LINFIELD manager David Jeffrey has paid the ultimate compliment to his team’s Champions League opponents by tipping them to reach the group stages of the tournament.
The Blues perished in the Cypriot heat last week – comprehensively beaten 3-0 at AEL Limassol at the Tsirion Stadion.
Jeffrey’s boys, who enjoyed a first round win over B36 Torshavn, tonight face a ‘mission impossible’ in the return fixture at Windsor Park against a club still on a high after celebrating its first title success in 44 years.
Goals from Patrick Vouho, Edwin Ouon and Chris Dickson, has the Cypriot champions bang on course for a spot in the third round against Serbian side Partizan, who hold a commanding 4-1 advantage over Valetta, established in Malta last week.
Jeffrey admits it will be another demanding 90 minutes.
“We can take a little comfort knowing we’ll not be playing in the energy sapping temperatures we had to endure last week in Cyprus, which was quite alarming,” said Jeffrey.
“But we know how good Limassol are – it will be another massive test for us. They are the best team we have faced in Europe for some time. I feared the worst at one stage when they led 3-0 with over half-an-hour remaining. But I was proud of my lads . . . the never dropped their heads and kept going to the end.
“The tie is probably over as far as we are concerned. I’m not being defeatist in any shape or form, but given the quality of the opposition, it is unlikely we’ll score goals and keep a clean sheet.
“Limassol are a classy outfit. Their passing and movement is unbelievable at times – they are all technically good.
“It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they were to go on and claim a place in the group stages of the Champions League.”