Gzira United will be aiming for a positive result in Andorra as they take on UE Sant Julià in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League at the Estadi Nacional in Andorra La Vella on Thursday, kick-off at 18:00.
This will be the second time the Maroons will be facing Sant Julià after the two teams were paired in the preliminary round of the UEFA Europa League. The Maroons won 2-0 in Andorra and 2-1 at the Centenary Stadium to make it to the next round with a 4-1 aggregate score.
Last season, Gzira were lying in third place in the BOV Premier League when the league was interrupted and eventually terminated due to a ban by health authorities on organised sports.
This summer, the club signed a number of promising players including Luke Tabone, Kurt Desira, Clive Gauci and Emmanuel Mbong along with Brazilian left back Thiago Espindola and forward Judivan Flor da Silva.
Sacha Borg, Clyde Borg, Bahrudin Atajic and Filype Pinheiro Mendonca are no longer with the club after their contract expired along with Omar Elouni who was on loan from Sliema. However the backbone of the team, led by coach Darren Abdilla is still there.
Last month, the Maroons played three friendly matches, defeating Hibernians 3-0, Birkirkara 3-0 and Hamrun Spartans 2-1.
Unió Esportiva Sant Julià are based in Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra. They won the Primera Divisió championship twice, finishing eight times as runners-up; the Copa Constitució six times and the Supercopa another six times. Last season, they finished third in the league but won the Copa Constitució after beating Atlètic Club d’Escaldes 2-1.
They have been taking part in UEFA club competitions since 2001, including the now-defunct UEFA Intertoto Cup, qualifying for a second round of a UEFA competition in 2009 when they eliminated Tre Fiori of San Marino on penalties in the UEFA Champions League.
The second leg will be played at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday 15, kick-off at 20:00.
The winner of this two-legged clash will be facing HNK Rijeka of Croatia in the second qualifying round of the competition.