The first qualifying round of the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League concludes on Tuesday, with B36 Tórshavn looking to complete an upset against Linfield FC.
The Faroese champions caused something of an upset in the first leg in Belfast, with goalkeeper Meinhardt Joensen saving a first-half penalty from Peter Thompson and Lukasz Cieslewicz hitting the woodwork as B36 broke late on. "I'm very well satisfied," said coach Mikkjal Thomassen. "Our goal was to get a result that meant that we still had a chance to go through, and we have that now."
The job remains half done, though, and B36 need a positive result at the Gundadalur Stadium to make it through to the second qualifying round, where they would take on Cypriot titleholders AEL Limassol FC. Thomassen is under no illusions as to what his side can expect. "It will still be a tremendously tough task," he said. "We are playing against a team that are of a higher standard to us, so there is no doubt we have to be at our very best if we are to have any chance."
Having made a two-hour charter flight up to the Faroe Islands, David Jeffrey's Northern Irish league champions are hoping their journey will not be in vain, with goalkeeper Alan Blayney hoping to play a part after an injury gave his understudy Ross Glendinning a chance in the first leg. "
There is no doubt we were the better side in the first leg and it was unfortunate that we missed so many chances," Blayney said. "It was just one of those nights but I think we can definitely score in Torshavn."
Midfielder Ross Clarke concurred: "B36 started off really well in the first leg but we dominated the game after that. We created a lot of chances and if we can do the same in the second leg then hopefully we can take one."
Linfield have not missed a European season since 2003/04, but the only tie they have won since was against FK Ventspils on away goals in the first qualifying round of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup. B36 last made it through a round of UEFA club competition in 2006/07, when victory against Birkirkara FC of Malta over two legs set them up for a meeting with Turkish giants Fenerbahçe SK. They lost 4-0 in Istanbul and 5-0 back at home.
While the B36 v Linfield game remains too close to call, no great upsets are expected in the night's other second legs. San Marino's SP Tre Penne are 7-0 down as they welcome F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg, while Valletta FC head to Andorra to take on FC Lusitans holding an 8-0 lead from the first leg. Footballing catastrophes notwithstanding, Dudelange should meet FC Salzburg in the second qualifying round, while Valletta have a date pencilled in with FK Partizan.
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