Aris plays Rangers in Europa League

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Cypriot football champions Aris Limassol will play in Group C of the UEFA Europa League against Glasgow Rangers, Spain’s Real Betis and Sparta Prague following Friday’s draw.

The Limassol outfit is in the Europa League after demolishing Slovan Bratislava 6-2 at home on Thursday night, completing a dream year for the once-underdogs of Cypriot football.

Aris had lost 2-1 away to the Slovakian side in the first leg of the third preliminary round of the tournament.

The Limassol Greens have written history with their qualification as they are participating for the first time in their 93-year history in a group stage of a European tournament.

Aris celebrated its first-ever championship title last season.

Apart from making the history books, the Limassol club will be banking a minimum of €3.63 mln for reaching this stage.

Teams in the group stage get €630,000 per match victory and €210,000 per match drawn.

Aris started its European campaign in the second round of the Champions, beating Bate Borisov with an astonishing 11-5 aggregate win.

In the third preliminary round, they lost on aggregate 3-1 to Polish side Rakow, dropping into the Europa League group-stage playoffs against Slovan.

Also playing this week, last year’s runner-up, APOEL Nicosia, did not make it through to the UEFA Europa Conference League Group stages, as they were defeated 2-1 at home by KAA Gent.

The Nicosia side also lost 2-0 away in Belgium.

APOEL is estimated to have bagged €750,000 from reaching the playoffs of the tournament and another €300,000 from ticket sales.

Cup winners Omonia Nicosia and second runner-up AEK Larnaca saw their European campaigns cut short at the Europa Conference League third preliminary round, losing to Danish Midtjylland and Israeli Maccabi Tel-Aviv, respectively.

The two Cypriot teams playing in the Conference League have secured a minimum of half a million euros for reaching the third preliminary round of the tournament.

If APOEL, Omonia, and AEK made it to the Europa Conference League Group stage, they would have seen €2.94 mln flowing into their coffers without calculating earnings from tickets and TV rights.