders as well. 18-year-old Jorne Spileers
opened the scoring with a sumptuous shot from outside the box, Hans Vanaken headed
in Antonio Nusa's corner kick, and on the break Nusa's Norwegian compatriot Hugo
Vetlesen released Andreas Skov Olsen for the third:
https://giphy.com/media/V6ojsOPb3C2hCQPuOS/giphy.gif
Former Ludogrets Brazilian Igor Thiago added the fourth from the spot, but at
least the team from Akureyri got a consolation goal when their Scottish substitute
Harley Willard (he had made his way from Southampton's academy to Iceland via
Cambodia) swept in a cross by Jakob Snær Árnason:
https://giphy.com/media/gXlXkgCs0vJhzGrvT7/giphy.gif
Roman Yaremchuk still volleyed in Maxim De Cuyper's cross for Brugge's fifth.


KKS Lech Poznań (POL)* v FC Spartak Trnava (SLK) 2-1 (0-0)
(Marchwiński 46', Velde 63'; Štetina 87')

Filip Marchwiński stabbed in a cross by Lech's Portuguese right-back Joel Pereira,
and Kristoffer Velde finished off a one-two with Marchwiński to make it two:
https://giphy.com/media/HLmh62hgD5OwUF0zYd/giphy.gif
but late on the Polish defence failed to clear a free-kick, and Lukáš Štetina
volleyed in to give the Slovakians a fighting chance in the return leg.


Aris FC (GRE) v FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)* 1-0 (0-0)
(Palma 69' (pen))

A poor match, especially by Dynamo, was decided when Oleksandr Syrota handled the
ball in the box, and Honduran striker Luis Palma converted the resulting penalty.


Hibernian FC (SCO) v FC Luzern (SUI)* 3-1 (0-0)
(Newell 46', Vente 73', Obita 90'; Beka 56')

Joe Newell's rocket into the top corner gave Hibs the lead, Luzern's Swiss-Kosovan
centre-back Ismajl Beka headed in Max Meyer's corner kick (it feels like a long
time since he was one of Schalke's young stars, but he's still only 27) for the
equaliser, but Hibs's new Dutch striker Dylan Vente headed in from short range
following a great move by a fellow new signing, 36-year-old A-League legend Adam
Le Fondre: https://giphy.com/media/Hdn7ZrQ7EIHPSdMIUl/giphy.gif
Late on another freshly signed Englishman, former Reading winger Jordan Obita,
scored Hibs's third on the break.


FC FCSB (ROM)* v FC Nordsjælland (DEN) 0-0 (0-0)
(Red Card: Nagalo (Nor) 59')

Despite FCN finishing the match in ten after Burkinabé international Adamo Nagalo
had seen a second yellow, not-Steaua didn't register a single shot on goal, and
in stoppage time the Danes could even have won it, but Benjamin Nygren's free-kick
crashed off the crossbar: https://giphy.com/media/M7eOnUOZh2SoQrnT0n/giphy.gif


SK Rapid Wien (AUT)* v Debreceni VSC (HUN) 0-0 (0-0)

The Dude Balázs Dzsudzsák still knows how to take free-kicks, and in the first
half he sent one against the left post. Late on, Debrecen's Greek substitute
Alexandros Kyziridis also saw his shot come off the woodwork.

Shades of Rapid's disaster against Vaduz last year, especially in the terrible
second half.


HNK Hajduk Split (CRO) v PAOK FC (GRE)* 0-0 (0-0)

No major crowd problems after all, thankfully. Hajduk hit the woodwork twice, once
early on through young Canadian-Croatian midfielder Niko Sigur, whose blistering
shot came crashing off the left upright, and once when Marko Livaja's mishit cross
turned into a dangerous lob that came off the far post.



Ciao,
Werner

Werner Pichler

unread,
Aug 19, 2023, 6:42:14 PM8/19/23
to
Europa Conference League 3rd Qualifying Round, 2nd leg
Teams in CAPITALS (except FCSB, KA and B36) through to ECLPO


August 16


FC Flora (EST) v FCV FARUL CONSTANȚA (ROM) 0-2 (0-2), 0-5 on aggregate
(Rivaldinho 4', Budescu 18')

Rivaldo's son bungled Tudor Băluță's miscued shot over the line at the far post,
and with the outside of his foot Constantin Budescu scored a brilliant second from
the edge of the area. Flora had numerous chances to score, but proved to be
particularly inept in front of the Farul net, and so Estonia finish a disastrous
European season with one draw and nine defeats in ten matches. That's worse than
even San Marino.



