Rhyl facing Serbian champions

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Welsh champions Rhyl have been handed one of the toughest tasks possible after being paired with Partizan Belgrade in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

Under the new format devised by UEFA president Michel Platini, five clubs from the 'Champions Path' will reach the group stages next season, with Partizan one of those likely to be involved.

It leaves Rhyl facing an almost impossible task to knock out the Serbian champions, who include Adem Ljajic in their squad.

Ljajic is set to join former team-mate Zoran Tosic at Manchester United in January after impressing Sir Alex Ferguson. At least Rhyl will have home advantage in the first leg.

Glentoran do not even have that consolation after being handed a similarly arduous tie against Maccabi Haifa, who famously beat Manchester United in the group stages in 2002.

While Maccabi are not quite the same class as that team, they should have too much for Allan McDonald's men, who ousted Linfield as Northern Ireland champions last term.

Irish league winners Bohemians only just missed out on a seeding for the draw. The consequences appear pretty fatal too as they must come through a two-legged tussle with Austrian champions Salzburg, the first leg away from home on either July 14 or 15, with the deciding matches set to be played the following week.

Seventeen second qualifying round winners will be joined by Olympiakos, Slavia Prague and FC Zurich in the next stage on a path that will eventually see five sides make it through to the final 32.

Another 15 teams, including Celtic and Arsenal, are in a separate section, with five making it through from that part of the draw as well to join the 22 teams already confirmed in the group stages, a figure including Liverpool, Chelsea, Rangers and Manchester United, who were beaten by Barcelona in the final last month.

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European News
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Zoran Tosic

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