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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Nations Struggle In UEFA Qualifiers

LONDON -- Europe's new nations struggled to put themselves on the soccer map when they made an inauspicious debut in a greatly expanded UEFA Cup.


While debutants from Armenia and Azerbaijan were given a roasting welcome to top-class soccer Tuesday, former European trophy winner Aberdeen was held to an embarrassing 0-0 draw in Latvia. Scotland's Aberdeen, former Cup Winners Cup holder, drew 0-0 with Skonto Riga in the biggest upset of the first leg of the UEFA Cup preliminary round as the European clubs competitions began an unusually early start to the season.


Armenian Ararat Yerevan lost 3-0 at CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria while Turkey's Fenerbahce thrashed Touran of Azerbaijan 5-0 in their first-leg tie in Istanbul, although two of the goals came in the last nine minutes.


With UEFA expanding the tournament from 64 to 91 teams following the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and the reduction in size of the European Cup, the glut of UEFA Cup entries demanded an enlarged preliminary round.