Europa League round-up and preview
With the European Championships fading from the memory and the start of the Premier League season a month away, the Europa League is currently providing sustenance for those of us feeling starved of football.
The first round of qualifying has already been completed, with mixed results for British and Irish teams.
All three Welsh sides were eliminated at the first hurdle, with Cefn Druids on the end of a 5-0 aggregate mauling at the hands of Finnish side MYPA.
KuPS, also of Finland, beat Llanelli 3-2, while Bangor City went down 2-1 to Moldovan outfit Zimbru Chisinau.
Crusaders of Northern Ireland were beaten 4-0 by Norwegian side Rosenborg - no strangers to the higher echelons of European football - and fellow Scandinavians Kalmar FF of Sweden knocked Cliftonville out with an aggregate victory of 4-1.
Success for Northern Ireland came in the shape of Portadown, who beat Macedonian side Shkendija 2-1 to set up a meeting with Slaven Belupo of Croatia.
Republic of Ireland sides Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic both encountered Icelandic opposition, the former crashing out and the latter progressing to face Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
St Pats are joined in the second round by Sligo Rovers, who face Spartak Trnava of Slovakia.
Elsewhere, St Johnstone take on Turkish side Eskisehirspor, as they hope to join fellow Scots Dundee united in the third qualifying round.
After defeat to Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals, APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus come back down to earth with a second round qualifier against Senica of Slovakia.
Other fixtures of interest include FC Twente, who progressed 9-0 on aggregate in round one, facing Inter Turku of Finland, and Levski Sofia up against Sarajevo.
By Andrew Wade
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