The first and second qualifying round draws for this year’s UEFA Champions League were conducted in Nyon on Monday, with former European Cup winners Glasgow Celtic and Steaua Bucurest among the clubs to discover their opponents.
Celtic, who defeated Barcelona before being knocked out by Juventus in last season’s Champions League round of 16, have been handed a British derby to kick off the 2013-14 tournament as they face Northern Ireland’s Cliftonville FC, who won last year’s Irish League. Steaua, meanwhile, will face Macedonian First League champions FK Vardar in the second round.
Two other teams from last season’s group stage, BATE Borisov and Dinamo Zagreb, were handed ties against Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy and Luxembourg’s CS Fola Esch, respectively.
The two legs of the first round will be played on July 2nd-3rd and July 9th-10th while the two legs for the second round games are set for July 16th-17th and July 23rd-24th. The 16 aggregate winners will then enter the third qualifying round before a play-off will decide which teams make the group stage.
Lyon, Zenit St Petersburg and PSV Eindhoven all enter the fold in the third qualifying round. Below is the complete draw:
First qualifying round draw (July 2/3 and 9/10)
FC Shirak (Armenia) v. SP Tre Penne (San Marino)
FC Lusitans (Andorra) v. EB/Streymur (Faroe Islands)
Second qualifying round draw (July 16/17 and 23/24)
Neftçi PFK (Azerbaijan) v. KS Skënderbeu (Albania)
FC Steaua Bucureşti (Romania) v. FK Vardar (Macedonia)
FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic) v. FK Željezničar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
FC Sheriff (Moldova) v. FK Sutjeska (Montenegro)
Birkirkara FC (Malta) v. NK Maribor (Slovenia)
Sligo Rovers FC (Ireland) v. Molde FK (Norway)
IF Elfsborg (Sweden) v. FC Daugava Daugavpils (Latvia)
HJK Helsinki (Finland) v. JK Nõmme Kalju (Estonia)
FK Ekranas (Lithuania) v. FH Hafnarfjördur (Iceland)
The New Saints FC (Wales) v. Legia Warszawa (Poland)
Celtic FC (Scotland) v. Cliftonville FC (Northern Ireland)
GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) v. CS Fola Esch (Luxembourg)
Győri ETO FC (Hungary) v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (Israel)
FC BATE Borisov (Belarus) v. FC Shakhter Karagandy (Kazakhstan)
FC Shirak (Armenia)/SP Tre Penne (San Marino) v. FK Partizan (Serbia)
ŠK Slovan Bratislava (Slokia) v. PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria)
FC Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia) v. FC Lusitans (Andorra)/EB/Streymur (Faroe Islands)
Play until you hear the referee’s whistle. In theory, so simple. In practice, it only takes a single second of concentration lapse to become an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]
Such is life for Karyn Forbes, member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. In the above video, you’ll observe Forbes, a 24-year-old midfielder, giving away perhaps the most bizarre penalty kick you’ll ever see. You’ll have to watch for yourself to believe it.
[ MORE: USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with 5-0 victory ]
Unfortunately for Forbes, though the whole of the ball might have crossed the whole of the end line, the referee did not blow her whistle… not until Forbes picked the ball up with her hands and carried it to her goalkeeper.
BERLIN (AP) The German Football League (DFL) has given the go-ahead for the possible testing of video replays in the Bundesliga over a two-year pilot phase.
[ FOLLOW: PST’s Bundesliga coverage ]
The DFL says it will be lodging an application with FIFA to take part if the pilot phase is approved by the International Football Association Board at its next annual general meeting on March 5.
The DFL says video replays could be used by a “team of impartial match officials for the purpose of avoiding any evidently incorrect decisions” and that the pilot phase would be preceded by “intensive preparations.”
[ MORE: 17-year-old American MF Pulisic gets Bundesliga debut for Dortmund ]
These would include the settlement of costs among FIFA, the IFAB, the DFL and German football federation, as well as training for the candidates.
West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.
“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”
Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.
Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.
[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal
Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.