By DAN KARELL
Despite Josh Gatt’s season-ending knee injury with Molde FK, there will still be at least one American playing in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
FC Nordsjælland and their midfielder Conor O’Brien were placed against Zenit St. Petersburg in the league route of the Champions League draw on Friday. The first leg of the tie takes place on July 30/31, with the second leg a week later on August 6/7.
The Danish club has recent history with American players, as USMNT member Michael Parkhurst played with the club for four years until last December and current New York Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce played with the side from 2005-2007.
Also of note in the Champions League draw, Turkish side Fenerbahce was included, despite having been banned for prior match-fixing allegations earlier this summer by UEFA. The CAS recently blocked the UEFA decision for the time being.
Here’s the full Champions League third qualifying round draw:
THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND DRAW (30/31 July, 6/7 August)
FC Basel 1893 (SUI) vs. Győri ETO FC (HUN)/Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)
Sligo Rovers FC (IRL)/Molde FK (NOR) vs. The New Saints FC (WAL)/Legia Warszawa (POL)
ŠK Slovan Bratislava (SVK)/PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL) vs. FC Shirak (ARM)/FK Partizan (SRB)
FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)/ EB/Streymur (FRO) vs. FC Steaua Bucureşti (ROU)/FK Vardar (MKD)
APOEL FC (CYP) vs. Birkirkara FC (MLT)/NK Maribor (SVN)
Celtic FC (SCO)/ Cliftonville FC (NIR) vs. IF Elfsborg (SWE)/FC Daugava Daugavpils (LVA)
FC BATE Borisov (BLR)/FC Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ) vs. Neftçi PFK (AZE)/KS Skënderbeu (ALB)
FK Austria Wien (AUT) vs. FK Ekranas (LTU)/FH Hafnarfjördur(ISL)
HJK Helsinki (FIN)/JK Nõmme Kalju (EST) vs. FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)/FK Željezničar (BIH)
CS Fola Esch (LUX)/GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) vs. FC Sheriff (MDA)/FK Sutjeska (MNE)
FC Nordsjælland (DEN) vs. FC Zenit St Petersburg (RUS)
FC Salzburg (AUT) vs. Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)
PAOK FC (GRE) vs. FC Metalist Kharkiv (UKR)
PSV Eindhoven (NED) vs. SV Zulte Waregem (BEL)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) vs. Grasshopper Club (SUI)
What do you think of this draw? Do you see Nordsjælland defeating Zenit? Which matches are you looking forward to?
Share your thoughts below?