Malta Football Association
Gżira seal great comeback to advance in Europa League
Jul 19, 2019
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Gżira United completed an amazing comeback on Thursday as they overcame a three-goal deficit against Croatian team Hajduk Split at the Stadion Poljud to advance to the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Two splendid goals from Hamed Kone, the first a spectacular overhead kick from just inside the box and the second a perfectly-flighted shot deep into stoppage time, and Jefferson’s powerful header sealed the Maroons’ fightback. Hajduk Split had looked set to qualify after establishing a 3-0 lead over the two legs – a 2-0 win in the first leg at the Centenary Stadium and a seventh-minute goal by Bassel Jradi in Thursday’s second leg but Gżira’s never-say-die attitude swayed the tie in their favour.


Led by coach Giovanni Tedesco, Gżira United will now meet Latvian side Ventspils in the next round with the first leg taking place in Latvia on Thursday.


At the Centenary Stadium, Hibernians enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but a controversial goal dashed their hopes of reaching the second qualifying round of the Europa League as FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk won the match 1-0 to advance 2-0 on aggregate.


The Paolites created the better chances in the first half.


In the opening stages, Bjorn Kristensen had a fine shot turned away for a corner by Andrei Klimovich.
Joseph Mbong had a great opportunity to open the scoring but he was twice denied by Klimovich while Tereence Groothusen’s header, from a Leonardo Nanni free-kick, ended wide.


On 33 minutes, Shakhtyor Soligorsk were reduced to 10 men as midfielder Aleksandr Selyava was shown a straight red card following an incident with Nanni.


Hibs remained in control but could not find a way past the Soligorsk defence.


A Nanni shot from just outside the box, after good work by Dunstan Vella, sails inches over the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.


On 64 minutes, Soligorsk took the lead when substitute Nikita Tatarkov’s cross-shot from the left came off the upright with the ball falling into goalkeeper Marko Jovicic’s hands but the referee deemed that the ball had crossed the line and awarded the goal to Shakhtyor.


With 17 minutes left, Hibs left-back Ferdinando Apap was sent off for a second caution.


Shakhtyor Soligorsk will meet Danish team Esbjerg in the second qualifying round.


A 21st-minute goal scored by Slobodan Vuk was enough for NK Domzale to win the second leg of their Europa League first qualifying round match against Balzan 1-0, completing a 5-3 aggregate victory.


Balzan had lost a thrilling first leg, at the Centenary Stadium, 4-3.


Domzale have set up a meeting with Swedish side Malmo.

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