August 17


Champions Path
(no seeding)


Lincoln Red Imps FC (GIB) v KF BALLKANI (KOS) 1-3 (0-0), 1-5 on aggregate
(Juampe 66'; Korenica 48', Kuč 64', Zyba 90'+8)

Meriton Korenica dashed Gibraltarian hopes with a fine shot from the edge of the
area, even though Imps keeper Coleing could at least have tried to save it:
https://giphy.com/media/L48xcYshcV6pHXpYOM/giphy.gif
Ballkani's Montenegrin captain Edvin Kuč had acres of space in the box to fire in
the second, and while 39-year-old Spanish veteran Juampe got the Imps a
consolation goal, following a corner kick Qëndrim Zyba tapped in Ballkani's third
in stoppage time.

The last Gibraltarian team is eliminated. With just one draw out of eight matches
that was their worst European season in quite a while.


FERENCVÁROSI TC (HUN) v Ħamrun Spartans FC (MLT) 2-1 (1-1), 8-2 on aggregate
(Traoré 41', Varga 69'; Mbong 6')

The tie had already been decided after the first leg, but the Maltese champions at
least managed to take the early lead through Joseph Mbong's header. Still, Adama
Traoré nodded in the equaliser and Barnabás Varga back-heeled in yet another
cross for the winner, so no coefficient points for Malta after all.


FK PARTIZANI (ALB) v Valmiera FC (LAT) 1-0 (1-0), 3-1 on aggregate
(Cara 21' (pen))

Partizani were awarded one of those penalties where a player manages to stick a
leg in between a defender who's trying to clear and the ball, and apart from
Valmiera hitting the woodwork once late on, the Albanians held on to the result
with comparable ease.


FC Swift Hesper (LUX) v FK STRUGA (MKD) 2-1 (0-1), 3-4 on aggregate
(Hemkemeier 70', Akhalaia 90'+4; Ibraimi 17'; Red Cards: Radeski (Str) 15',
Nouvier (Swi) 90'+11)

Even though Marjan Radeski was sent off already early on for a retaliatory kick
against Simão Martins, the North Macedonian champions with their only effort on
target of the entire match took the lead when Besart Ibraimi headed in Vangjel
Zguro's cross: https://giphy.com/media/ULUsAE9DuX3ozCTgUk/giphy.gif
Swift finally got the equaliser thanks to a grass-cutter by their Brazilian
substitute Gustavo Hemkemeier:
https://giphy.com/media/hB9EH6HwNvz1Zx516u/giphy.gif
and in the 94th minute young Moldovan striker Lado Akhalaia headed in a corner
kick, so the remaining minutes of stoppage time were predictably hectic, but the
only thing that happened was Bryan Nouvier collecting a second yellow.



Main Path
* = seeded team


FC Aktobe (KAZ) v ACS SEPSI OSK SFÂNTU GHEORGHE (ROM)* 0-1 (0-0), 1-2 on aggregate
(Păun 66')

A game of few chances was decided for the Hungarian Romanians when Nicolae Păun
headed in Marius Ștefănescu's corner kick.


MKS Pogoń Szczecin (POL) v KAA GENT (BEL)* 2-1 (0-0), 2-6 on aggregate
(Koulouris 79', 86'; Cuypers 90'+5)

The Belgians' streak of five goals scored in Europe ended as Pogoń bowed out with
dignity, although their first goal was a gift by Genk keeper Roef:
https://giphy.com/media/9fTL0ZEzZmvNob2Dmc/giphy.gif


FC Pyunik (ARM) v FK BODØ/GLIMT (NOR)* 0-3 (0-1), 0-6 on aggregate
(Pellegrino 43' (pen), Berg 49', Gulliksen 54')

Easy win for Bodø in Yerevan as well, thanks to a penalty and two shots from
distance.

All four Armenian teams have been eliminated, but points-wise it's still been an
average European season for them.


