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The 2019/20 European Football season kicks off this week as the Preliminary Qualifying phases for the UEFA Champions League, and the UEFA Europa League begin. For many of European football’s elite clubs, their supporters and followers most these two prestigious competitions these qualifiers will mean nothing – the Champions League final was played this month Madrid!

For Gibraltar’s football clubs it means everything. Sportingly it provides the three qualified teams with arguably the highlight of their domestic seasons. Testing themselves against European opposition. Financially it also provides them with the muscle to go again and look at mounting a title challenge in the upcoming season. And for two Gibraltarian clubs it means away trips to Kosovo.  

 

Lincoln Red Imps FC are Gibraltar’s representatives in the Preliminary Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League. This stage of the tournament is a four team knockout competition. One leg semi finals and then a final. This year the tournament is being held in Prishtina, Kosovo. Lincoln Red Imps  have drawn the toughest of the semi finals – they will face the hosts, the champions of Kosovo Feronikeli, at 20:45 tomorrow evening, Tuesday 25/06/2019. Should they win, in the final, they will face the winners of the other semi final between Tre Penne of San Marino and FC Santa Coloma of Andorra. Should they lose in the semi final, they still have European football to play, they would drop into the Europa League where they would face either Ararat Armenia or AIK of Sweden in the second qualifying round.

The Europa League Qualifiers have thrown up different opponents for Europa FC & St Joseph’s FC.

Gibtelecom Cup Winners, Europa FC have drawn Sant Julia of Andorra. They play their first leg, away in Andorra on Thursday 27th June at 8pm. Given Europa FC’s recent history in European competition, where they have had to face some tough opponents, this is a tie they will be relishing. With the first leg away from home they will be intent on bringing a result back to the Victoria Stadium for the second leg of the tie.

 

St Joseph’s FC have not been so lucky in their Europa League Qualifiers draw – on paper at least. They have drawn FC Prishtina of Kosovo. They may not have won their domestic championship in Kosovo, but had an emphatic win over Europa FC 6-1 on aggregate at the same stage of the tournament last season drawing 1-1 at the Victoria Stadium and then winning the home leg 5-0. Kick off on the 27th June in Prishtina is at 20:45.  

Tough opponents and difficult away trips. This is what European football is all about. Whatever the outcome, whatever the score lines, one thing is certain – Gibraltar’s Clubs will give it their all and do their nation proud.