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16 November 2023

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Aris Limassol and Slovan Bratislava are set to meet in the first qualifying round of the 2023–24 UEFA Champions League.
Aris Limassol will be participating in their 2nd Champions League campaign after having made their debut in 2022. The Cypriot giants finished third in the Cypriot First Division last season to secure their spot in the qualifiers. Aris will be looking to do better than their first campaign where they were knocked out in the first round by Dutch side FC Twente.
To do so, Aris will need their star player Tiago Goulart 六‍聆 to be at his best. The Brazilian winger scored 12 goals and provided 8 assists last season. Goulart will be key if Aris want to cause an upset against Slovan. The Cypriot side will also rely on veteran striker Faouzi Kamali who has scored over 100 goals for Aris during his career. Manager Temur Ketsbaia will hope the experienced campaigners can lead by example.
Meanwhile, Slovan Bratislava enter as strong favorites having finished runners up in the Fortuna Liga last season, just three points behind champions Slovan Bratislava. They will also have home advantage in the second leg. Slovan have pedigree in European competition and won the Slovak Super Liga title in the 2021-22 season. Coach Vladimír Weiss will look to Vladimír Weiss will look to build on Slovan's domestic success with a strong European run.
Key to Slovan's hopes will be Guinea international Ibrahim Rabiu in midfield. The energetic dynamo scored 5 goals last season from the center of the park. Another danger man is 20-year old forward David Strelec who found the net 11 times. If those two can combine effectively, Slovan will be tough to contain. However, they will still need to be wary of an Aris side with experience of Champions League football now under their belt.
Overall, while Slovan will undoubtedly be favored due to their status as Slovak champions, Aris showed last year they are no pushovers in Europe 💪. If Goulart and Kamali are on song, they have the firepower needed to potentially cause an upset over the two legs. But Slovan's home advantage in the second leg may just prove the difference. In any case, it should be a closely fought first qualifying round tie between two well matched teams. -