Gzira United marked their return to European football with a fine 2-0 win over UE Sant Julia of Andorra in the first leg of the Preliminary Round of the UEFA Europa League at the Estadi Comunal in Andorra la Vella on Tuesday. A win which puts them as firm favourites to reach the next round.
Rodolfo Soares and Thomas Veronese who joined the club earlier this month were named in the starting line-up by coach Darren Abdilla while Jorginho was included as a substitute.
The Maroons took the lead on the 20th minute when Pedro Munoz brought Amadou Samb down inside the area, the referee ordered a penalty and the Senegalese striker made no mistake.
One minute from the end of the first half, Sant Julia could have equalised when they were awarded a penalty after Rodolfo Soares fouled Ramael inside the area but Joel Mendez hit wide from the penalty spot.
Three minutes from time, the Maroons sealed the issue with a second goal as Andrew Cohen sent Jorginho through on the right and the latter advanced into the area before hitting low past goalkeeper Nico Ratti.
The second leg will be played at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday July 5th. The winner of this two legged tie will be facing FK Radnički Niš of Serbia.
SANT JULIÀ Nico Ratti, Pedro Munoz, Vincent Ramael, Francisco Girau (69’ Luis Blanco), Alberto Molina, Enric Pi, Jonny, Nicolae Vasile, Walter Lee, Joel Mendez (82′ Diego Najera), Jose Antonio Aguilar (87′ Daniel Gonzalez).
GZIRA Justin Haber, Prince Mambouana, Nikolai Muscat (62’ Zachary Scerri), Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Roderick Briffa, Ndubuisi Emmanuel Okoye (70’ Jorge Pereira da Silva), Thomas Veronese, Amadou Samb (90+3′ Luca Brincat).
Referee: Denys Sherman (UKR)
Assistant Referees: Oleksandr Zhukov, Valentyn Kutsev (UKR)
Fourth Official: Mykola Balakin (UKR)