After being eliminated by FC Kukësi from the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round on the away goals rule, Valletta will be hoping to kick-off their commitments in the UEFA Europa League with a positive result as they take on HSK Zrinjski of Bosnia Herzegovina at the HSK Zrinjski Stadion in Mosta, kick-off at 19:00.
A 0-0 draw in the first leg against Kukësi in Shkodër had raised the Citizens’ hopes but the 1-1 draw at the Centenary Stadium last week saw the Albanian side through.
Against Zrinjski, Valletta will be aiming to score the goals that would make the whole difference as in the last two matches, they failed to take advantage of the several chances they created.
Hrvatski športski klub Zrinjski Mostar are based in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The club plays in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has been one of the top teams in the country over the years.
The club was founded by Croatian youth in 1905 and is the oldest football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After World War II, all clubs that had participated in the wartime Prva HNL were banned in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Zrinjski being one of them. The ban lasted from 1945 to 1992. The club was reformed after the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It played in the Herzeg-Bosnia First League until 2000 when it joined the Premier League.
In 2005, Zrinjski celebrated its first championship crown in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since then they won the league another five times including the last two years. They won the Cup once in 2007/08.
They have been participating in the main UEFA competitions since 2005 but their best achievement was reaching the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League in 2010 when they were then eliminated by OB Odense of Denmark. This season, they were eliminated by Spartak Trnava of Slovakia losing 1-0 in Trnava and being held in a 1-1 draw in Mostar.
This will be the second visit for HSK Zrinjski to Malta as they were drawn with Marsaxlokk in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006, winning with a 4-1 aggregate score.