Champions League road for Sheriff starts afresh in Bosnia

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The long road for Sheriff Tiraspol back to the Champions League group stage will start in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the first qualifying round was drawn on Tuesday.

Sheriff beat eventual title winner Real Madrid 2-1 in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium last September after advancing through four qualifying rounds. Sheriff had beaten the champions of Albania, Armenia, Serbia and Croatia to make its group-stage debut.

The champion of Moldova, with 20 titles in the last 22 seasons, must again beat four opponents to join the 32-team elite and will be away first against Zrinjski in Mostar.

The first leg is on July 6 or 7 and the return game is on July 12 or 13.

In other pairings for the champions of lower-ranked nations, it was Tobol vs. Ferencváros and Lech Poznań vs. Qarabağ. Ferencváros and Qarabağ both played in the group stage in the past five seasons.

Bodø/Glimt, which reached the Europa Conference League quarterfinals in April, is at home first against KÍ of the Faeroe Islands.

The 15 losing teams in the first qualifying round transfer across to the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds.

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