Anderlecht lie in wait for Rovers


Soccer:Shamrock Rovers will meet Anderlecht of Belgium in the Champions League qualifiers, should they manage to overcome FK Ekranas in the second qualifying round next week. Rovers were held to a scoreless draw by the Lithuanians on Tuesday night and will travel to the Baltics for the second leg.

Rovers did not concede an away goal against the Lithuanian champions at the Tallaght Stadium, but their wastefulness in front of goal in front of their home fans leaves them up facing a daunting trip. The winners of the tie will meet Anderlecht after this morning’s draws at Uefa headquarters in Nyon.

Elsewhere, Scottish champions Celtic will play either HJK Helsinki or KR Reykjavik while Motherwell face Greek side Panathinaikos.

Celtic were in the Champions section of the draw and will be at home in the first leg with Finnish title-holders HJK very likely to be their opponents after they won the first leg of their second qualifying round clash with KR 7-0 earlier this week.

Motherwell were unseeded in the draw and will face a stiff test against 20-time Greek champions Panathinaikos, with the first leg taking place at Fir Park.

Welsh champions The New Saints face a trip to Eastern Europe if they overcome Helsingborgs in their second qualifying-round tie.

The first leg finished 0-0 and if TNS can win in Sweden they will play either Montenegrin champions Buducnost Podgorica or Polish title-holders Slask Wroclaw in the next stage.

In the Europa League, St Patrick’s Athletic could also face a well-known European club in the third qualifying round. A tie against Hannover is on offer for the winner of the second round match between St Pat’s and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the scores level at 1-1 following the first leg.

Sligo Rovers will have to overcome a 3-1 first leg defeat to Slovakian side Spartak Trnava to advance to a tie with Steaua Bucharest.

Brendan Rodgers’ first competitive game in charge of Liverpool will see him face either FK Renova from Macedonia or FC Gomel of Belarus in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. The League Cup winners were seeded in Group Two and could have been paired with Dundee United for clashes that are set to be played on August 2nd and 9th.

But the three-time winners instead await the winners of a second qualifying round clash, with Gomel taking a 2-0 lead into the second leg next Thursday.

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