DANSKE Bank Premiership Champions, Crusaders, begin their UEFA Champions League campaign at Seaview on Tuesday night against Estonian Champions, FC Levadia Tallinn (745pm). 

Crues Captain Colin Coates admits his side are in for a tough game but believes a positive result at Seaview will leave his side in good position for the second leg. 

"We know how difficult it's going to be, we need to make sure we perform on the night and give ourselves a chance for when we go to Estonia.  If we are able to stop them scoring an away goal then we will have a great chance as we are very strong up front ourselves.

"We know they are a good side and have been scoring a few goals in recent matches, but we have watched them quite a bit and know what we are up against,” said Coates.

FC Levadia Tallinn come into the first leg having won six games on the bounce in the Meistriliiga and currently top the table after 16 games. 

Speaking about the 3G surface at Seaview, the defender feels that this could be vital in the overall outcome of the tie.

“Our players are obviously very used to playing there and others may see it as an advantage for us, but we never take it for granted. The Estonians are a good side and are in the middle of their own season so we know we are in for a tough game no matter what the surface is, but we are ready for it.”

A big crowd is expected at Seaview, with fans from all clubs out to support one another, something that Coates says makes the Irish League special.

“Yes, we (the players) are representing Crusaders, but we are also very aware and very proud that we are representing the Danske Bank Premiership in the UEFA Champions League. If Linfield, Glenavon, Glentoran and the Crues can all get positive results in Europe then it benefits the league as a whole as the UEFA ranking goes up. 

“I think the beauty of the European games is that most of the Irish League fans support each other’s clubs as they know the benefit to the league if a club progresses. It’s what makes our fans special and I’m sure we will have a strong support at Seaview on Tuesday,” added Coates.

Match Details

UEFA Champions League – Qualifying Round 1 (1st leg)

Tuesday 30 June, 7:45pm 

Crusaders v FC Levadia Tallinn

Seaview, Belfast

Tags:  Crusaders