The 2010/11 UEFA Europa League is under way after the opening leg of the 26 first qualifying round ties with success for former UEFA Champions League contenders Αnorthosis Famagusta FC and 1981 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners FC Dinamo Tbilisi.
Anorthosis were in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage, beating Panathinaikos FC, but fell in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round last season. They have made a good start this time around, Nicos Katsavakis, Yiannis Okkas and Cafú scoring in a 3-0 home win against Armenia's FC Banants.
Dinamo Tbilisi will take a 2-1 lead over FC Flora to Estonia next Thursday, when all the second legs are played. The visitors struck first but Dinamo hit back with a goal either side of half-time and the Georgian side's coach Kakha Kacharava said: "We could've won much more comfortably, but I'm happy we achieved victory after going behind." His Flora counterpart Martin Reim added: "I'm proud of my lads as they fought until the very end. I think we have a good chance to qualify."
Eleven teams made their UEFA club competition bow on Thursday and one, FC Torpedo Zhodino of Belarus, hit the ground running by beating Iceland's Fylkir 3-0. There were draws for five newcomers – KF Laçi (Albania), FC Ulisses (Armenia), FC Olimpia Bălţi (Moldova), HNK Šibenik (Croatia) and FK Tauras (Lithuania), the only one of that quintet playing away, finishing 2-2 at Llanelli AFC in Wales.
All three Fair Play entrants secured victories. Myllykosken Pallo-47 of Finland won 2-0 against JK Trans Narva in Estonia, Sweden's Gefle FC triumphed by the same scoreline at Faroese side NSÍ Runavík and Danish club Randers FC were the most prolific team of the night, overcoming F91 Dudelange 6-1.
Dudelange's fellow contenders from Luxembourg, CS Grevenmacher, came from two down to lead Dundalk FC only for the Irish visitors to snatch a 3-3 draw ten minutes from time. The winners of that tie will face PFC Levski Sofia in the second qualifying round, with the draw already having been made with teams including Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC, FK Austria Wien and APOEL FC also awaiting opponents on 15 and 22 July.
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