MACCABI TEL AVIV FC (ISR)* v AEK Larnaca FC (CYP) 1-0 (0-0), 2-1 on aggregate
(Zahavi 86' (pen))

Things had gone swimmingly well for the Cypriot teams up to this point, but AEK
were the first ones to fall as at the end of a very close game one rash tackle by
Ángel García against Maccabi's Angolan substitute Felício Milson led to a penalty
that was expertly despatched by who else but Eran Zahavi.


FC DYNAMO KYIV (UKR)* v Aris FC (GRE) 2-1 aet (1-1, 2-1), 2-2 on aggregate, Dynamo win 6-5 on penalties
(Voloshyn 45', Karavaev 85'; Đurasek 39'; Red Card: Pavičić (Ari) 106')

The Ukrainians played this in Rapid Bucharest's Superbet Arena. Aris's newly
signed Croatian midfielder Neven Đurasek volleyed in Luis Palma's cross to give
the Greeks a two-goal aggregate lead:
https://giphy.com/media/En0rQUYo6g2ImA8dnN/giphy.gif
but Dynamo managed to get the important equaliser before the break through
youngster Nazar Voloshyn who met Serhiy Sydorchuk's long ball over the top with a
well-placed header: https://giphy.com/media/CCFgNLQcOw54Z3qJtB/giphy.gif
Another long and high ball that eluded the Greek defence allowed Oleksandr
Karavayev to volley in at the far post:
https://giphy.com/media/vB5TkSfOjWtx6nzAff/giphy.gif
and so the match went to extra time, where Aris's Croatian substitute Domagoj
Pavičić saw a second yellow, and finally to penalties where Moses Odubaju skied
the decisive spot kick. Has nobody told the Greeks that it's a bad idea to let an
Englishman take one of these?


FK Austria Wien (AUT) v LEGIA WARSZAWA (POL)* 3-5 (0-2), 5-6 on aggregate
(Gruber 69', 83', Ranftl 90'+7; Juergen 39', Gual 45'+1, Pekhart 59', Rosołek 87',
Muçi 90'+10; Red Card: Jukić (Aus) 89')

Now that was painful to watch. Despite their home defeat Legia had taken the
aggregate lead against a strangely listless Austria side already in the first half
after their Colombian midfielder Juergen Elitim had rifled in a loose ball and new
Spanish forward Marc Gual had headed in Bartosz Slisz's cross at the far post:
https://giphy.com/media/A0VtEWBYVVVNOFdBtf/giphy.gif
Things didn't look better early in the second half either, and the Czech veteran
Tomáš Pekhart finished off another easy move with another tap-in:
https://giphy.com/media/VPg6SijS1y1Xb2eu6k/giphy.gif
But as bad as Austria are at defending, in attack they are actually quite decent,
and Andi Gruber scored with a lovely shot into the top corner to make it a one-
goal game: https://giphy.com/media/kJDDcd1EIwTQ60aqmk/giphy.gif
The match felt very different at this point with Austria suddenly pushing, and
seven minutes from time Gruber also collected Dominik Fitz's weighted ball over
the top to level the aggregate score:
https://giphy.com/media/IfJ4tS9v34MAKGZyVr/giphy.gif
Now a clever team that knows how to defend would have shut up shop at this point,
but as Austria are neither a clever team nor know how to defend they conceded just
minutes later when they allowed the substitute Maciej Rosołek to sweep in Paweł
Wszołek's feed: https://giphy.com/media/mErI3JtVomv6aEy8VK/giphy.gif
Aleksander Jukić then did his team a further disservice when he got suckered into
a retaliatory headbutt against Slisz, but ten-man Austria miraculously still
managed to once more get the aggregate equaliser as in the seventh minute of
stoppage time Reinhold Ranftl slid in to turn in Johannes Handl's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/kJZi11S3uXiLUFxNMx/giphy.gif
Now a CLEVER TEAM that KNOWS HOW TO DEFEND would have SHUT UP SHOP, but in the
101st minute this happened instead:
https://giphy.com/media/RyqmWpRXZbRfY9DVT3/giphy.gif

BTW I've come completely around regarding the abolishment of the Away Goal Rule.
It's a good thing. There have already been many examples of matches like this
one which wouldn't have been possible if AGR were still in force - the tie would
have effectively been over at 0-3, and the remaining minutes a slog.


