Eleven UEFA Cup second qualifying round berths are up for grabs as the final UEFA Intertoto Cup competition began this past weekend.
The Intertoto Cup was launched in 1961 as a means of generating money for football pools companies in the summer off-season. It came under UEFA’s jurisdiction in 1995 and was turned into an alternative qualifying route into the UEFA Cup. The tournament also allowed clubs who had not qualified for the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup to experience European club football.
The revamping of the European club competitions starting in the 2009/10 season will mark the end of the Intertoto Cup. Bordeaux’s feat of reaching the 1995/96 UEFA Cup final is thus far the best run of any Intertoto Cup winner. Last season’s outright winners of the Intertoto Cup (determined by their UEFA Cup performance), Hamburger SV, did the best of the eleven qualifiers by progressing to the UEFA Cup Round of 16.
In this final run of the competition, 11 teams from the Intertoto Cup will go on to enter the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. Clubs from higher ranked national associations such as Norway and Scotland will enter at the second round of UEFA Cup qualifying. Hibernian are Scotland’s entry and Rosenborg are Norway’s entry. We’ll have more on both the Intertoto and UEFA Cup qualifying as things progress.
The first round of Intertoto play kicked off in style with two emphatic scorelines being put up. Swedish side Elfsborg downed Faroe Islands based club HB Tórshavn 4-1 and Irish club Bohemian FC defeated their Welsh opponents Rhyl FC by a score of 5-1.
Here are the rest of the weekend results:
FK Ekranas (Lithuania) 1-0 JK Trans Narva (Estonia)
Lisburn Distillery FC (Northern Ireland) 2-3 TPS Turku (Finland)
Hibernians (Malta) 0-3 Nova Gorica (Slovenia)
FC Mika (Armenia) 2-2 Tiraspol (Moldova)
Etzella Ettelbruck (Luxembourg) 0-0 Lokomotiv Tbilisi (Georgia)
FK Riga (Latvia) 1-2 Fylkir (Iceland)
Cracovia Krakow (Poland) 1-2 Shakhtyor Soligorsk (Belarus)
FK Neftchi (Azerbaijan) 2-0 Nitra (Slovakia)
NK Rijeka (Macedonia) 0-0 Renova (Croatia)
Celik Zenica (Bosnia-Herzegovina) 3-2 Grbalj Radanovici (Montenegro)
Besa (Albania) 0-0 Ethnikos Achnas (Cyprus)
FC Zhetysu Taldykorgan (Kazakhstan) 1-2 Budapest Honvéd FC (Hungary)