The 2006/07 UEFA Champions League got under way with some intriguing first qualifying round first-leg action. Faroe Islands champions B36 Tórshavn moved to the brink of a tie against Fenerbahçe SK, while fellow northern Europeans FH Hafnarfjördur also won. Meanwhile, FC Sioni Bolnisi of Georgia took the spoils in a Causcasus derby against FK Baku of Azerbaijan.
Birkirkara FC 0-3 B36 Tórshavn
B36 of the Faroe Islands took a giant step towards a dream second qualifying round tie against Turkish giants Fenerbahçe with an emphatic win at the National Stadium in Valletta. Two first-half goals from Ivorian striker Sylla Amed Davy and a late effort from Hanus Thorleifsson left the Maltese champions with a mountain to climb in the return fixture. Birkirkara were left to rue the absence of strikers Michael Galea and Etienne Barbara as not even the Mediterreanean heat could slow down the northern European side's charge.
FC Pyunik 0-0 FC Sheriff
The first UEFA Champions League game of the 2006/07 season ended in a goalless draw in Armenia. Sheriff settled in early and might have taken the lead on 23 minutes but for saves by Gevorg Kasparov from Aleksei Kuchuk and Alexandu Epureanu. Kasparov rescued the home side three more times before the break, denying Epureanu again, then George Florescu and Andrei Corneencov. The second half proved a cagier affair, but both sides had a chance to win it. First Sheriff substitute Razak Omotoyossi shot over the bar, then Pyunik's Boris Melkonyan saw a late effort deflected for a corner.
FC Sioni Bolnisi 2–0 FK Baku
The Caucasus derby went the way of Georgian side Sioni as two late goals from substitutes saw them take a commanding lead. Baku played nearly an hour with just nine men following the first-half red cards shown to Vagiz Guliyev and Ramazan Abbasov. The first goal came from Fridolin Boyomo, one of three Cameroonian players to join the club this summer, who fired in a powerful shot after a pinpoint pass from Akaki Mikuchadze on 70 minutes. A minute from time, Vladimir Ugrekhelidze doubled the advantage with a close-range effort from Levan Shavgulidze's cross.
F91 Dudelange 0-1 FK Rabotnicki
Luxembourg’s double-winners Dudelange finally succumbed despite an impressive performance in front of a 1,000-strong crowd in the Grand Duchy. Johan Bellini, Joris Di Gregorio and Stéphane Martine all missed chances to give the home side the lead as they enjoyed marginally the better of the first hour. However, Rabotnicki came good with a 77th-minute strike from Krste Velkoski to make them favourites to complete the job in Skopje next week.
KS Elbasani 1-0 FK Ekranas
Gentian Stojku's goal a quarter of an hour from time gave the Albanian champions a slender advantage. Despite having the better of the first half, the home side failed to break the deadlock as Klevis Dalipi, Dorian Bylykbashi and Ilir Qorri all failed to convert chances. In the end, two substitutes produced the winner, as Daniel Xhafaj crossed for Stojku to head into the Ekranas net. Elbasan coach Ilir Daja said: "I am very happy with the victory. It was a good match and our players deserved to win. The fans' support was outstanding."
Linfield FC 1-3 NK Gorica
Linfield’s hopes of progressing in Europe for a second successive season were hit hard by a 3-1 home defeat against Slovenian side NK Gorica at Windsor Park. Two goals from Enes Demirović did the damage, with both his goals coming before the half-hour mark. Ten minutes before the break, Linfield striker Peter Thompson had a penalty saved, while Mark Dickson did convert a spot-kick for the Northern Irish team just before the hour mark. However, Jani Sturm sealed a convincing away victory with Gorica's third goal midway through the second half.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.