PFC LEVSKI SOFIA (BUL) v Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC (ISR)* 2-1 (1-0), 2-1 on aggregate
(Welton Felipe 15', Ronaldo 90'+6; Stoyanov 79')

Brazilian in the East Welton Felipe stole in at the far post to head in Patrik-
Gabriel Galchev's cross: https://giphy.com/media/BaGESYtSEMWHzrrO49/giphy.gif
A Bulgarian equalised for Be'er Sheva when Yoni Stoyanov volleyed in from the edge
of the D after the ball had fallen to him from a corner kick, but in the last
minute of stoppage time a shot by the young Spanish-Moroccan substitute Jawad El
Jemili was blocked in the box, and former Bahia forward Ronaldo rifled in the
loose ball: https://giphy.com/media/CWRjPkTRZfvgYURicP/giphy.gif

A rare, and much-needed success for Bulgarian club football. Eintracht Frankfurt
next.


Gżira United FC (MLT) v FC VIKTORIA PLZEŇ (CZE)* 0-2 (0-0), 0-6 on aggregate
(Traoré 47', Vlkanova 70')

Viktoria's Colombian left-back Jhon Mosquera headed a cross back across goal for
Ivorian midfielder Ibrahim Traoré to volley in, and Adam Vlkanova fired an angled
shot from the edge of the box past Gżira keeper Cassar:
https://giphy.com/media/pOkZB9q6ruom4BCcej/giphy.gif
as the last remaining Maltese team bowed out without getting another coefficient
point. It's been an average European season for them.


SK BRANN (NOR) v FC Arouca (POR)* 3-1 (3-0), 4-3 on aggregate
(Myhre 6', Knudsen 42', Finne 45'; Sylla 57'; Red Card: Galović (Aro) 90'+3)

Brann had already equalised the aggregate score after just six minutes as Felix
Horn Myhre tapped in the rebound after Magnus Warming's header had come off the
post: https://giphy.com/media/CbbbxASjeHkwp1gIWP/giphy.gif
Two headers just before the break then sank the Portuguese, Fredrik Pallesen
Knudsen met Sander Kartum's corner kick with a bullet effort, and Bård Finne
nodded in a cross by Oslo-born one-time Chile international Niklas Castro. Arouca
pulled one back after the break thanks to a deflected shot by their Guinean
midfielder Morlaye Sylla, but the second goal that would have sent the tie to
extra time eluded them, and in stoppage time Croatian centre-back Nino Galović
also saw a second yellow.

So both Portuguese Europa Conference League teams have already been eliminated at
the first hurdle. No matter what the Big 3, and Braga, manage to accomplish in
Europe, the huge drop-off in quality behind those four teams dooms Portugal's
pretensions compared to France and the Netherlands.


Riga FC (LAT) v FC TWENTE (NED)* 0-3 (0-0), 0-5 on aggregate
(Rots 57', Besselink 90', Ünüvar 90'+2)

Two stoppage time goals skewed the aggregate result a bit, but overall an easy win
for Twente as the last Latvian team bowed out, in what was a subpar European
season for them.


APOEL FC (CYP)* v FC Dila Gori (GEO) 1-0 (0-0), 3-0 on aggregate
(Ndongala 48')

The last remaining Georgian team also had no realistic chance to make up the
first-leg deficit. Former Genk winger Dieumerci Ndongala headed in Lucas
Villafáñez's cross on the break for the sole goal.


FC NORDSJÆLLAND (DEN) v FC FCSB (ROM)* 2-0 (1-0), 2-0 on aggregate
(Ingvartsen 43' (pen), 85'; Red Card: Chiricheş (FCS) 63')

In the first match it had been a FCN player that had seen a second yellow at the
hour mark, but this time around it was the Romanian veteran Vlad Chiricheş who was
sent off with two bookings. At that point the Danes had already taken the lead
thanks to a controversial penalty awarded for Alexandru Pantea's shoulder grab on
Mohamed Diamonde, and after having scored from the spot the former Union Berlin
and Mainz striker Marcus Ingvartsen also put the final nail in not-Steaua's coffin
when he fired in from Ghanaian youngster Ibrahim Osman's cheeky back-heel:
https://giphy.com/media/rTthBptySO2oi4ElJr/giphy.gif


PAOK FC (GRE)* v HNK Hajduk Split (CRO) 3-0 (1-0), 3-0 on aggregate
(Schwab 12' (pen), A. Živković 79', 85')

