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2013-14 Champions League Club Preview: Shirak F.C
Will Shirak F.C. advance to second qualifying round
On June 24,2013 Shirak F.C. from the Armenian Premier League will found out who their opponent will be in the first qualifying round of the 2013-14 Champions League Tourney. The last time this Aremnian football club was in the Champions League was for the 2000/01 tourney. They lost 3-2 on aggregate to BATE Borisov.
The Armenian Premier League is ranked 50th out of 53 leagues represented in this tourney with a 2.208 league ranking. Shirak themselves have a club coefficient of .850 one of the lowest for any club in tourney. Last year they played in the Europa League. In the first qualifying round they defeated Rudar PljevlJa 2-1 on aggregate. In the second qualifying round they were defeated by Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv 3-0 on aggregate.
The ultimate goal for any club is to reach Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon,Portugal but that is very unlikely for clubs from Armenian. The first leg of the first qualifying round will be played on July 2nd or 3rd with the second leg being played on July 9th or 10th. Over the past five Champions League tourneys clubs from the Armenian Premier League have lost their first ties every year. Last Year Ulisses lost 2-0 against Sheriff Tiraspol in the second qualifying round. The previous four years Pyunik represented the Armenian Premier League. In 2008-09 they lost 3-0 to Anorthosis in the first qualifying round. In 2009-10 they lost 3-0 to Dinamo Zagreb in the second qualifying round. In 2010-11 the lost to Partizan 4-1 in the second qualifying round. In 2011-12 the lost 9-1 to Viktoria Plzen in the second qualifying round. Armenian football is on the decline. From 2008-09 they have dropped from the 43rd ranked league to their current standing at 50th.
Shirak looks to change all that. Led by manager Vardan Bichakhchyan they look to advance to the second qualifying round and get Armenian football back on track. Located in Gyumri, Armenia Shirak finished first in the 2012-13 Armenian Premier League. Over the 42 matches that they played during the year they won 26 matches. They drew ten matches and lost only six matches. They finished with 88 points and a +32 goal differential(70-38). They were led in scoring by Ismael Beko Fofana who scored 14 goals for the club. he has moved to Zab Ahan of the Iranian Football League. Yoro Lamien Ly was second on the club with 13 goals. Andranik Barikyan added 11 goals to help his club to the title.
Shirak has a good chance of advancing to the next round. They will meet the champions from either from the Faroe Islands, Andorra or San Marino. If they do advance to the next round I do not see them advancing pass the second qualifying round.