Birkirkara, Mosta hope to retain narrow leads after first leg wins

Birkirkara and Mosta both aim at retaining their narrow one-goal lead as they play the second legs of the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round away from home.

Birkirkara face La Fiorita of San Marino at the San Marino Stadium while Mosta meet Spartak Trnava at the Štadión Antona Malatinského in Trnava, Both matches kick-off at 20:45.

Considering that the away-goals rule was scrapped, all Birkirkara and Mosta need is to avoid a defeat. But definitely, these second legs will be no easy matches.

The Stripes defeated La Fiorita 1-0 in the first leg at the Centenary Stadium last week and will be hoping to secure a spot in a second round of a UEFA competition for the fifth time in the history of the club after eliminating Lokomotiv Tbilisi in 2001, FC Santa Coloma in 2010, FC Ulisses in 2015 and Siroki Brijeg in 2016.

On the other hand, although La Fiorita have been participating regularly in UEFA club competitions since 2012/13, the team from San Marino managed to earn just one draw in a match against Linfield of Northern Ireland so far.

A clash with Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia awaits the Birkirkara or La Fiorita in the next stage.

Meanwhile Mosta’s task is much harder as they take on Spartak Trnava considering the strength and experience of the Slovakian side.

Spartak Trnava were drawn with a Maltese club in a UEFA club competition on another four occasions, each time qualifying to the next round. In 1969/70, they defeated Hibernians with a 6-2 aggregate score in the first round of the Champions Cup, In 1997/98, they eliminated Birkirkara from the UEFA Cup first qualifying round, beating them with a 4-1 aggregate score. In 2014/15, they were drawn again with Hibernians in the first qualifying round of the Europa League beating them with a 9-2 aggregate score while two years later, they were paired with the Paolites once again in the UEFA Europa League, this time beating them with a 6-0 aggregate score.

However Mosta did something the other Maltese teams failed to do against Spartak Trnava – register a win. In fact in the first leg, the Blues stunned them with three goals in the first thirty five minutes although they eventually conceded two for a 3-2 final score.

Over the past ten years, Spartak Trnava, who reached the semi-finals of the Champions Cup in 1968/69, made it to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League once, the third qualifying round of the Europa League three times, reaching the play-off stage in 2011 and 2014 and the group stage in 2018/19.

Mosta or Spartak Trnava will face Sepsi OSK Sfantu Gheorghe of Romania in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.