UEFA Europa Conference League: Larne prepare for Portuguese test
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The east Antrim team, competing in Europe for the first time in their 132-year history, have surpassed expectations in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League, overcoming Welsh Premier side Bala Town in the first qualifying round before knocking out AGF Aarhus of Denmark in the second round.
The Invermen have been handed another major incentive to overcome the Porto-based team in the third qualifying round after they were paired with Tottenham Hotspur in the play-offs for the group stages.
In Monday’s draw Tiernan Lynch’s charges were handed the dream draw against the north London side if they manage to navigate past their Portuguese opponents, who finished fifth in last season’s Primeira Liga.
Jorge Simao is the current Pacos de Ferreira manager. The experienced Portuguese coach was appointed in May following his departure from Mouscron in Belgium. This is his second spell at the helm after managing them from 2015 to 2016.
Simao has previously managed Portuguese clubs including Belenenses, Braga and Boavista. He also spent a year at Saudi Arabian club Al-Fayha from 2019 to 2020.
Pacos, who received a bye to the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League, have had four previous ventures into European competition, with their greatest continental achievement coming when they qualified for the group stages of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League.
Speaking to the Times ahead of the first leg in Portugal, Larne FC’s Head of Media, Ian Cahoon, said: “Our flight to Porto leaves at 10am on Wednesday. Preparations have been great, all focus is on Thursday.
“If we got to the Qualifying Round, Inver wouldn’t meet the minimum requirements for that round which would most likely mean playing it at Windsor Park.”
Click here to read Dream draw with Spurs is carrot for Larne to progress in Europe
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