Derry City to face one of these FIVE teams in UEFA Europa Conference League first round

DERRY CITY has discovered the identity of FIVE potential opponents for the Brandywell club's UEFA Europa Conference League first round qualifier.

By Simon Collins
Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:53 pm
Derry City fans make their voices heard when they last met Crusaders in a competitive match in the Setanta Cup Final at the Oval in 2012.
Derry City fans make their voices heard when they last met Crusaders in a competitive match in the Setanta Cup Final at the Oval in 2012.

As an unseeded team in Group 6 in tomorrow's draw, the Candy Stripes will face one of Flora Tallinn (EST), Pogoń Szczecin (POL), Crusaders (NIR), HB Tórshavn (FRO) or Riga FC (LVA) who are the five seeded teams in the same pot.

So that means a long trek to Estonia or Latvia, a relatively smooth plane journey to Poland, a logistically challenging trip to the Faroe Islands or potentially a short bus ride to Belfast!

It will all be confirmed in Tuesday's draw which takes place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland at 1p.m.

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Ruaidhri Higgins' team will be hoping to avoid being paired with Flora Tallinn who knocked Shamrock Rovers out of the competition last season 5-2 on aggregate to become the first Estonian side to make it through to a group stage of a European competition.

Polish outfit Pogoń Szczecin will also prove a tricky tie and no doubt a match-up with Irish League outfit Crusaders would whet the appetite of fans of both sets of clubs.

So how does Tuesday's draw work?

The 60 teams involved in the first round are divided into six groups of ten teams (groups 1 to 6) in accordance with the club coefficient rankings established at the beginning of the season. Within each of the six groups, the teams are divided into an equal number of seeded and unseeded teams.

Two bowls are prepared, one for the seeded teams (five balls containing slips numbered 1 to 5) and the other for the unseeded teams (five balls containing slips numbered 6 to 10).

A ball is taken from each bowl and placed in an empty bowl, where they are shuffled. One of the two balls is drawn at random, then opened to display the number it contains. The second ball is drawn and opened to complete the pairing.

The result applies to all six groups. For example, if the first ball drawn contains the number 2 and the second the number 8, the clubs that have been assigned the numbers 2 and 8 in each of the six groups will play each other. The first ball drawn, here containing the number 2, designates the home team for the first leg in all six ties.

The same procedure is carried out with the remaining balls to complete the pairings.

What happens next?

Ties take place on 7 and 14 July, with extra time and a penalty shoot-out if required after the second leg. Winners advance to the UEFA Europa Conference League second qualifying round.

When are Europa Conference League matches?

Qualifying: First qualifying round: 7 & 14 July; Second qualifying round: 21 & 28 July; Third qualifying round: 4 & 11 August 2022

Play-offs: 18 & 25 August 2022;

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