2015-16 UEFA Champions League: First Qualifying Round in the Books
Eight clubs participated in the first qualifying round of the 2015-16 Champions League. Four clubs have made their mark and advanced to the next round with two leg wins over their counterparts.
All of these clubs were looking for Champions League glory but it is almost impossible for a club to win the champions league coming from the first qualifying round. Four clubs look to change that with their early victories already.
The New Saints advance 6-2
The New Saints FC of Wales won both of their legs with B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands to advance to the second qualifying round and a date with Videoton FC of Hungary.
The first leg was a 2-1 win for the Wales club behind goals from Michael Wilde and Scott Quigley, they backed that up with a 4-1 win in the second leg. Michael Wilde scored three more goals in this leg and Matty Williams also scored for The New Saints.
The Saints will have a challenge when the host Videoton at home on July 14th. Videoton comes into the match ranked #201 in the latest UEFA rankings while The New Saints are ranked #250.
Lincoln FC from Gibraltar advance 2-1
In a surprise win for the club and the country Lincoln FC defeated FC Santa Coloma of Andorra 2-1 in the second leg to advance to the next round after the first leg was a scoreless draw. Goals from Lee Casciaro and Anthony Bardon were all Lincoln needed to advance.
In their next match-up Lincoln will face a very good opponent in FC Midtjylland of Denmark. Midtjylland is ranked #200 in the latest UEFA rankings while Lincoln is only #451. The first leg will be played in Denmark on July 14th.
Crusaders FC advance on away goals
The Crusaders FC of Northern Ireland advanced by scoring an away goal in the second leg over FC Levadia Tallinn of Estonia. The first leg was a goalless draw which saw Levadia in control with the second leg being in Estonia. Michael Carvill of the Crusaders changed that with his early goal. Levadia did level the match at 1-1 but could not score again as the Crusaders advanced to the next round.
The Crusaders will travel on July14th to meet their next opponent KF Skenderbeu of Albania.
The club from Northern Ireland will need some luck to advance to the third qualifying round.
FC Pyunik advance to next round
FC Pyunik of Armenia used back to back 2-1 leg wins to advance 4-2 over SS Folgore of San Marino. In the first leg goals from Vardges Satumyan and Cesar Romero Jr propelled Pyunik to win. The Second leg saw Satumyan score another goal while Kamo Hovhannisyan also scored.
Pyunik will now face Molde FK of Norway on July 14th in Norway in the first leg of their second qualifying round match-up. Molde will be favored to win this tie against a very good Pyunik side.
The Second Qualifying Round will feature 34 clubs vying for a chance to move to the next round of this years Champions League tourney.
Of the four clubs that advance from the first round I see only The New Saints with a chance of moving to the next round. Any clubs could win a match on any given day but winning on aggregate over the course of two matches can be real challenging.
Here is a list of the clubs you will see in the next round:
FK Ventspils vs HJK Helsinki
Apoel Nicosia vs Vardar
Ludogorets Razgrad vs FC Milsami
Hibernians vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv
NK Maribor vs Astana 1964
AS Trencin vs Steaua Bucuresti
Partizan Belgrade vs Dila Gori
FK Sarajevo vs Lech Poznan
FC Midtjylland vs Lincoln FC
Molde FK vs FC Pyunik
KF Skenderbeu vs Crusaders FC
The New Saints FC vs Videoton FC
FK Qarabag vs Rudar Pljevlja
Malmo FF vs Zalgiris Vilnius
BATE Borisov vs Dundalk
Celtic vs Stjarnan
Dinamo Zagreb vs CS Fola Esch