Gzira United face FK Ventspils in UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

After eliminating HNK Hajduk Split thanks to an amazing 3-1 win away from home to go through on the away-goals rule, Gzira United will be facing FK Ventspils of Latvia in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

Ventspils eliminated KF Teuta of Albania with a 3-1 aggregate score. They lost the first leg in Albania 1-0 but at home, they won 3-0.

The first leg will be played in Latvia on July 25 with the return match scheduled for August 1.

FK Ventspils is based in the city of Ventspils in Latvia and is one of the most popular football clubs in the country. The club was founded in 1997 with the merger of two former Ventspils clubs – FK Venta and FK Nafta.

They won six league titles and seven Latvian cups.

In the 2009/10 season FK Ventspils became the first Latvian club to participate in the group stages of UEFA club competitions. They entered the Champions League where they eliminated F91 Dudelange and BATE Borisov but were eliminated in the play-offs by FC Zurich. They moved on to the UEFA Europa League where they finished fourth in a group which included Sporting CP from Portugal, Hertha BSC from Germany and Heerenveen from the Netherlands.

Last season, they took part in the UEFA Europa League where they eliminated Luftetari of Albania with an 8-3 aggregate score in the first qualifying round but lost 0-1 and 1-2 to Bordeaux in the second qualifying round.

Ventspils are currently fourth in the Virsliga on 27 points, eleven behind leaders Riga FC, seven behind second-placed Rigas FS and three behind Spartaks Jurmala. Last year, they finished in the runner-up spot, four points behind champions Riga FC. In the Cup final, they lost on penalties to Riga FC.