Linfield and Bodo/Glimt will aim to move one step closer to the Champions League group stages when they lock horns in the first leg of their second-round qualifying battle on Tuesday night.

The Northern Irish champions saw off The New Saints 2-1 on aggregate in round one, while the visitors to Windsor Park survived a scare against KI Klaksvik to advance 4-1.

Up until the 94th minute of Linfield’s first-round second leg battle with The New Saints, the Blues faithful were surely preparing for the inevitability that their side would fall at the first hurdle for the fourth year running.

Down 1-0 on aggregate, Linfield forced extra time in the second leg through Jamie Mulgrew’s effort deep into second-half stoppage time, and fellow substitute Ethan Devine would fire home in the 95th minute to keep the Northern Irish giants alive in Europe’s top tier.

Such a valiant showing clearly galvanised David Healy’s squad for a recent friendly with H&W Welders, as Linfield took after their previously prolific manager to win 8-1 in that exhibition game on Saturday to further increase morale ahead of their NIFL Premiership title defence.

Playing in the second round of Champions League qualifying for the first time since the 2017-18 season, Linfield now possess the opportunity to make it round three in Europe’s elite competition for the first time ever, but their continental campaign will remain alive in the Europa League should they come out second best here.

Bodo/Glimt’s Nigerian target man Victor Boniface had seemingly steered his side into the second round of Champions League qualifying with a first-leg hat-trick against KI Klaksvik, but the Faroe Islands champions threatened quite the comeback one week later.

Jakup Andreasen’s brace and a 12th-minute opener from Mads Boe Mikkelsen gave the hosts a glimmer of a phenomenal turnaround, but Boniface netted once again from the spot to ensure that his side would advance 4-3 on aggregate.

Kjetil Knutsen’s men made their task of reaching the second round far more difficult than it should have been, but they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 Eliteserien success over Hamarkameratene at the weekend thanks to Amahl Pellegrino’s late brace off the bench


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