Sides from some of Europe's smaller nations will have the chance to take the scalps of more illustrious opponents when the second legs of the UEFA Cup first qualifying round are played tonight. The first games threw up some intriguing results with sides from Andorra, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, San Marino and Kazakhstan all in contention to progress to the next stage.
SP Libertas became the first Sammarinese side to avoid defeat in a UEFA club competition game by drawing 1-1 with Drogheda United FC and will now look to make history by winning the tie in the Republic of Ireland. Santa Coloma FC have already gone one better, inscribing their name in Andorran folklore by defeating mighty Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC 1-0 in their first leg to become the first club from the Principality to win a European match. Qualification in Israel would be just as remarkable.
European debutants EB/Streymur of the Faroe Islands were just 13 minutes away from sharing the spoils at Finland's Myllykosken Pallo-47 but could still make unexpected progress in the return leg by turning round a 1-0 deficit. Kazakhstan's FK Aktobe showed admirable resilience to grind out a shock 1-0 win against SV Mattersburg and will be looking to give the Austrian side a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Luxembourg could have an unprecedented two sides in the hat for the next round with UN Käerjéng 97 already through and FC Etzella Ettelbrück hoping to join them. A late Pål Steffen Andersen own goal gave Käerjéng a crucial lifeline in their 2-1 defeat at Norway's Lillestrøm SK and Rachid Boulahfari's second-leg winner on Tuesday made Käerjéng the first side through to the next stage. Etzella have an even tougher task as they must overturn a 2-0 deficit to knock out HJK Helsinki. In all, eleven matches will begin all square after the first leg while ten games feature one-goal advantages, thus promising high drama in tonight's fixtures.
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