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Caspian Football Teams Make It To 1st Qualifying Round In UEFA Champions League

By Ilham Karimli June 19, 2019


Qarabağ FC players give the fans applause after playing 1-1 with Spanish Atletico Madrid in Baku, October 2017 / Alexander Nemenov / AFP/Getty

Azerbaijan’s Qarabağ football (soccer) team and their Kazakhstan counterparts Astana found out which teams they will be playing against in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, after draws that took place on Tuesday in the Swiss city of Nyon.

Qarabağ will square off against Partizani from Albania. Their first game will take place in the 9,600-seat Selman Stermasi stadium in Albania’s capital city of Tirana on July 9 or 10 after UEFA’s confirmation of the first qualifying round regulations. Qarabağ will next play against Partizani in either Tofig Bahramov stadium or Olympic Stadium in Baku on July 16 or 17. 

The 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League first qualifying round games will be the fifth run for the Azerbaijani club, nicknamed “horsemen,” for making it to the group stage. The only other time Qarabağ won the right to play in the Champions League was in the 2017-2018 season, but is the only Azerbaijani team to ever be represented in what is Europe’s ultimate football tournament.

Astana will play against the CFR Cluj football team from Romania in the 30,000-seat Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on either July 9 or 10. The second match between the two teams will take place on July 16 or 17, at the Konstantin Radulescu stadium.  

Astana’s only other group stage run in the UEFA Champions League was during the 2015-2016 season.