Celtic face Armenian side Alashkert in Champions League qualifiers

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Celtic face a trip to Armenia to open their Champions League qualifying campaign.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were drawn against Alashkert in the first qualifying round as they seek to reach the group stages for a third consecutive year.

Alashkert, who knocked St Johnstone out of the Europa League three seasons ago, are due to play at home in the Armenian capital Yerevan in the first leg, although selections are subject to change.

Celtic begin the first of what they hope are four qualifying rounds on July 10-11 and will discover their potential second-round opponents later on Tuesday.

Northern Irish champions Crusaders were paired with Bulgarians Ludogorets, the highest-ranked team in the draw.

Ludogorets have twice reached the group stages in the past four seasons, playing Liverpool and Arsenal along the way.

The New Saints, who were seeded in the draw, will face Macedonian champions Shkendija.

Shkendija drew twice with Aberdeen in the Europa League three years ago, in their most recent European experience, with the Scots progressing on away goals.

Cork City were handed a tough encounter against Polish side Legia Warsaw, although they were given a boost when the losers of their tie were earmarked as automatic entrants to the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

The rest of the first-round losers will enter the second round of the Europa League qualifiers in a new champions path.

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Real Madrid star Karim Benzema claims Champions League goal was not lucky

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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema insists his Champions League final goal against Liverpool was not lucky.

The Frenchman capitalised on an error from Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius to open the scoring in Kiev as Los Blancos clinched a third successive European crown.

The 30-year-old, though, explained that he had to work hard to be in the right position.

“No, I don’t think it was luck,” he told AS. “You have to be at the right place at the right time.”I don’t believe in luck, it’s always hard work.

“It may have been an easy goal, but you have to be there to score it.

“With that goal getting Los Blancos off the mark, they went on to win the final 3-1.

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola handed two-game ban for conduct in defeat to Liverpool

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UEFA has announced Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been given a two-match ban, one of which is suspended for one season, for improper conduct following his dismissal from the bench in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool in April.

More to follow…

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