Soccer: Dinamo go back to the future
July 15 2004

Dinamo go back to the future

Forty-eight hours after the 2004/05 edition of the UEFA Cup opened,
the first qualifying round continues tonight with the remaining 24
first-leg ties.

Previous winner
After Hungary’s Budapest Honvéd FC won 1-0 at MIKA FC in Armenia on
Tuesday, another 27 countries – spanning the breadth of Europe from
Iceland to Azerbaijan – are represented in tonight’s matches.
However, there is only one previous winner of a European trophy, FC
Dinamo Tblisi, involved.

Bottom rung
The Georgians played under the Soviet flag when they captured the
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1981, beating FC Carl Zeiss Jena 2-1 in the
final in Dusseldorf. Now, more than two decades on, they are starting
out on the bottom rung when they visit the Belarussian club FC BATE

Serious business
While players from the continent’s higher-profile leagues are still
working their way back to full fitness, for the clubs in action
tonight the serious business has begun already. Arguably the best
quote in the build-up to these matches came from Saulius Širmelis,
coach of Lithuanian side FK Ventspils.

His team face B68 Toftir in the Faroe Islands and Širmelis warned: “I
hope none of my players are expecting the game to be easy. I remember
how Rudi Völler and Germany came to the Faroe Islands smiling and how
pale they were at the end of the match.”

Heat is on
Elsewhere, Romanian club CF Otelul Galati’s preparations for the
visit of KS Dinamo Tirana were not helped by a brief players’ strike.
The Otelul squad refused to train for several days before receiving a
promise that they would be paid money the club owed them. Meanwhile,
it seems no amount of training can have fully prepared F.Y.R.
Macedonia’s FK Sloga Jugomagnat for the expected 40C heat they will
face when they play Omonia AC in Cyprus. Of all the venues tonight,
nowhere is likely to be as hot as this.

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