Former European champions Celtic FC and FC Steaua Bucuresti await the winners of the ties between FC Artmedia Bratislava and FC Kairat Almaty, and Shelbourne FC and Glentoran FC, as the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round concludes tonight.
Two Jason Byrne goals gave Shelbourne a 2-1 victory in the first instalment in Belfast, although Glentoran winger Sean Ward reduced the deficit to set up what should be an enthralling second leg at Tolka Park, as 1986 European Champion Clubs' Cup winners Steaua watch on.
Scottish Premier League runners-up Celtic, who lifted the European Cup in 1967, could face a trip to Kazakhstan if Kairat Almaty maintain their stranglehold over Artmedia. Kairat take a 2-0 lead to Slovakia thanks to goals from Arturas Fomenko and Vitaliy Artemov in this meeting of tournament debutants.
One-time UEFA Cup winners RSC Anderlecht will keep an eye on events in Iceland where potential opponents PFC Neftchi of Azerbaijan take a two-goal cushion to FH Hafnarfjördur, who are yet to a drop a point in their Premier League after ten games this season.
Ardijan Nuhiji's double helped FK Rabotnicki, champions of F.Y.R. Macedonia, all but secure their passage last week after breaking a national goalscoring record in UEFA club competition to sweep aside Latvian opponents Skonto FC 6-0 in the opening leg. FC Lokomotiv Moskva will be the next hurdle for the winners.
Moldovan title-holders FC Sheriff will also be confident of advancing to face FK Partizan as they are 4-1 up against Maltese counterparts Sliema Wanderers FC going into the second leg on home soil.
Belarus's FC Dinamo Minsk and Anorthosis Famagusta FC begin their second leg in Cyprus locked at 1-1 as they bid for a second-round place against Trabzonspor, while Vålerenga IF loom for the victors of FC Pyunik v FC Haka in Armenia, with Juha Pasoja's solitary strike currently giving the Finnish team.
Elsewhere, NK Zrinjski will hope to preserve their one-goal advantage in front of their home fans in a bid to meet SK Rapid Wien, when F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg visit Bosnia-Herzegovina. Meanwhile, KF Tirana must overturn a 2-0 deficit at home in Albania against Slovenian outfit NK Gorica if they are to play Bulgaria's PFC CSKA Sofia in the second phase.
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