Champions Hibernians will be aiming to set up a clash with FC Red Bull Salzburg of Austria by qualifying for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League as they face FCI Tallinn of Estonia in the second leg of the first qualifying round at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn on Tuesday, kick-off at 18:00.
The Paolites only managed to qualify twice for a second round of a UEFA competition when they had eliminated Fram Reykjavik in the Cup Winners Cup in 1971 after beating them 3-0 in the first leg and losing 0-2 in the second and then in the Champions League in 2002 when they eliminated Shelbourne of Ireland with a 2-2 draw at home and a 1-0 win away from home.
Photo: Copyright © Jonathan Bugeja
Last Tuesday, after that goalkeeper Andrew Hogg managed to neutralise a Nesterov penalty early in the game, a second-half strike by Jorginho and an own goal by Aleksandr Volodin enabled Hibernians to take a two-goal lead which puts them in a good position of reaching the next stage. In fact, a narrow defeat would be enough for them to qualify.
Coach Mark Miller is not expected to make any changes to the starting line-up with Hogg in goal, Marcelo Dias, Rodolfo Soares, Rui da Gracia, Andrei Agius, Clayton Failla, Jackson Lima, Bjorn Kristensen, Johann Bezzina, Marco Sahanek and Jorginho. However Austrian defender Martin Kreuzriegler should be available for selection after missing the first leg due to an injury.
For Infonet Tallinn, this is only their second participation in UEFA competition. Last season were eliminated by Hearts in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League after losing 2-1 in Scotland and 4-2 at home. Hearts then met Birkirkara in the second round, only to be eliminated by the Stripes.