Champions League review

Bangor facing exit, Linfield hope

July 13, 2011

Welsh Premier champions Bangor are facing a likely exit from the Champions League at the second qualifying round stage after a heavy home defeat to HJK Helsinki.

The home side, playing at Belle Vue in Rhyl, fell to two goals from Berat Sadik and a late third from substitute Sebastian Sorsa, leaving them with everything to do heading into next Tuesday's second leg in Finland.

Although the visitors were without veteran forward Jari Litmanen, who was considered unfit after recent injury trouble, they swept ahead early with Sadik capitalising on a failed offside trap to fire home after 14 minutes.

The same striker's precise driven finish made it 2-0 after 55 minutes, and Bangor boss Nev Powell's team were made to pay for spurning chances to cut the deficit when Sorsa scored HJK's third goal from the edge of the penalty area in the 89th minute.

Linfield kept themselves in with a shot of reaching the third qualifying round of the Champions League after holding BATE Borisov, the champions of Belarus, at Windsor Park.

The IFA Premiership title holders made an ideal start when former Glentoran midfielder Daryl Fordyce, on his European debut for Linfield, converted a cross from the right delivered by Jim Ervin in the fifth minute.

Renan Bressan equalised with a penalty after 37 minutes, awarded following a handball by David Armstrong, but neither side could force another goal.

The second leg of the second qualifying round takes place next Tuesday, with Linfield looking to knock out a club who reached the Champions League group stages in 2008, when they drew home and away with Juventus.