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Hleb and Gomel thinking big after fast start

Vyacheslav Hleb believes FC Gomel can "surprise people this year" after he scored the first goals of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League to help his side to a 6-0 win against Víkingur.

Oleg Kubarev's side are 6-0 to the good against Víkingur
Oleg Kubarev's side are 6-0 to the good against Víkingur ©Pressball

Not content with scoring the first goal of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League, Vyacheslav Hleb also struck the second as his FC Gomel side opened their campaign with a 6-0 win against Víkingur in one of two first qualifying round first legs on Tuesday.

The game in Torshavn was goalless at half-time, though it was the hosts who spurned the best opportunity when Salvi Vatinhammar failed to convert from the spot after just ten minutes. Gomel capitalised on that reprieve in emphatic fashion after the interval, going two up through Hleb before further strikes from Igor Voronkov, Ilya Aleksievich, captain Nikolai Kashevski and substitute Artur Levitski.

"It was a long trip and we were worried about the drop in temperature," said Hleb. "I am very happy to have scored the first goal. My team are in good shape and we believe we can reach the group stage this year. We agreed at the break today that the first half wasn't good enough and we changed the way we were playing and scored four quick goals. I believe this team can surprise people this year."

In the day's other first leg, FK Shkëndija 79 drew 0-0 at home to Portadown FC. The return leg will take place in Northern Ireland on 10 July, with Gomel defending their sizable lead back on home soil two days later.

The remaining 35 first qualifying round ties get under way this Thursday.