Belfast Telegraph

Who could Linfield face if they reach the Europa League play-off round and when is the draw?

Jordan Stewart congratulates Andy Waterworth following his first half penalty at Windsor Park on Thursday night.
Jordan Stewart congratulates Andy Waterworth following his first half penalty at Windsor Park on Thursday night.

Linfield are one tie away from the Europa League play-off round and will soon know the prize on offer for beating FK Sutjeska in the third qualifying round.

David Healy's men secured safe passage at Windsor Park last night as Andy Waterworth's penalty made gave the Blues a 3-2 aggregate advantage over Faroe Islands side HB Torshavn.

Now if they can get past FK Sutjeska, Linfield will earn a place in the Europa League play-off, which is the final hurdle to reaching the group stage.

It would be the first time the Blues have won back-to-back European ties since the 1966-67 season, when they reached the quarter-final of the European Cup by beating Luxembourg side Aris and Norway's Valerenga.

Who could Linfield face in the Europa League play-off?

Linfield are, of course, going through the Champions Path of qualification. Therefore, they can't face the likes of Wolves or Rangers.

The Blues will be one of 10 unseeded teams in the draw - the winners of the Europa League third qualifying round ties. There are only six seeded sides - the losers of the Champions League third qualifying round ties. So how does that work and who can they face?

The teams have been split into two separate groups.

We know that the six teams dropping down from the Champions League third qualifying round will be seeded. Those will be the losers of the following ties: PAOK (GRE) v Ajax (NED), CFR Cluj (ROU) v Celtic (SCO), Red Star (SRB) v København (DEN), GNK Dinamo (CRO) v Ferencváros (HUN), APOEL (CYP) v Qarabağ (AZE) and Maribor (SVN) v Rosenborg (NOR).

However, only the three ties in bold have been placed in Linfield's group, so that's who they could face. Another tie against Rosenborg, who ousted the Blues from the Champions League last month, is still on the cards.

Linfield will face the losers of one of those three ties if they are one of the first three unseeded teams out of the hat.

However, if they are not, they will be pitted against one of the other unseeded balls in their pot. The unseeded balls in Linfield's pot are: Ludogorets (BUL) / The New Saints (WAL), Sarajevo (BIH) / BATE Borisov (BLR), Astana (KAZ) / Valletta (MLT) and Slovan Bratislava (SVK) / Dundalk (IRL).

Remember, it is the winners of those ties who go through.

When is the Europa League play-off draw?

The draw will take place on Monday (August 5) at 12.30pm BST. We'll bring you live updates - keep an eye on the Belfast Telegraph website.

What are Linfield's chances of beating Sutjeska?

Well they certainly have a chance. Sutjeska are ranked 319th in Europe, just 25 places ahead of Linfield.

Sutjeska are the reigning Montenegrin champions, having won the league by nine clear points last season. It's their third title in six seasons.

They saw off Slovan Bratislava in the Champions League this season but were then knocked out by APOEL 4-0 on aggregate and so drop to the Europa League to face Linfield.

This is the first time Sutjeska have ever made it past the second qualifying round of any European competition.

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