Citizens target positive result in San Marino

After setting their sights on a historic place in the third qualifying round of a European competition, Valletta start their adventure in the UEFA Champions League as they face Sammarinese champions SP Tre Fiori at the Stadio Olimpico in Serravalle on Tuesday, kick-off at 20:30, in the first leg of the first qualifying round.

After winning the Premier League title last season, Valletta have strengthened their squad with the signing of three foreigners, namely winger Ousseni Zongo and strikers William Barbosa da Silva and Alfred Effiong.

Dyson Falzon and Cleavon Frendo are back with the squad after being on loan with Hamrun Spartans and Qormi respectively.

The Citizens started the season on a high after winning the Euro Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over Floriana and a 2-2 draw with Birkirkara.

Last season, they were unlucky to be eliminated from the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round on the away goals rule by Polish side Ruch Chorzow following a 1-1 draw at the Centenary Stadium and a goalless draw in Chorzow.

Valletta reached a further round twice. In 1999, they eliminated Barry Town of Wales, holding them in a 0-0 draw away from home and beating them 3-2 at Ta’ Qali. Ten years later, they beat Keflavik of Iceland 3-0 at the Centenary Stadium and then drew 2-2 in Iceland.

For Tre Fiori, this will be their third participation in UEFA competitions. In 2009, they were eliminated from the first qualifying round by Sant Julià of Andorra on penalties following two 1-1 draws. Last year, they lost 0-3 at home to Rudar Pljevlja and 4-1 away from home in the UEFA Champions League first qualifiying round.

Last season, they finished on top of Girone B of the Campionato Sammarinese di Calcio with 39 points, two ahead of Libertas. In the play-offs, they defeated Penna Rossa and Cosmos, beating Tre Penne 1-0 in the final game.

The match will be controlled by referee Alan Muir from Scotland.

The second leg will be played at the Hibernians Stadium on Wednesday 6th July, kick-off at 19:00. The winner of this two-legged clash will be meeting FK Ekranas of Lithuania in the second qualifying round. The first leg would be held at home on July 12/13 and the second would be held in Lithuania on July 19/20.