Valletta aim for third qualifying round spot

A place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League will be at stake as Valletta face Dutch side FC Utrecht at the Mandemakers Stadion in Waalwijk on Thursday, kick-off at 19:30.

A goalless draw in the first leg leaves the clash wide open with the team who emerges as winner facing FK Haugesund of Norway or Lech Poznań of Poland in the next round. Haugesund won the first leg 3-2.

A draw with goals would be enough for Valletta to reach the next stage which would be a first for the Citizens as although they qualified seven times for a second round, they never made it to a third round. Something which only Birkirkara managed to do last season when they eliminated Heart of Midlothian.

In the first leg against Utrecht, Valletta shared the exchanges with their opponents and the draw was a fair result. In this second leg, the Citizens are well aware they would start as the underdogs but know that although it would be difficult, their task is not impossible.

Coach Zoran Popovic is not expected to make any changes to the team which featured in the two-legged clash with SS Folgore of San Marino and the first leg against Utrecht. Henry Bonello, who maintained a clean sheet so far, starts in goal with Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Uchenna Umeh, Joseph Zerafa, Romeu Romao, Claudio Pani, Juan Cruz Gill, Michael Mifsud, Santiago Malano and Maximiliano Velasco.