Malta Football Association
Valletta in Albania ahead of Champions League clash
Jul 10, 2018
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Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Valletta begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday with an away match against Albanian side FK Kukesi (kick-off 7pm) in the first qualifying round of Europe’s flagship competition.

Kukesi finished second in the Albanian League last season but were promoted to take part in the UEFA Champions League as domestic champions Skenderbeu are suspended by UEFA.


The Maltese champions were due to train at the 16,000-capacity Loro Boriçi Stadium in the town of Shkodër this evening ahead of tomorrw’s (Wednesday) game.


“We have settled in well since arriving in Albania on Monday,” Valletta coach Danilo Doncic told


“The players had some rest but now it’s time to step up our preparations.


“Today (Tuesday) we had a double training session. We have to make sure that we are at our best to face this strong Albanian team tomorrow.”


The Valletta coach also spoke about the new players in his squad with former Floriana striker Italian Mario Fontanella likely to be the only new face in the team for the first-leg match against Kukesi.


Goalkeeper Yenz Cini has also rejoined Valletta along with 26-year-old Romanian winger Bogdan Gavrila who began training with his new team-mates a few weeks ago.


Last season, Valletta advanced to the second qualifying round of the Europa League after overcoming San Marino side SC Folgore 3-0 on aggregate. They were eliminated by Dutch side FC Utrech in the second qualifying round.


Kukesi finished nine points behind Skenderbeu in the Albanian Superliga last season.


The winner of this tie will set up a match against Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia) or Qarabağ (Azerbaijan) in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.


The losing side goes into the Europa League where they will meet either Spartak Trnava (Slovakia) and Zrinjski (Bosnia & Herzegovina).

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