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The Challenge of Europe
ToffeeWeb chronicles Everton's European Tour, 2005-06

Uefa Cup

So the dream of fame and riches in the Champions League group stages is cut short by a highly dubious refereeing decision by the world's best referee!  Ah well.... now for the Uefa Cup.

First Round
The 16 clubs defeated in the Third Champions League Qualifying Round are entitled to play in the First Round of the 2005-06 Uefa Cup.  They are seeded in Round One in which they play home and away legs on a knock-out basis.  (More details here.)  Two qualifying rounds produce a further 64 teams making 80 in the First Round draw, with the teams split into 8 groups of 10: 5 seeded and 5 unseeded.  The First Round draw took place on Friday 26 August 2005, with Everton a seeded team in Group 1 containing the following unseeded teams:

  • PFC Levski Sofia (Bul)
  • FC Kшbenhavn (Den)
  • FC Dinamo Bucuresti (Rou)
  • FC Metalurh Donetsk (Ukr)
  • Cork City FC (Irl)

Everton were paired with Dinamo Bucuresti (Dynamo Bucharest).  The tie was played over two legs in September (15th & 29th), but Everton suffered a humiliating defeat in 5-1 in Bucharest, earning a belated aand largly pyrrhic victory with home advantage for the second leg.  They failed to join the winners of the other 39 ties, who went on to the group stage, and the European dream turned into a nightmare.

Group stage
The format was changed in 2004-05 when a group stage was introduced.  The group stage comprises eight groups of five, with each club playing four times, twice at home and twice away. The winners, runners-up and third-placed clubs from each group advance to the last 32 where they are joined by the eight third-placed clubs from the Uefa Champions League Group Stage. 

Knock-out format
At this point, the traditional two-match knockout format is resumed, until the single-match final. For two-legged matches in the knock-out phase, the club scoring the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round.  In the event of both teams scoring the same number of goals, the team which scores more away goals qualifies.  If this proves inconclusive, extra time then, if necessary, penalty kicks will be used to decide the winner. Extra-time and penalties are also used to determine the winner in the final if the match is drawn at the end of normal time. 

Champions' League

Everton started off in the Third Qualifying Round that precedes the Group Stages of the so-called Champions' League proper.  (And it is "so-called" because the competition has been weakened to include many teams that are NOT current Champions of their respective domestic leagues... but we won't dwell on that one!) 

Third Qualifying Round

The Third Qualifying Round paired Everton against Villarreal from Spain, who finished third in La Liga, based on the complex seeding system used by Uefa.  This is the full draw, with seeded teams shown in bold, and the side drawn first in each case playing the first leg at home: 

  • FC Basle  v  Werder Bremen
  • FC Petrzalka*  v  Partizan Belgrade / Sheriff Tiraspol
  • Shaktor Donetz  v  Internazionale
  • Shlebourne / Steaua Bucuresti  v  Rosenborg BK
  • Manchester United  v  DVSC Debrecen / Hadjuk Split
  • Malm FF / Maccabi Haifa  v  Dynamo Kiev / FC Thun*
  • Everton Villarreal
  • Liverpool v  Tirhanna / CSKA Sofia
  • Udinese  v  Sporting Lisbon
  • Vlerengen IF / Haka Valkeakoski   v  Club Brugge
  • Rapid Vienna  v  Lokomotiv Moscow / Rabotnicki Skopje*
  • Anderlecht / Neftchi Baku*  v  Slavia Prague
  • Anorthosis Famagusta / Trabzonspor  v  Glasgow Rangers
  • Dinamo Tbilisi  / Brndby IF  v  Ajax Amsterdam
  • Visla Krakow  v  Panithinaikos
  • Real Betis  v  AS Monaco

Although Manchester United were seeded, they were not allowed to play against Everton due to the "same country" protection clause.  This protection however, would not have prevented a Liverpool-Everton tie, assuming Liverpool get through against FBK Kaunas.  Any of the *minnows beating their more reknowned opponents effectively adopt the seeded status of their opponents, since the draw for the Third Qualifying Round has been made before the Second Qualifying Round games are complete (this is Uefa, so no surprise there!).

The first-leg matches was played on Tuesday or Wednesday, 9/10 August 2005; the return legs will be played on Tuesday or Wednesday, 23/24 August 2005.

Villarreal is in the province of Castellуn, which is the northernmost of the three Spanish provinces that make up the region of Valencia.  It is a town principally fuelled by the huge ceramics company Porcelanosa and is near the seaport of Burriana.  The footy team is financed by the brother of Paco Roig, one-time president of Valencia and owner of a huge construction empire.

