Radnicki Nis scored an early goal to beat Gzira United 1-0 in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday to secure a place in the next round with a most comfortable 5-0 aggregate score.
Gzira therefore bow out of the competition after having eliminated UE Sant Julia of Andorra in the preliminary round.
Coach Darren Abdilla made three changes from the team which lost 4-0 in Nis as Tony Curmi, Sacha Borg and Andrew Cohen replaced Justin Haber, Prince Mambouana and Amadou Samb.
The visitors took the lead on the 8th minute when off an Aleksandar Stanisavljevic freekick from the right, Radovan Pankov headed the ball home from close range.
Radnicki maintained the pressure but mid-way through the first half, Roderick Briffa, who established a new record for a Maltese player of 41 appearances in UEFA club competitions, sent Jorginho through but the latter’s attempt was neutralised by goalkeeper Zivkovic and on the half hour, Rodolfo Soares headed high off an inviting freekick by Cohen from the right.
Twenty minutes in the second half, Jorginho’s angled shot from the left beat the Radnicki goalkeeper but the ball ended just wide and in added time, it was Luca Brincat’s header which almost gave the Maroons the equaliser.
GZIRA Tony Curmi, Zach Scerri, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen (65’ Emmanuel Okoye), Juan Carlos Corbalan (82′ Christian Sammut), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Roderick Briffa, Jorge da Silva Pereira (75′ Luca Brincat), Sacha Borg, Thomas Veronese.
RADNICKI Mladen Zivkovic, Radovan Pankov, Aleksandar Todorovski, Marko Mrkic, Aleksandar Stanisavljevic, Djordje Crnomarkovic (34’ Taras Bondarenko), Nermin Haskic (62’ Sladan Nikodijevic), Petar Grbic, Dusan Micic, Ryota Noma, Nikola Stankovic.
Referee: Suren Baliyan (ARM)
Assistant Referees: Erik Arevshatyan, Vanik Simonyan (ARM)
Fourth Official: Artak Simonyan (ARM)