Birkirkara registered an impressive 3-1 win over Ulisses FC of Armenia at the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium in Yerevan to qualify for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League following a goalless draw at the Hibernians Stadium last week.
The Stripes will be meeting West Ham United who defeated Lusitanos of Andorra 1-0 in another match on Thursday for a 4-0 aggregate score. The first leg of the second qualifying round is scheduled for next Thursday at the Boleyn Ground subject to confirmation by UEFA.
Coach Giovanni Tedesco adopted a more offensive approach including Fabrizio Miccoli and Edin Murga in the starting line-up, naming Vito Plut among the substitutes. Ini Akpan deputised for the injured Justin Haber.
The hosts held the initiative in the early stages but Birkirkara forged ahead on 21 minutes when Fabrizio Miccoli pounced on an erratic clearance by a defender and beat goalkeeper Beglaryan with a shot from outside the area.
Miccoli could have doubled the score five minutes later but was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a direct freekick from the left. Ulisses replied with a fine Aleksanyan effort which was neutralised in style by Akpan.
One minute from half-time, Birkirkara doubled the score when off a freekick by Miccoli from the right, Mauricio Mazzetti headed home past the Armenian goalkeeper.
The hosts pulled one back on 71 minutes when off a corner by Aleksanyan, Konstantin Morozov flicked the ball past Akpan.
Substitute Terence Vella was sent off for Birkirkara on the 75th minute.
However four minutes later, Birirkara increased the lead when they were awarded a penalty, converted by Paul Fenech.
Ulisses captain Aleksanyan was sent off a minute later following a late tackle on Camenzuli.
ULISSES Arsen Beglaryan, Ivan Mamakhanov, Rade Dugalic, Konstantin Morozov, Levan Dzharkava (70′ Zamir Dzhanashiya), Igor Paderin, David Khurtidze, Irakiy Geperidze, Artak Aleksanyan, Giorgi Khubua, Joel Tshibamba (53′ Nika Piliev).
B’KARA Ini Etim Akpan, Mauricio Mazzetti, Nikola Vukanac, Paul Fenech, Ryan Camenzuli, Joseph Zerafa, Zach Muscat, Rowen Muscat, Fabrizio Miccoli (64′ Edmond Agius), Edin Murga (70′ Terence Vella), Liliu (67′ Vito Plut).
Referee: Nicolas Laforge (BEL)
Assistant Refeees: Laurent Conotte, Danny Huens (BEL)
Fourth Official: Laurent Colemonts (BEL)