Preview of Tuesday’s European tie

Posted : 16th August 2020 at 23:45:01

Linfield's European odyssey continues on Tuesday night with a meeting with Polish champions Legia Warsaw at the Polish Army Stadium (ko 6pm), in the First Round of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League. The game will be played to a finish on the night with the away goal rule not in operation. The winner will enjoy home advantage in a one legged tie with either Ararat Armenia who play in Yerevan, Armenia or Omonia of Cyprus on the following Wednesday. The loser of the game in Poland will drop down into the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

Legia Warsaw have been one of the most successful clubs in Poland having won 14 Ekstrakaska Champions titles and 14 Polish Cups. Their most successful campaigns in European football were semi-final appearances in the European Cup (69/70) and UEFA Cup (90/91) competitions. Last season however they were eliminated by Glasgow Rangers (agg 1-0 ) in the Play-Off Round of the Europa League. Their cosmopolitan squad contains players from amongst others, Guinea, Serbia, France, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Hungary, and the Ukraine. For Linfield supporters the most recognisable Legia player is undoubtedly Polish keeper Artur Boruc, who is in his second spell at the club in a career that has seen him between the posts at Celtic, Southampton, AFC Bournemouth and Fiorentina.

The Linfield squad head to Poland in good spirits after a very competitive home friendly with Stoke City (0-1) at the weekend. They will however be under no illusions as they prepare for a very difficult game against a strong and experienced Legia side. Unfortunately once again for football the almost 'surreal normality' of playing in front of deserted stands in an empty stadium will be in effect on Tuesday night. The Linfield players though will welcome the absence of a vociferous home support and hopefully they can turn this to their own advantage. They will certainly need to remain calm and resolute under the pressure they will be expected to face, to gain any sort of foothold in the game. Legia will be firm favourites on the night but with football you just never know when an upset that tears up the form book is just around the corner! COYB!

Ken Garrett.
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