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Sofia adamant Dundalk will be respected despite big lead

BULGARIAN side Levski Sofia insist they will show respect to Dundalk when the sides meet in the Europa League at Oriel Park tonight (7.0), even though Sofia hold a 6-0 lead from the first leg.

Dundalk come into the game on the back of a dismal run of form with three successive defeats and an aggregate scoreline of 0-13, but the Bulgarians have promised to take the game seriously.

Levski won't earn their record Euro win against Dundalk -- it will be hard for them to top a 19-3 aggregate win from 1976 -- but the club, which includes internationals like Dimitar Telkiyski and classy imports like Dusty Myulder (Holland) and Joaozinho (Portugal), will still expect to progress with ease.

"Even though we scored many goals and had a big win in Sofia, we still have a lot of respect for Dundalk," Levski coach Yasen Petrov said.

"They battled for every minute in Sofia and we expect a good game tomorrow. We are sure that it will be difficult, and we have respect for a big team, because at this stage of the tournament every team is good."

Captain Liam Burns misses out for Dundalk again, but the Louth side will hope that Shaun Jelly and Stephen Maher can recover from injury.

Dundalk boss Ian Foster says his side will savour the occasion despite that dismal run in recent weeks. "It's a game we can try and enjoy. There is absolutely no pressure on us. We can try and play football. It has been a tough week, but to be honest we're not too downhearted about it," Foster said.

"We've lost four out of our last five league games but they've been against St Patrick's Athletic, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians and Sporting Fingal, teams that have budgets that are the double of ours and even treble of ours in some cases."


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