Cork City to face Legia Warsaw in 'toughest possible' Champions League draw

Tue, Jun 19 2018

Karl Sheppard celebrates a goal during City's Europa League win over Levadia Tallinn at Turner's Cross last year. Credit: Michael P Ryan

Cork City have been drawn with Polish league winners Legia Warsaw in the first qualifying round of season's Champions League.

The winners of the tie will face either Spartak Trnava of Slovakia or HRK Zrinjski of Bosnia and Herzegovina following today's draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

City have been drawn at home in the first leg to take place during the week of July 10th, before travelling to the Polish Army Stadium a week later (subject to official confirmation).

Under changes to this season's competition, losers in the Champions League qualifiers will be bumped down to the Europa League qualifiers.

The losers of the tie will be given a bye in the second qualifying round of the Europa League and advance straight to round three.

“It’s the toughest draw we could have got,” manager John Caulfield revealed to reporters following the draw.

“They have [Artur] Jedrzejczyk and [Michal] Pazdan in the Poland World Cup squad, [and] two more in the extended squad. That shows the level they’re at.

“Two years ago against Dundalk in the Aviva Stadium, they were superb. They played Dundalk off the park, though Dundalk did do better in the second leg.

“With the way the seeding was, we knew that we could get a draw like this, we had already done some work on them and we’ll make sure that we’re prepared accordingly.

“They’re a quality team but we’ve always acquitted ourselves well in Europe. It’s the Champions League, it’s where you want to be.”

Legia are no strangers to Irish shores, having twice faced Irish teams in Champions League qualifiers in the past five years.

Dundalk faced the 14-times Ekstraklasa winners in the play-off round in 2016, losing 3-1 on aggregate after conceding a late equaliser in Poland as they looked to force extra time.

In 2014, St Patrick's Athletic also drew 1-1 with the Polish champions in their second qualifying round game before an injury-ravaged Saints side succumbed 5-0 in Tallaght.

The first leg of the Legia Warsaw tie will be played on the 10/11 July, with the return leg on 17/18 July, however all dates are subject to change until officially confirmed.