Football clubs crash out of Europa League through defeat or the coronavirus

Premium League: Nõmme Kalju FC - Tallinna FCI Levadia.
Premium League: Nõmme Kalju FC - Tallinna FCI Levadia. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

While much was made of Nõmme Kalju's match against Slovenian side NŠ Mura being canceled due to COVID-19, Estonian clubs Tallinn FCI Levadia and Paide Linnameeskond were able to play their first round qualifiers, though both teams suffered losses.

Levadia lost 3:4 in extra time to Faroe Islands club B36. All the goals came after the half-time mark, though Markus Jürgenson of Levadia missed a penalty in the 22nd minute.

The floodgates opened in the second half, with Karl Rudolf Õigus giving Levadia an initial lead. B36 striker Sebastian Pingel knocked in two goals in the 72nd and 76th minute, however, though Trevor Ehl was able to equalize the match for Levadia in the 80th minute, taking the game into extra time.

Levadia again took the lead in the 101st minute as striker Mateus Alberto Contreiras Goncalves, known simply as Manucho, knocked in a goal, but the Faroe Islands side tied things up five minutes later, and scored what ended up as the winning goal seven minutes before the end of extra time.

Paide Linnameeskond traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, to face off against FK Žalgris. The Estonian side conceded two goals in the first half - in the 9th and 32nd minutes - and never recovered.

On August 20, reigning Estonian football league champion FC Flora lost to Lithuanian side FK Suduva on penalties, ending Flora's stint in this year's Champions League in only the first qualifying round.

Coronavirus defeats Nõmme Kalju for now

ERR News wrote on August 27 that the meeting between Nõmme Kalju and Slovenian side NŠ Mura, scheduled to take place at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday, was postponed due to coronavirus risks, even though the Estonian Football Association (EJL) had applied to the government for an extraordinary permission.

The Health Board (Terviseamet) based its dedcision on the fact that a player for Kalju tested positive for COVID-19 on August 23, after playing in a domestic league game the day before.

A repeat test on August 25 also confirmed the infection. An NŠ Mura player also tested postive around the same time, after playing a game in the domestic league in that country.

Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said that calling the match off was not a cancellation as such, explaining it in terms of not allowing footballers, just as with regular people, to go to work if they have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

Lukas told ERR on Thursday: "It would have been better if the match had taken place, but the Health Board decides who can run out on the pitch. They are basing their actions off the rules that close contacts must remain in self-isolation [for 14 days] and they have no exemption if they are not healthcare workers."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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