July 02, 2009: UEFA Europa League, 1st qualifying round, 1st leg:

FC Olimpi Rustavi - B36 Tórshavn 2-0 (1-0)
10' 1-0 Georgi Megreladze
88' 2-0 Georgi Megreladze

Late second goal from FC Olimpi Rustavi makes B36 Tórshavns's chances of progress to the second qualifying round slim.

After Georgi Megreladze opened the scoring for the homeside after only 10 minutes, it looked like a typical day in Georgia when Faroese clubs visit and they lose by five or six goals.

But B36 showed great resilience for the rest of the match and looked to be escaping with at 1 goal defeat. B36’s also had a great chance to score when johan Elliingsgaard was played clear with the goalkeeper, but the chance went begging.

However, a couple of minutes before the end of normal time, Megreladze scored his second goal to give the Georgians a two-goal advantage before the return leg in Gundadalur, Tórshavn next Thursday.

With just a goal in disadvantage, B36 would still be in with a great chance of going through to the second qualifying round, but two goals down, B36’s face an uphill battle.

But whatever the result, the match was an historic one as it was the first ever match played in the new UEFA Europa League.

NSÍ Runavík – Rosenborg BK 0-3 (0-1)
20’ 0-1 Dario Zahora
58’ 0-2 Dario Zahora*
89’ 0-3 Mikael Lustig (pen)

With a comfortable 3-0 away-win, the Norwegian have all but qualified for the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Rosenborg went close after only 5 minutes when they hit the post, but NSÍ were not out of it though and were just a whisker away from taking the lead 10 minutes later when defender Óli Hansen’s header rattled the crossbar.

But instead it was Rosenborg who scored the opening goal 4 minutes later when Darius Zahora headed home after a good cross from Didier Konan Ya.

Rosenborg doubled their lead 13 minutes into the second half in connection with a corner (*UEFA has credited Zahora for the goal, but this might be changed to an owngoal later).

With a couple of minutes remaining, Rosenborg went 3 up with a penalty from Mikael Lustig after Óli Hansen had brought down Trond Olsen.

The return leg will be played in Norway next Thursday.

Six minutes of match highlights are available on Rosenborg's TV-website here. (Click the orange button that says "fortsett" (= continue) if/when it appears).

July 09, 2009: UEFA Europa League, 1st qualifying round, 2nd leg:

B36 Tórshavn – FC Olimpi Rustavi 0-2 (0-2)
0-1 Irakli Sirbiladze 06'
0-2 Gela Khubua 28'

Although trailing by two goals from the away leg in Georgia, B36 had high hopes of making up the difference at home, but that sweet dream ended with a nightmarish start to the match as an unmarked Irakli Sirbiladze put the visitors in front from a corner after only 5 minutes. That meant that B36 had to score 4 times in order to go through to the second qualifying round. An impossible mission!

In the 28th minute Olimpi Rustavi made it 2-0 with a goal from Gela Khubua after B36’s defence failed to clear a cross.

B36 went close just before half time but Sam Malson´s shot bounced off the crossbar.

The Georgian side was clearly the better side throughout the first half, but B36 imroved somewhat in the second half. But overall a fully deserved win for FC Olimpi Rustavi.

Rosenborg – NSÍ Runavík 3-1 (1-1)
0-1 Karoly Potemkin 06’
1-1 Steffen Iversen 40’
2-1 Didier Konan Ya 90'+
3-1 Trond Olsen (pen) 90'+

NSÍ Runavík looked to have earned a very fine draw away to Rosenborg, but in stoppage time the Norwegians scored twice to break NSÍ’s hearts.

NSÍ made a fantastic start to the match and took the lead after only 5 minutes with a fantastic half-volley from Hungarian player Karoly Potemkin.

NSÍ went close again 4 minutes later, but the header went just over the bar.

The rest of the chances fell to Rosenborg, though. And they created plenty but found it difficult to make any of them count.

But in the 40th minute Steffen Iversen equalized for Rosenborg on a rebound from goalkeeper Meinhardt Joensen who couldn’t hold on to Zahora’s shot from outside the penalty area.

The pattern was the same in the second half. Rosenborg created a whole host scoring opportunities, but found it hard to put any of them away.

But just as NSÍ thought they had made enough for a famous draw, Rosenborg were awarded a penalty in stoppage time when Alexander Tettey was floored by defender Jónhard Frederiksberg, after Tetty had rounded the goalkeeper. Didier Konan Ya safely converted from the spot. - But Frederiksberg's challenged looked innocent though, so the question is if the referee deemed the goalkeeper to have fouled the forward just before, but gave the attacker the advantage to play on as he looked sure to score, but then awarded the penalty afterwards as he didn’t score after all... But then again, as Frederiksberg was given a yellow card, the referee must have ajudged him for committing the penalty...

The minute after Trond Olsen made it 3-1 from within the penalty area after a cross from Kjell Rune Sellin.

