Belfast Telegraph

Linfield face likely trip to Montenegro if they can see off Faroe opponents in Europa League

Linfield's Andy Waterworth with Rosenborg's Tore Reginiussen.
Linfield's Andy Waterworth with Rosenborg's Tore Reginiussen.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Linfield will likely face a trip to Montenegro if they can see off their Faroe Islands' opponents in the Europa League, handed a draw that gives the Blues an opportunity to reach the very final qualifying round.

The Blues, who were ousted from the Champions League by Rosenborg earlier this month, travel to face HB Torshavn for the first leg of their second qualifying round tie tomorrow (kick-off 4.45pm) before hosting their opponents next Thursday (August 1 - 7.45pm).

The winners of that tie have been handed a third qualifying round meeting with either Cypriots APOEL or Montenegran champions FK Sutjeska. Linfield or Torshavn will play whichever of those sides loses out in their Champions League second qualifying round tie.

APOEL, ranked 59th in the European club coefficient list, will be heavily fancied to make it through, with Sutjeska expected to drop into the Europa League.

Sutjeska are ranked 319th in Europe, just 25 ahead of Linfield.

The Blues will see the draw as a big opportunity to reach the play-off round, the final hurdle to sealing a historic place in the Europa League group stages.

Sutjeska have never made it past the second qualifying round of any European competition, although their Champions League first qualifying round win over Slovan Bratislava will see them play three rounds for the first time this season.

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APOEL have reached the group stages of the Champions League as recently as 2014 and the group stages of the Europa League in the following two seasons.

Just two years ago, APOEL knocked Spanish side Athletic Bilbao out of the Europa League last 32, reaching the round of 16 for the first time in the club's history.

Linfield, should they make it through, will travel in the first leg on August 8 and host their opponents at Windsor Park a week later.

The winners of Crusaders' tie against Wolves will play either Armenian side Pyunik or Jablonec from the Czech Republic in the third qualifying round.

Celtic, if they beat Nomme Kalju in the Champions League, will face either CFR 1907 Cluj or Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC in the third qualifying round.

Rangers will play Danish side FC Midtjylland, if they beat Progres in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

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