Fulham FC's progress to the second qualifying round and a meeting with Crusaders FC was serene enough, but in Kazakhstan there was real cause for celebration as the opening UEFA Europa League ties concluded.
Three goals to the good from the first leg, Martin Jol's Fulham could afford to draw 0-0 in the Faroe Islands to confirm NSÍ Runavík's exit, with Belfast the next destination for UEFA's Respect Fair Play winners. NSÍ's Hungarian goalkeeper András Gángó was kept busy, but the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League finalists came no closer to scoring than when Damien Duff smashed an early shot against the crossbar.
There was rather more excitement in Kazakhstan, where FC Shakhter Karagandy and FC Irtysh Pavlodar won their way through the first qualifying round somewhat against the odds. Two Ulan Konysbayev goals enabled Shakhter to overturn FC Koper's first-half lead, with their 2-1 defeat eliminating the Slovenian side 3-2 on aggregate.
"That was a nervous game," admitted Shakhter coach Viktor Kumykov. "I also had to say some harsh words in the changing room during the break. Koper are a very good team, but we had great help from our supporters. I want to thank them and congratulate them on this victory."
Polish contenders Jagiellonia Białystok also came unstuck in Kazakhstan despite a 1-0 first-leg lead; first-half goals from Mamatou Coulibaly and Gleb Maltsev – and a marvellous late save by Anton Tsirin – earned Irtysh a decisive 2-0 win in Pavlodar. "The coach told me I'm good in the air and should come forward for corners," said Malian defender Coulibaly as he reflected on his goal. "I'm thrilled."
Irtysh will meet Georgia's FC Metalurgi Rustavi in the next round, with Dubliners St Patrick's Athletic FC next up for Shakhter.
Azerbaijan's FK Qarabağ battled through to the play-offs in the last two UEFA Europa League seasons, bowing out to FC Twente and then Borussia Dortmund. Gurban Gurbanov's team could be on their way again after completing a 7-0 aggregate triumph over Lithuania's FK Banga with a 3-0 home victory. They now head to the Faroe Islands to face EB/Streymur.
Qarabağ's was not quite the biggest aggregate win of the round though; Serbia's FK Rad claimed that, prevailing 3-1 against SP Tre Penne in San Marino to round off a 9-1 success over two legs.
Finally, Glentoran FC's 2-1 home victory over FK Renova meant theirs was the first 2011/12 UEFA club competition tie to go into extra time and then penalties. Argjent Gafuri failed to convert the crucial final kick for the Macedonian side as the Belfast club won 3-2 in the shoot-out.
UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, 14/21 July 2011
1. FC Metalurgi Rustavi (GEO) v FC Irtysh Pavlodar (KAZ)
2. FK Sūduva (LTU) v IF Elfsborg (SWE)
3. FK Metalurg Skopje (MKD) v PFC Lokomotiv Sofia (BUL)
4. UE Sant Julià (AND) v Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
5. FK Željezničar (BIH) v FC Sheriff (MDA)
6. KuPS Kuopio (FIN) v CS Gaz Metan Mediaş (ROU)
7. FC Minsk (BLR) v Gaziantepspor (TUR)
8. FC Iskra-Stal (MDA) v NK Varaždin (CRO)
9. FK Tauras (LTU) v ADO Den Haag (NED)
10. Glentoran FC (NIR) v FC Vorskla Poltava (UKR)
11. AC Juvenes-Dogana (SMR) v FK Rabotnicki (MKD)
12. Örebro SK (SWE) v FK Sarajevo (BIH)
13. Crusaders FC (NIR) v Fulham FC (ENG)
14. Llanelli AFC (WAL) v FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
15. Floriana FC (MLT) v AEK Larnaca FC (CYP)
16. FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR) v FK Ventspils (LVA)
17. KS Flamurtari (ALB) v FK Jablonec (CZE)
18. KR Reykjavík (ISL) v MŠK Žilina (SVK)
19. FC Mika (ARM) v Vålarenga Fotball (NOR)
20. NK Olimpija Ljubljana (SVN) v Bohemian FC (IRL)
21. NK Domžale (SVN) v RNK Split (CRO)
22. FC Differdange 03 (LUX) v FC Levadia Tallinn (EST)
23. KF Tirana (ALB) v FC Spartak Trnava (SVK)
24. Ferencvárosi TC (HUN) v Aalesunds FK (NOR)
25. SK Liepājas Metalurgs (LVA) v FC Salzburg (AUT)
26. FK Rad (SRB) v Olympiacos Volou FC (GRE)
27. The New Saints FC (WAL) v FC Midtjylland (DEN)
28. Kecskeméti TE (HUN) v FC Aktobe (KAZ)
29. BK Häcken (SWE) v FC Honka Espoo (FIN)
30. FC Gagra (GEO) v Anorthosis Famagusta FC (CYP)
31. FC Vaduz (LIE) v FK Vojvodina (SRB)
32. FK Rudar Pljevlja (MNE) v FK Austria Wien (AUT)
33. WKS Śląsk Wrocław (POL) v Dundee United FC (SCO)
34. FC Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ) v St Patrick's Athletic FC (IRL)
35. EB/Streymur (FRO) v FK Qarabağ (AZE)
36. FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL) v CD Nacional (POR)
37. Paksi SE (HUN) v Tromsø IL (NOR)
38. TPS Turku (FIN) v KVC Westerlo (BEL)
39. Xäzär Länkäran FK (AZE) v Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
40. KS Vllaznia (ALB) v FC Thun (SUI)
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