Croatian teams have an atrocious record against Greek opposition, and that didn't
change in Thessaloniki either. Hajduk could have taken the lead when PAOK's
Croatian keeper Kotarski played a bad pass right onto the chest of Hajduk's new
Belgian signing Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, but on the follow-up Konstantinos Koulierakis
blocked Marko Livaja's shot with a last-gasp tackle. Instead, Odjidja-Ofoe at the
other end tripped Giannis Konstantelias in the box, and PAOK's Austrian captain
Stefan Schwab converted from the spot. Two late goals by Serbian striker Andrija
Živković decided the tie for good, he first rifled in from close range after the
Hajduk defence had lost the ball in front of their own area:
https://giphy.com/media/N9AYUkmLvppwdmQzyk/giphy.gif
and then scored with a deflected free-kick:
https://giphy.com/media/zEEILgHjGzSOyilzby/giphy.gif


FC MIDTJYLLAND (DEN)* v AC Omonoia (CYP) 5-1 (3-1), 5-2 on aggregate
(Cho 27' (pen), Franculino 43', 45'+2, 64', Gigović 80'; Kakoullis 31';
Red Card: Kousoulos 25')

The decisive moment of the tie came after twenty-five minutes when Omonoia
captain Ioannis Kousoulos was sent off for a last-man foul in the box against
Brazilian in the North Charles, and while the penalty seemed obvious, the red card
was more than controversial as it appeared like Kousoulos had indeed challenged
for the ball. In any case, Midtjylland's new Korean signing Cho Gue-sung made no
mistake from the spot. Ten-man Omonoia then actually took the aggregate lead
again, as Andronikos Kakoullis beat his marker Juninho to run onto Roman Bezus's
perfectly weighted long ball and lift it past FCM keeper Lössl:
https://giphy.com/media/EjlHYfkd6PKC66uEml/giphy.gif
But another new signing, 19-year-old Guinea-Bissauan forward Franculino Djú, who
had arrived in Herning from Benfica's academy, soon made sure of FCM's
qualification to the ECL playoffs - he headed in Kristoffer Olsson's cross, tapped
in Paulinho's centre at the far post, and completed his hat trick with a lovely
scissor kick after Sory Kaba had headed down Oliver Sørensen's cross:
https://giphy.com/media/WpVJVgUwr0gqPjSfrP/giphy.gif
Swedish midfielder Armin Gigović completed the rout with a precise finish from
just inside the box.


FC Neman Grodno (BLR) v NK CELJE (SLO)* 1-4 (0-2), 1-5 on aggregate
(Shukurov 82'; Bobičanec 21', 55', Lamy 35', 67')

Gyirmót's stadium in the suburbs of Győr is way closer to Celje than to Belarus,
and the Slovenians evidently felt more at home as they took a commanding lead
thanks to braces by Croatian winger Luka Bobičanec and French journeyman forward
Julien Lamy. Kyrgyz international Alimardon Shukurov at least got a consolation
goal.


BEŞIKTAŞ JK (TUR)* v Neftçi PFK (AZE) 2-1 (0-1), 5-2 on aggregate
(Aboubakar 57', Muleka 71'; Mahmudov 36')

Beşiktaş had to suffer a little bit, as Emin Mahmudov's angled finish meant that
for a while the Azeri were just one goal away from making up the first-leg
deficit: https://giphy.com/media/705AGTYjw1y7Tt6MQ7/giphy.gif
But Vincent Aboubakar calmed Turkish nerves with a powerful curled shot from just
inside the area, and Jackson Muleka's dogged perseverance even gave them the win:
https://giphy.com/media/SWDDCDTuc6JyzMNZCe/giphy.gif


NK Osijek (CRO) v ADANA DEMIRSPOR (TUR)* 3-2 (1-1), 4-7 on aggregate
(Nejašmić 43', Caktaš 59', Gržan 82' (pen); Sarı 31', Erdoğan 90'+1)

A proper comeback was never likely, especially after Yusuf Sarı had slotted in
Younes Belhanda's assist: https://giphy.com/media/ehaicopmgldiFw2ckf/giphy.gif
but Osijek showed a creditable performance and got the next three goals through
Darko Nejašmić's header from a corner kick, Mijo Caktaš volleying in a loose ball
at the third attempt: https://giphy.com/media/imlILVD0Pw1XuVPU3O/giphy.gif
and Šime Gržan's penalty following Semih Güler's slightly mistimed love tap:
https://giphy.com/media/UxhM1fhEi9cjVuTKOB/giphy.gif
Two more goals were too tall an order though, and late on Yusuf Erdoğan finished
off a break by tapping in Sarı's cross.


