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Second round beckons for Europa League hopefuls

With 12 of 25 first qualifying round ties separated by a goal at most, there is plenty at stake in Thursday's second legs – and a "football feast" promised by one Icelandic coach.

Paks midfielder Dániel Böde (centre) will be hoping his side can hold onto a 1-0 first-leg lead
Paks midfielder Dániel Böde (centre) will be hoping his side can hold onto a 1-0 first-leg lead ©MLSZ

If the likes of FK Rad, Qarabağ FK and Tromsø IL have cause for confidence about Thursday's second-leg encounters following resounding wins last week, a number of first qualifying round ties still hang in the balance. ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar coach Trausti Hjaltason, for one, is promising a "feast of football" in his team's decider against Saint Patrick's Athletic FC.

Serbian side Rad proved the sharpest starters last Thursday when they put six past SP Tre Penne of San Marino in Belgrade, while Qarabağ again flew the flag for Azerbaijan on the European stage, winning 4-0 at FK Banga in Lithuania. Norway's Tromsø triumphed impressively on the road too, scoring five unanswered goals against FC Daugava Daugavpils of Latvia.

Two of the headline acts also delivered on opening night – 2010 finalists Fulham FC and 1975 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup runners-up Ferencvárosi TC both ran out 3-0 winners. While those favourites look well-set, Luxembourger underdogs UN Käerjéng 97 can be optimistic about their trip to Gothenburg after Swedish outfit BK Häcken needed an added-time goal from Mattias Östberg to salvage a 1-1 first-leg draw.

Paksi SE of Hungary and Iceland's ÍBV are two of the teams defending narrow 1-0 advantages from their respective encounters with UE Santa Coloma of Andorra and the Republic of Ireland's St Patrick's. Paks coach Károly Kis admitted nerves played a part in his side's debut European performance but expects a more assured showing in the return.

"Every start is hard, we made a lot of mistakes and played nervously, especially after half-time," he said. "I believe the fans will see a much better Paks in the home game." ÍBV coach Hjaltason was equally upbeat, despite a busy domestic programme which has his team battling for the title and contesting an Icelandic Cup semi-final. "The players are totally focused on football and nothing else," he said of their visit to Ireland. "This is a football feast and the boys will want to show off their skills abroad."

View all the first-leg results.