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Dundalk shouldn't fear Riga.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIERS LEAGUE OF IRELAND leaders DUNDALK were held to a 2-2 draw at Derry on Friday, but they can bounce back with a home victory over Latvian champions FC Riga in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier, writes Dan Childs.

Dundalk lost eight successive European ties between 1981 and 2002, but they reached the Europa League group stage in 2016 and look worthy favourites to establish a firstleg lead over Riga at Oriel Park. The Latvians achieved a league and cup double in 2018, but they represent a weak league - Latvia is ranked 40th on the latest coefficients, two places below Ireland - and are up against a team with much more European experience.

Dundalk overcame Baltic opposition at the same stage of last season's Champions League qualifying, defeating Estonian side Levadia Tallinn 3-1 on aggregate.

Kazakhstan side Astana have contested the Europa League group stage for the last three seasons and their success should inspire domestic rivals FC TOBOL, who begin their Europa League qualifying campaign with a trip to Luxembourg side Jeunesse Esch.

Tobol, second in the Kazakh league behind leaders Astana, are a rising force and they should be too strong for Jeunesse Esch, who were third in Luxembourg last term.

Recommendations Dundalk 1pt 10-11 general FC Tobol 2pts 3-4 Betway

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Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXLA
Date:Jul 10, 2019
Words:217
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