KA (ISL) v CLUB BRUGGE KV (BEL)* 1-5 (0-2), 2-10 on aggregate
(Petersen 59'; Boyata 7', Skóraś 45'+3, Yaremchuk 57', 65', 75';
Red Card: Edmundsson (KA) 90'+2)

Just as one-sided as the first leg, as KA had huge problems defending crosses all
match long, and they also gifted Yaremchuk his second with a hospital pass. At
least Faroese striker Pætur Petersen got a nice consolation goal with a shot from
twenty metres, while Joan Simun Edmundsson, the other Faroese in KA's team, saw a
second yellow in stoppage time.


FC SPARTAK TRNAVA (SLK) v KKS Lech Poznań (POL)* 3-1 (1-0), 4-3 on aggregate
(Ofori 37', Daniel 50', Štetina 74'; Velde 63')

Ghanaian winger Kelvin Ofori showed great control to collect a long ball and slot
it past Lech keeper Bednarek: https://giphy.com/media/vemNT6OBJYkGsazs6j/giphy.gif
Erik Daniel punished lax Polish defending by firing in Spartak's second from close
range after Ofori's shot had been blocked:
https://giphy.com/media/ChhOzHQNy1HVDyxOQm/giphy.gif
Lech's Norwegian winger Kristoffer Velde curled in a great shot to level the
aggregate score again: https://giphy.com/media/rwCs4QL9u7xcdOEYBT/giphy.gif
but a stunning goal decided the tie - Kristián Koštrna slid in to reach a ball
just before the goal line, and Lukáš Štetina met the cross with a great bicycle
kick: https://giphy.com/media/d14jDZt9Wv3jfFXq0k/giphy.gif

As for the Polish clubs, you win some you lose some.


HNK RIJEKA (CRO)* v B36 (FAR) 2-0 (1-0), 5-1 on aggregate
(Pašalić 14', Grgić 82')

Easy home win for Rijeka thanks to Marco Pašalić's header from a corner kick,
and Alen Grgić smashing one in into the far corner:
https://giphy.com/media/CFEgt4ZUfcgKxb6HSa/giphy.gif


NK Maribor (SLO) v FENERBAHÇE SK (TUR)* 0-3 (0-1), 1-6 on aggregate
(Kahveci 17', Szymański 77', Tadić 81')

İrfan Kahveci volleyed in Batshuayi's cross at the far post, and any remaining
Slovenian hopes were dashed when Arnel Jakupović's penalty was saved by Fener
keeper Eğribayat. In the second half the match was interrupted for several minutes
because of fights breaking out between sets of Slovenian and Turkish fans, and
after the game was resumed Fenerbahçe scored twice more, Sebastian Szymański sent
a great strike into the top corner:
https://giphy.com/media/2Gsej8IYs2mZ6G6ApC/giphy.gif
and Dušan Tadić slotted in Joshua King's cut-back cross.


AZ (NED)* v FC Santa Coloma (AND) 2-0 (1-0), 3-0 on aggregate
(Van Bommel 41', Lahdo 78')

Mark van Bommel's 19-year-old son Ruben sent a delightful lob over Santa Coloma
keeper Josep Gómes: https://giphy.com/media/yOBO2uTetHcBmi0KlE/giphy.gif
and the young Swedish substitute Mayckel Lahdo finished off a break after US boy
Djordje Mihailovic had done all the hard work:
https://giphy.com/media/AonlzQQEvuug9gejgz/giphy.gif

A really creditable performance by FCSC, but not enough to help Andorra to get out
of the Bottom Five. Thanks to Struga North Macedonia have pipped them to the post
by 0.002 coefficient points.


FC Luzern (SUI)* v HIBERNIAN FC (SCO) 2-2 (1-1), 3-5 on aggregate
(Kadák 16', Ademi 67'; Youan 10', Boyle 73')

Frenchman Élie Youan gave Hibs the lead on the break thanks to a deflected shot
that curved over Luzern's young keeper Loretz: