Birkirkara eye a place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League as they take on FC Santa Coloma of Andorra in the second leg of the first qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off at 18:00.
A week ago, the terrible pitch conditions at the Estadi Comunal d’ Andorra la Vella forced the UEFA Delegate and the referee to cancel the game and forty-eight hours later, UEFA awarded the Stripes a 3-0 win. A comfortable lead which they need to maintain in order to set-up a clash with the champions of Slovakia, MŠK Žilina.
Tuesday’s game will be the first outing for Paul Zammit’s side after the Euro Cup – a competition in which they suffered two defeats – losing 1-3 to Sliema Wanderers and 0-3 to Valletta. However since then, Birkirkara recovered Rowen Muscat and welcomed back Branko Nisevic. Both players missed the Euro Cup matches.
Should Birkirkara make it to the next stage, this will be the second time, they qualified for a further round in a UEFA competion. In the UEFA Cup 2001/02, they reached the first round proper after defeating FC Lokomotiv Tbilisi of Georgia thanks to the away goals rule following a goalless draw at Ta’ Qali and a 1-1 draw in Tbilisi in the qualifying round. They were then eliminated by Dinamo Moscow, losing with a 0-1 aggregate score.
FC Santa Coloma’s only objective will be that of scoring three or more goals in order to force extra-time or make sure of qualifying for the next stage. With a 3-0 win over, extra-time would be necessary. On the other hand, a 4-1 win would enable them to reach the next stage.The Andorran champions have never reached a further round in European competitions
Birkirkara FC vs FC Santa Coloma will be controlled by Scottish referee Bobby Madden.
Kick-off time is 18:00 (and not 17:30 as originally scheduled). Tickets cost €5.