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Debrecen coach Elemer Kondas wary of Joe Gormley and Cliftonville ahead of European test

Cliftonville's Joe Gormley

Cliftonville's Joe Gormley

  • by Gareth Fullerton
 

Debrecen boss Elemer Kondas will warn his players of complacency ahead of next month’s Champions League showdown with Cliftonville.

The Hungarian champions were paired with Tommy Breslin’s Reds in Monday’s second qualifying round draw in Nyon.

Cliftonville – who claimed back-to-back Irish League titles last season – will be massive underdogs to progress in the competition.

But despite his side being labelled favourites for the clash, Debrecen coach Kondas insists he won’t be taking the challenge lightly.

“We will respect the champions of Northern Ireland,” Kondas said.

“Cliftonville won their league by six points and have the league’s top goalscorer (Joe Gormley), but now the serious research starts.

“We don’t underestimate our opponents – we know we will have difficult contests but regardless, our goal is to qualify.

“We are taking this test very seriously and we will prepare thoroughly before the first leg.”

Cliftonville boss Breslin is under no illusions ahead of two European legs against a side that have won the Hungarian title seven times in the past 10 seasons.

Debrecen are seasoned European campaigners, having reached the group stages of the Champions League in 2009/10 where they played Liverpool, Fiorentina and Lyon.

“Debrecen have dominated Hungarian football for the past decade, so that highlights their quality and consistency,” Breslin said.

“They have also reached the group stages of the Champions League, so we know how tough a test this will be.

“It is going to be a mammoth challenge for us, but we have our own objectives and we will be going out to win the tie over two legs.

“We would love to try and progress in the Champions League this season so we will go out and give it our best shot.”

The venues for the first and second legs, which are scheduled for July 15/16 and July 22/23, should be confirmed later today.

Meanwhile, in the Europa League draw Linfield will renew rivalries with B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands.

The Blues – who defeated Torshavn 4-3 on penalties two years ago after a 0-0 aggregate stalemate – have been paired with the Faroese side once again in the first qualifying round.

The first leg will be Warren Feeney’s first competitive game in charge of Linfield since succeeding David Jeffrey.

It will also be the third year in succession that Linfield have faced Faroese opposition in Europe.

Also in the Europa League first qualifying round, Crusaders will take on FK Ekranas of Lithuania while Glenavon face icelandic side FH Hafnarfjordur.

Glenavon also have previous history with their European opponents, having defeated Hafnarfjordur back in 1995.

Nigel Best was the manager 19 years ago when the Lurgan Blues earned a 1-0 aggregate victory in the preliminary round of the Uefa Cup – midfielder Sammy Johnstone with the only goal.

Glenavon will play their away leg in Iceland on Thursday, July 3 with the home leg being played one week later on July 10.

Other dates and venues are expected to be ratified on Tuesday.

 

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