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Plenty to play for ahead of second legs

While plenty of the competition's leading lights are well placed, there is no shortage of big names sweating ahead of the conclusion of their second qualifying round ties on Thursday.

Anzhi have a 1-0 lead to protect in the second leg
Anzhi have a 1-0 lead to protect in the second leg ©Alexander Safonov

The likes of FC Twente, Rosenborg BK and IF Elfsborg have plenty of work still to do heading into the second legs of their UEFA Europa League second qualifying round ties on Thursday.

The draw for the third qualifying round was made on Friday lunchtime.

Twente enjoyed the better of the opening instalment of their tie against FC Inter Turku, but the visitors managed an away goal and a 1-1 draw. Steve McClaren's side must now find the net themselves in Finland in order to secure a place in the third qualifying round against either FK Mladá Boleslav or Thór Akureyri, with the Czech team currently 3-0 to the good.

Rosenborg, meanwhile, had a two-goal lead at home against Kazakh debutants FC Ordabasy Shymkent but ended up drawing 2-2. Like Twente, they must score in the return if they are to stand a chance of going through. Swedish Allsvenskan leaders Elfsborg have an even tougher task ahead of them having lost 1-0 at FC Dacia Chişinău. The winner of that tie will face AC Horsens of Denmark.

Perhaps the biggest reward will go to either HNK Hajduk Split or Skonto FC, with the Croatian side needing only to protect a 2-0 advantage in order to seal a tie against 2010 UEFA Champions League winners FC Internazionale Milano. The prospect of playing five-time European champions Liverpool FC, meanwhile, provides motivation aplenty for FK Renova as they seek to overturn a 2-0 first-leg loss to FC Gomel.

FC Naftan Novopolotsk and FK Crvena zvezda will be looking to improve at the back in time for their second leg after the Serbian side won 4-3 last time out, while PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1936 and Vitesse start over again following a 4-4 draw in their opener. The winners will take on FC Anzhi Makhachkala or Budapest Honvéd FC, with the ambitious Russian side looking to keep their noses in front following a 1-0 home victory.

Far more comfortable are the likes of FC Metalurh Donetsk and NK Slaven Koprivnica, who beat FK Čelik Nikšić 7-0 and Portadown FC 6-0 respectively, and merely need to rubber-stamp their progress on Thursday.

All 40 of Thursday's second legs.