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City must overcome Bucharest hurdle

By Robert Jones

Manchester City have been drawn to face Steaua Bucharest of Romania in the Champions League play-off round.

City finished fourth in the Premier League and so must earn their place in the lucrative group stage, as new boss Pep Guardiola looks to go one better than last season's semi-final run under Manuel Pellegrini.

In the other side of yesterday's draw, Celtic were handed a tie against Israeli side Hapoel Be'er-Sheva.

Dundalk are aiming to become the first team from the Republic of Ireland to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League and will face Legia Warsaw of Poland.

The Lilywhites produced a shock victory over BATE Borisov to secure a shot at reaching Europe's elite club competition.

The first-legs will be played on August 16 and 17, with the return fixtures taking place on August 23 and 24.

West Ham get the chance to end Astra Giurgiu's European bid just as the Romanians cut short their own last season after being drawn together again in the Europa League play-off round.

The Hammers earned a shot at joining Manchester United and Southampton in the group phase when they defeated Slovenia's NK Domzale 4-2 on aggregate.

Provisionally, the first-leg of the play-off is in Giurgiu on August 18, with the second-leg at the newly-named London Stadium on August 25.

Belfast Telegraph


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