Although a number of Evertonians are fearful of facing a skilled team like Villarreal, they are a relatively modest club with some good players who had a marvellous season in a Spanish league, which is not quite what it was four or five years ago.  El Madrigal is a tiny ground that, while conducive to a good atmosphere, is not likely to scare anyone.  It's not like going to the Mestalla.  And Diego Forlan was a flop in the English game; although he has been successful for Uruguay and in Spain, he is hardly a player of whom we should be quaking in fear.  Riquelme is a different matter, but he's slow and ponderous and can be harried out of it by a busy midfield like the one we happen to possess.

We can intimidate them to a degree at Goodison in the first leg and give ourselves a platform for the tough second leg.  They are a good side, but do not possess the tradition and long-term European pedigree of a Werder Bremen / Sporting Lisbon / Ajax, which makes it a relatively even draw in many ways.  But many are likely to view it as a tough draw and list Villarreal as favourites, which will suite Davie Moyes and his perennial underdogs just fine.  

More information on Villarreal at these links:

England's Allocation
Uefa permits entry to four teams from each of Europe's top three leagues — La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy and the FA Premiership in England — to the European Champions League.  After much media hype and discussion, the FA finally confirmed that the top four teams in England will qualify, following fears that Everton might not be guaranteed a place if they finished fourth and Liverpool went on to win the tournament last season.  Since that unbelievable scenario actually unfolded in Istanbul — with Liverpool stealing the trophy after being comprehensively outplayed, and cheating in the penalty shoot-out they were then awarded entry to this season's competition, albeit in the First Qualifying Round and stripped of the "country protection" that prevents teams of the same country facing each other until the last 16. 

Qualifying Rounds
The draw for the First and Second Qualifying Rounds was made on 24 June.  The First Round games were played in July 2005:

European Champions League 2005-06: First Qualifying Round
Liverpool Eng Llansantffraid (TNS) Wal 3-0 3-0
Haka Valkeakoski Fin Pyunik Yerevan Arm 1-0 2-2
HB Torshavn Far FBK Kaunas Lit 2-4 0-4
Levadia Tallinn Est Dinamo Tbilisi Geo 1-0 0-2
Nova Gorica Slo SK Tirana Alb 2-0 0-3
Kairat Almaty Kaz FC Petrzalka Svk 2-0 1-4
Neftchi Baku Azb FH Hafnarfjardar Isl 2-0 2-1
Rabotnicki Skopje Mac Skonto Riga Lat 6-0 0-1
Glentoran Nir Shelbourne Irl 1-2 1-4
Dinamo Minsk Bls Anorthosis Famagusta Cyp 1-1 0-1
Sliema Wanderers Mlt Sheriff Tiraspol Mol 1-4 0-2
F91 Dudelange Lux Zrinjski Mostar Bos 0-1 4-0

The first leg of the Second Qualifying Round ties were played in late July and early August 2005:

European Champions League 2005-06: Second Qualifying Round
FBK Kaunas Lit Liverpool Eng 1-3 0-2
Dinamo Tbilisi Geo Brndby IF Den 0-2 1-3
Partizan Belgrade Srb Sheriff Tiraspol Mol 1-0 1-0
DVSC Debrecen Hun Hajduk Split Cro 3-0 5-0
FC Petrzalka Svk Celtic Sco 5-0 0-4
SK Tirana Alb CSKA Sofia Bul 0-2 0-2
Anderlecht Bel Neftchi Baku Azb 5-0 0-1
Vlerengen IF Nor Haka Valkeakoski Fin 1-0 4-1
Rabotnicki Skopje Mac Lokomotiv Moscow Rus 1-1 0-2
F91 Dudelange Lux Rapid Wien Aut 1-6 2-3
Dinamo Kiev Ukr FC Thun Sui 2-2 0-1
Malm FF Swe Maccabi Haifa Isr 3-2 2-2
Shelbourne Irl Steaua Bucuresti Rom 0-0 1-4
Anorthosis Famagusta Cyp Trabzonspor Tur 3-1 0-1


For teams in First Round of the Champions League group stages, who come third in their group, they will drop down to the Uefa Cup and join the groups of 4.  There is no such parachute for those finishing fourth in the CL groups.

It's a knockout of the Group winners thereafter.

Deadlines for signing new players

Champions League:- See

  • 4 Aug 2005 (24h CET / 2300 BST): for all matches in the third qualifying round
  • 1 Sep 2005 (24h CET / 2300 BST): for all matches as from the first match in the group stage.

Note: There are also additional rules concerning subsequent registration for the knock-out rounds, where the deadline is 1 Feb 2006.

UEFA Cup:- See

  • 1 Sep 2005 (24h CET / 2300 BST): for all matches from the first round.




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