Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Celtic and Red Star among Valletta’s potential opponents
Jun 18, 2018
Posted in:
General
BOV Premier League
Valletta will represent Malta in the Champions League. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
Valletta will represent Malta in the Champions League. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

  • Valletta will represent Malta in the Champions League. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
  • Balzan will compete in the Europa League.

Champions Valletta and Balzan, the 2017-18 BOV Premier League runners-up, will soon discover their opponents in the first qualifying round of the Champions League and Europa League respectively as the draws are being held at UEFA’s Nyon headquarters on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 


The first qualifying round of the 2018/19 Champions League consists of 32 teams while the second round is split into a champions path and a league path.

 

Losing sides in the Champions League first qualifying round go into the Europa League second qualifying round.

 

Valletta are one of the unseeded teams in Group 3 for Tuesday’s draw, starting at noon. They could be drawn against Scottish giants Celtic, Astana (Kazakhstan), Crvena Zvezda (Serbia), Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Israel), Kukes (Albania) and Zrinjski (Bosnia & Herzegovina).

 

Two years ago, Valletta met Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) in the second qualifying round of the Champions League after overcoming B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands on the away goals rule in the previous round. The Citizens were eliminated by Red Star 4-2 on aggregate.

 

The winner of the preliminary round tournament will also advance to the first qualifying round of the Champions League.

 

FC Santa Coloma (Andorra), Drita (Kosovo), La Fiorita (San Marino) and Lincoln Red Imps (Gibraltar) are competing in the mini-tournament, being played in Gibraltar next week.

 

The first legs of the Champions League first qualifying round matches are scheduled for July 10/11, 2018 with the return matches a week later.

 

After winning a league and cup double last season, Valletta have signed Italian striker Mario Fontanella, who spent the last two seasons with rivals Floriana, and young goalkeeper Yenz Cini who has rejoined the club.

 

BALZAN AWAIT

 

Meanwhile, Balzan FC will feature in the draw of the first qualifying round of the Europa League, being held on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Balzan, who confirmed Marko Micovic as their coach and recruited goalkeeper Steve Sultana from Ħamrun Spartans, are one of the unseeded teams for the draw which comprises a total of 94 participants.

 

Balzan are one of the unseeded teams in Group 7 for Wednesday's draw. The seeded teams are Partizan (Serbia), Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia), Kesla (Azerbaijan), CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria) and Rabotnicki (Macedonia).

 

Gżira United and Birkirkara, the other two Maltese representatives in the Europa League, will also know their potential opponents in the first qualifying round of this competition.

 

The Maroons are away for the first leg of their preliminary round match against Andorra’s Sant Julià on June 28 while the Stripes host Faroese side KÍ Klaksvík at the Centenary Stadium on the same day. The return legs will be played the following week.

 

Both Gżira, who finished third in the BOV Premier League last season, and Birkirkara will be going all out to progress to the first round proper of the Europa League.

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