Vol. 5 Num 418 Sat. July 30, 2005  

Third Round Draw
No Merseyside derby

Everton avoided a clash with Merseyside rivals Liverpool in Friday's Champions League third qualifying round draw.

Everton were drawn against Spanish side Villareal while Cup holders Liverpool drew CSKA Sofia or Dinamo Tirana of Albania.

"They'll be two good games, but two tough games," said Everton chairman Bill Kenwright.

"As we were unseeded there weren't many games that we would say we fancied but we've got to go in and accept it as an opportunity to get into the group stages."

Liverpool take a 3-1 lead over Lithuanian champions Kaunas into the second leg of the second qualifying round next week at Anfield while CSKA should also complete their second round tie having won 2-0 in Tirana in the first leg.

Liverpool's dramatic win over AC Milan in Istanbul in May forced UEFA to allow the Reds to defend their title despite failing to finish in the English Premiership's top four.

They were also seeded but as they had no country protection they could have faced unseeded Everton.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said he was relieved to have avoided Everton.

"Clearly when we were not given country protection conspiracy theorists thought it was going to happen. Neither side would have relished it," he said.

"We've still got a job to do against Kaunas and we'll start thinking about the third round after Tuesday," he said.

"We will gather information and we are taking each game as it comes, we are professional -- we are used to it. We treat everyone with respect but not fear."

Manchester United were drawn against Hungarian side Debrecen or Croatia's Hajduk Split. Debrecen are favoured to visit Old Trafford having won the first leg of their second round tie 3-0.

United secretary Ken Ramsden said: "It could be either club. We don't take anything for granted but it's a real step into the unknown - there's so much uncertainty.

"Debrecen have told us if they got a big team they would move the game to Budapest.

"It would be a big stage and a big pitch -- but we will play where we are sent.

"We really wanted Shelbourne but that was unlikely."

Scottish champions Rangers may have a trip to Cyprus to face Anorthosis who defend a 3-1 lead against Trabzonspor in Turkey next week.

"I think the most important thing is that we are away from home first, which was an aspiration we had for today's draw," Rangers chief executive Martin Bain said.

He would not say whom he preferred to play.

"I'm sure Alex McLeish, our manager, knows plenty about the teams in the draw. We will do all the necessary preparation and see where it takes us," he said.

Celtic, humiliated 5-0 by Artmedia Bratislava in Slovakia in the second round, face either Partizan Belgrade or Moldavan side FC Sheriff if they get out of that corner.

Partizan won their first leg 1-0 and have a testing trip to Moldavia.

The ties will be played over two legs on August 9/10 and 23/24, with the 16 winners joining the 16 automatic qualifiers for the group stage, starting in September.