Thursday's returns given added spice

The prospect of UEFA Europa League ties against the likes of Juventus and Liverpool FC gives added incentive to some of the sides involved in Thursday's second qualifying round deciders.

Robert Bayly (Shamrock Rovers FC)

The UEFA Europa League second qualifying round concludes on Thursday, with last Friday's draw for the next stage having given some sides extra incentive, with ties against the likes of Juventus and Liverpool FC on the cards.

A trip to Anfield is on offer to the winners of Thursday's meeting between FK Rabotnicki and FC Mika in Armenia, with visitors Rabotnicki holding a slender 1-0 lead after winning last week's first leg despite playing over half the match with ten men. Twice European champions Juve will have to wait before they make any travel plans, too, as Shamrock Rovers FC travel to Israel to face Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC with the sides locked at 1-1 following Robert Bayly's injury-time equaliser.

Shamrock will have hazy dreams of this year's final in Dublin, as will Sporting Fingal FC. Founded only three years ago, the Irish Cup holders came close to a shock first-leg victory against CS Marítimo in Madeira. Ahead going into the closing stages, they lost 3-2 after a late flurry of goals but will have high hopes going into the return at Bohemian FC's Dalymount Park. Either Finland's FC Honka Espoo or Welsh outfit Bangor City FC await them in the next round, those clubs having drawn 1-1 in Vantaa last week.

Indeed, going into Thursday's second legs 21 of the 40 second qualifying round ties are either all-square or there is just a solitary goal in it. Only a few, like FC Baník Ostrava coach Miroslav Koubek, can "already think about the next round" after comprehensive first-leg victories. PFC Levski Sofia, Olympiacos FC, FC Utrecht and FC Dinamo Minsk may feel they can take their foot of the gas, too, but all know the perils of complacency.