See match highlights on Rosenborg's website here
and how how NSÍ Runavík's Karoly Potemkin was robbed of a clear penalty early in the match and, but also his spectacular leading goal! (NSÍ Runavík in yellow).

July 16, 2009: UEFA Europa League, 2nd qualifying round, 1st leg:

FC Omonia (Cyp) – HB Tórshavn 4-0 (3-0)
1-0 Christos Karipidis 03’
2-0 Christos Patsatzoglou 11’
3-0 Maciej Żurawski 33’
4-0 Georgios Efrem 85'

HB Tóshavn made a disastrous start to the match allowing the Cypriots to score twice in the opening 11 minutes.

First it was the Greek defender Christos Karpidis who made it 1-0 after only 3 minutes and 8 minutes later midfielder Christos Patsatzoglo, another Greek, made it 2-0.

With 11 minutes remaining of the first half it went wrong for HB again when Polish forward Maciej Zurawski made it 3-0.

In the second half, HB managed to keep Omonia from scoring during the first 40 minutes, but then Georgios Efrem scored to make it 4-0.

The cup tie is of course already decided as 0-4 is impossible to turn around – also at home. The return leg is played in Gundadalur on 23 July.

Today HB had chosen to put Polish goalkeeper Marcin David in goal instead of Símun Rógvi Hansen who has played all the league games this season.

HB were hampered by missing two of their most important men, midfielders Fróði Benjaminsen, who was given leave due to private reasons, and Kári Nielsen, who has been in excellent form this season. Nielsen was missing through suspensions for cards he got in last season’s Intertoto cup matches. That means that he has actually been out for a year with suspension. Both men are vital on HB’s defensive midfield.

AC Omaonia's 4 goals against HB Tórshavn

July 23, 2009: UEFA Europa League, 2nd qualifying round, 2nd leg:

HB Tórshavn - AC Omonia 1-4 (0-1)
0-1 Michalis Konstantinou 27'
1-1 Rókur av Fløtum Jespersen 56'
1-2 Michalis Konstantinou 66'
1-3 Michalis Konstantinou 78'
1-4 Timo Wenzel 90'+1

HB Tórshavn rue missed chances as they lose unnecessary much when a draw looked possible against AC Omonia.

AC Omonia threathed early on with crosses that could have become dangerous, but in the end the forwards failed to connect properly with the ball to test HB’s goalkeeper Marcin Dawid.

Instead it was HB who forced the Cypriot goalkeeper to make a diving save from Páll Mohr Joensen’s low shot from the edge of the penalty area after 8 minutes.

5 minutes later HB pressured the Cypriots high up on their own half and won the ball, and Milan Kuljic’s shot from long range forced the goalkeeper to make another diving save. The minute after, Fróði Benjaminsen (?) had a shot from close range blocked.

On 19 minutes HB should have taken the lead when Andrew av Fløtum got completely clear of the Omonia defence, but from inside the penalty area, av Fløtum’s finish went wide of the far post. - In a Faroese leage match, av Fløtum would´t have missed that one!

After 26 minutes, Omonia took the lead with a rather easy goal. The right winger cut inside and delivered a cross to the by-line at the far post where the Cypriote player cut it back to Michalis Konstantinou who fired it into the back of the net over the stretched arms of HB goalkeeper marcin David.

Some 30 minutes into the match David was forced to make a diving save from Omonia’s Kaseka’s long range effort.

Within 5 few minutes of the second half, Omonia so nearly doubled their lead, but the clear Cypriote finished wide of goal.

A few minutes later HB’smidfielder Fróði Benjaminsen was given a yellow card for a high elbow in an aerial challenge. Maybe Benjaminsen was lucky to stay on the field.

10 minutes into the second half HB drew level with a fantastic shot from Rókur av Fløtum Jespersen that went into the top right corner from 20 meters, a bit to the left.

Just 3 minutes later HB survived the scare when an Omonia player fired well over from close range.

On the hour mark, HB went were desperately close at scoring again when Rókur av Fløtum Jespersen and Milan Kuljic combined well, but in the end a clear Kuljic from the goal area had to stretch to get the shot in which therefore lacked power and the chance went begging.

It proved a costly miss as Omonia instead regained their lead 4 minutes later. Again the goal looked to easy as Omonia more or less walked their way into the goal area were Konstantinou made his easiest ever tap-in from close range. HB’s furious protests for off side were dismissed.

After 77 minutes Konstantinou completed his hat trick when an error on HB’s midfield allowed him to get clear and alone with the goalkeeper he showed no mercy and hammered the ball into the back of the net. – Konstantinou is Cyprus’a all-time leading scorer with 25 goals in 63 appearances.

The clocked had just passed normal time when German defender Timo Wenzel made it 4-1 from a corner.

HB had every chance to get at least a draw from the match, but missed chances in the first half and sloppy defensive play cost dearly in the end. But in fairness, it should also be mentioned that Omonia rested 7 players from the starting line-up from last week’s match in Cypros.

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