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2020/21 European Champions League Kicks-off

New season edition of Europe’s top club trophy gets underway before previous season’s quarter-final line-up is known...

S.S. Tre Fiori F.C. v Linfield FC - UEFA Champions League 2020/21 Preliminary Round - Semi-final
Lounseny Kalissa (left) of San Marino’s Tre Fiori F.C. and Bastien Héry of Linfield in action during the UEFA Champions League 2020/21 Preliminary Round this afternoon at Colovray Sports Center, Nyon, Switzerland. Linfield won 2-0.
Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

These Covid times continue to throw up weird and wonderful scenarios.

The 2020/21 edition of Europe’s premier club competition, the Champions League, got under way in Nyon, Switzerland this afternoon, before Barcelona and Bayern Munich had confirmed their places in the quarter-finals of the 2019/20 edition.

Northern Ireland league champions, Linfield secured their place in Tuesday’s preliminary round final by defeating Tre Fiori (Three Flowers) the champion club of San Marino, 2-0. A pair of Frenchmen proved match-winners for the Irish in Bastien Hery and Christy Manzinga, a recent signing from Scottish Premier League side, Motherwell.

Linfield will meet Kosovo’s Drita, winners of the preliminary round final last season, who defeated Inter d’Escaldes of Andorra 2-1 in today’s other semi-final.

The winner of Tuesday’s final could face one of three clubs in Qualifying Round 1: Celtic (Scotland), Legia Warsaw (Poland) or Ferencvaros (Hungary).

The draw is tomorrow, 9 August. Qualifying Round 1 will be a single match, not the customary two-legged tie. The team drawn out first will enjoy home advantage.

All UEFA Champions League games are behind closed doors.

Smartly dressed - the party from Kosovo’s Drita FC pictured at Prishtina International Airport prior to their trip to Geneva for the Champions League preliminaries.