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UEFA Champions League Preview: BATE and Partizan face battle to progress

BATE Borisov and Partizan both face tough second-leg clashes to remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League.

BATE lost their second-round first leg 1-0 to Shakhter Karagandy in Kazakhstan, and they know they will have to produce some of the form that saw them reach the group stages of last season’s competition in order to progress to the third round of qualifying.

Midfielder Aleksandr Pavlov remains confident they could turn the game around in Belarus after the disappointing first outing.

“I want to underline that it is not the end of this tie,” he said. “It seemed like we had total dominance and full control of the ball (in the first leg), we were finding space but rarely threatened.

“Even in our domestic league we do not see that much possession.

“Shakhter defended with their whole squad inside their own half.”

Partizan were held 1-1 by Armenian champions Shirak in their first-leg match, but will be confident they can progress to the third round with a home tie in Belgrade given they have only lost once in their last 10 home competitive fixtures.

Dinamo Tbilisi and Elfsborg recorded the biggest wins of the second-round first legs with wins over EB/Streymur and Daugava Daugavpils respectively.

Elfsborg’s 7-1 win puts them favourites to face Celtic in the third round of qualifying, Neil Lennon’s side are also in a strong position having won their first leg 3-0 against Cliftonville.

Tbilisi take a five goal advantage to Iceland, knowing a clash with Steaua Bucharest is on the cards after the Romanian side recorded a 3-0 win over Vardar.

After reaching the group stages in 2011-12, Viktoria Plzen will be hoping to hold onto their slim advantage against Bosnian champions Zeljeznicar, the Czech side edged the first leg 4-3 but have a trip to Sarajevo to negotiate in their quest to reach the next round.

Sun 21 Jul, 2013
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