Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Difficult test but we will do our best, says Gżira coach
Jul 19, 2018
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BOV Premier League
Gżira United coach Darren Abdilla (right) and Team Manager Marlon Galea during the pre-match press conference. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
Gżira United coach Darren Abdilla (right) and Team Manager Marlon Galea during the pre-match press conference. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Two Maltese clubs will be in action in the Europa League on Thursday evening with Gżira United facing Serbian side Radnicki Nis at the Centenary Stadium while Balzan are away to Azeri team Keshla in the second leg of their first qualifying round tie.
 


The Maltese duo gained contrasting results in last week’s first legs. Gżira went down 4-0 to Radnicki, a defeat that has significantly undermined their prospects of advancing, while Balzan take a 4-1 lead into the second leg.

 

While acknowledging that Gżira’s chances of qualifying are remote, coach Darren Abdilla said that his team will be doing their best to put on a creditable showing.

 

“This will be a difficult test for us but we will do our best,” Abdilla told the pre-match conference.

 

Abdilla described this experience in the Europa League as part of the learning curve for his players as they are facing a team who have a higher level of football.

 

“Radnicki are a very organised team with high-quality players. On the day, they were better than us and deserved their win,” Abdilla said.

 

The Gżira United coach is planning to make some changes to his starting XI with captain Andrew Cohen, unavailable for the first leg, set to start.

 

Roderick Briffa is on the verge of setting a new milestone for most appearances in European competitions by a Maltese player. The 37-year-old is currently sharing first place with Gilbert Agius with 40 matches, meaning that he will set a new record if he plays a part in today’s game against Radnicki.

 

Gżira’s match against Radnicki kicks off at 18.00.

 

A match against either Ferencváros (Hungary) or Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel) awaits the winners of the Gżira/Radnicki tie.

 

BALZAN UPBEAT


Meanwhile, Balzan will be looking to finish the job when they play their second leg against Keshla at the Dalga Stadium in Baku (kick-off 19.00).

 

The Reds travelled to Azerbaijan in high spirits after their 4-1 victory in last week’s initial leg with goals from Alfred Effiong, Lecao, Bojan Kaljevic and Cadu.

 

The winners of the Balzan/Keshla tie will meet the winners of the match between Milsami Orhei (Moldova) and Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia.)
 

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