Balzan will be all out to secure a historic qualification to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League as they entertain Keşla FK of Azerbaijan in the second leg of the first qualifying round at the Dalga Stadium in Baku on Thursday, kick-off at 19:00.
In the second qualifying round, Balzan would face Milsami Orhei of Moldova or Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia. The latter start as favourites after winning the first leg 4-2.
Goals by Alfred Effiong, Alex da Paixao Alves ‘Lecao’, Bojan Kaljevic and Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes ‘Kadu’ gave Balzan a 4-1 win in the first leg and therefore all they need is to avoid losing by three goals to nil in order to make it to the next stage. Ironically two years ago, Balzan had registered their first ever win in a UEFA competition match when they beat Neftçi Baku 2-1.
Coach Marko Micovic is not expected to make any changes to the team as the only two unavailable players are Dale Camilleri and Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte who had both started the last game on the bench. Therefore Steve Sultana should start in goal, Ivan Bozovic, Elkin Serrano, Michael Johnson and captain Steve Bezzina should play in defence, Lecao, Nenad Slivic, Milos Lepovic and Kadu in midfield with Alfred Effiong and Bojan Kaljevic in attack.