Birkirkara to face FC Santa Coloma of Andorra

Birkirkara FC will be facing the champions of Andorra, FC Santa Coloma in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. The Stripes will be playing the first leg in Andorra with the second leg being played at home. First qualifying round ties take place on 29/30 June and 6/7 July.

The draw was held at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on Monday.

The winner of this two-legged tie will then face Slovakian champions MŠK Žilina in the second qualifying round. The second round will be staged on 13/14 and 20/21 July.

FC Santa Coloma are the strongest Andorran side in recent times.

They won the championship five times – 2000/01, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2007/08 and 2009/10, the cup eight times (1991, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009) and the Super Cup four times (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008).

This will be their sixth participation in European competitions and are yet to reach a further round in a UEFA competition. They took part in the UEFA Cup four times, losing to FK Partizan Belgrade in 2001, Esbjerg FB of Denmark in 2003, FK Modrica of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004 and Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2007. Against Maccabi, they obtained their best ever result, defeating them 1-0 at home although they lost 4-0 in Tel Aviv.

In 2008, they were eliminated from the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League after losing 2-7 on aggregate to FBK Kaunas of Lithuania.

Should Birkirkara qualify for the next round, MŠK Žilina of Slovakia would be their next opponents. The Stripes would host the first leg at home.

MŠK Žilina were founded in 1909 under the name of Zsolnai Testgyakorlók Köre. The club won its first Slovak championship in 1928 followed by the success in 1929 and was among the most notable teams in Slovakia for almost two decades.

The best achievement in the Czechoslovak League was a third place in 1946/47. In 1961, they reached the final of the National Cup, where they lost to Dukla Prague, but secured a place in the Cup Winners’ Cup. They defeated Olympiacos Piraeus 3-2 and 1-0 to reach the quarter-finals but were knocked-out by Fiorentina despite a 3-2 victory at home as they lost 2-0 in Firenze.

Following dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, MŠK Žilina have been playing in the Slovak Superliga with the exception of 1995-96 season after relegation to the Second Division.

Since 2002, they won five championships and finished runners-up on three occasions. They also won the Slovakian Super Cup three times.

In season 2002/03, they were eliminated by FC Basel in the second qualifying round of the Champions League but the following season, they eliminated Maccabi Tel Aviv. They met Chelsea in the third round of the Champions League, losing 0-5 on aggregate and in the first round of the UEFA Cup, they were eliminated by FC Utrecht.

In 2005, they eliminated FK Baku of Azerbaijan in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup and two years later, they eliminated F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. In the second qualifying round, they were eliminated by Slavia Praha on penalties following two goalless draws.

Their best achievement in Europe was in the UEFA Cup during season 2008/09. They eliminated MTZ-Ripo Minsk of Belarus with a 3-2 aggregate score and Slovan Liberec of the Czech Republic 4-2 on aggregate in the first and second qualifying rounds. In the first round proper they defeated Levski Sofia with a 2-1 aggregate score to reach the group stage. They lost 1-2 to Hamburg at home, 1-0 to Ajax in Amsterdam, were held in a goalless draw by Slavia Praha at home but defeated Aston Villa 2-1 away from home.

Last season, in the UEFA Cup, they eliminated Dacia Chisinau of Moldova and Hajduk Split of Croatia in the second and third qualifying rounds but were then eliminated by Partizan Belgrade.

2010/11 UEFA Champions League first qualifying round draw
First leg: 29/30 June – Second leg: 06/07 July
1 SP Tre Fiori (SMR) v FK Rudar Pljevlja (MNE)
2 FC Santa Coloma (AND) v Birkirkara FC (MLT)

2010/11 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round draw
First leg: 13/14 July – Second leg: 20/21 July
1 SK Liep?jas Metalurgs (LVA) v AC Sparta Praha (CZE)
2 FK Aktobe (KAZ) v FC Olimpi Rustavi (GEO)
3 FC Levadia Tallinn (EST) v Debreceni VSC (HUN)
4 FK Partizan (SRB) v FC Pyunik (ARM)
5 FC Inter Bak? (AZE) v Lech Pozna? (POL)
6 NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) v FC Koper (SVN)
7 PFC Litex Lovech (BUL) v Winners of Match 1
8 Winners of Match 2 v MŠK Žilina (SVK)
9 FC Sheriff (MDA) v KS Dinamo Tirana (ALB)
10 Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC (ISR) v FK Željezni?ar (BIH)
11 AC Omonia (CYP) v FK Renova (MKD)
12 FC Salzburg (AUT) v HB Tórshavn (FRO)
13 Bohemian FC (IRL) v The New Saints FC (WAL)
14 FC BATE Borisov (BLR) v FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)
15 AIK Solna (SWE) v AS Jeunesse Esch (LUX)
16 Linfield FC (NIR) v Rosenborg BK (NOR)
17 FK Ekranas (LTU) v HJK Helsinki (FIN)