Tuesday 21 November 2017

Chelsea victory hits Hoops hopes

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

CHELSEA'S Champions League win on Saturday has delivered a serious blow to Shamrock Rovers' prospects of being seeded in next season's competitions.

Despite their fine European performances last year, the Hoops are right on the cut-off line. Before the weekend, they needed two out of three situations around Europe to go their way. The first was a Bayern win in the Champions League, as Chelsea's qualification for next year's tournament has a knock-on effect.

So that leaves the Hoops relying on two unfancied sides winning the league titles of Georgia and Bulgaria.

The Georgian league ended in farce yesterday, with two teams claiming victory after finishing on the same amount of points. Zestafoni have a better goal difference, but Metalurgi Rustavi have won more games and believe that makes them the champions. The Hoops need Metalurgi to secure the crown and a special meeting of the Georgian FA will today make a decision which, incredibly, was not made clear beforehand.

If Metalurgi are victorious, the Irish champions still have a chance. But they would then require second-placed Ludogorets to win their final-day meeting with Bulgarian league leaders CSKA Sofia on Wednesday.

Being seeded has huge implications for Stephen Kenny's side. If they get through their first round, they are guaranteed a further four games and close to €500,000.

However, if they lose at the first hurdle, their European campaign is over with little to boost the coffers.

Irish Independent

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