Gzira, Floriana seek away wins as they target second round spot

After being held in draws in the first leg, Gzira United and Floriana know that only a win on Thursday would put them in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.

The Maroons entertain Andorran side Atletic Club D’Escaldes at the Estadi Nacional in Andorra la Vella while at the Stadionul Zimbru in Chisinau, the Greens face Petrocub-Hincesti of Moldova. Both matches kick-off at 19:00.

After the away-goals rule was abolished, extra time will be played in case of a draw and if required, a penalty shoot-out would follow.

At the Centenary Stadium last week, Gzira United were held in a 1-1 draw by Atletic Escaldes as Jefferson handed them the lead early in the second half but Guillaume Lopez levelled matters just past the hour.

In Andorra, the Maroons need to step up their performance to obtain the result they need to reach the next round.

Gzira will be seeking their fourth qualification to a second round of a European competition after eliminating UE Sant Julia of Andorra in 2018 and Hajduk Split of Croatia in 2019 in the UEFA Europa League and UE Santa Julia once again on penalties in 2021.

The winner will face FK Radnicki Nis of Serbia in the second qualifying round – a team the Maroons have already met in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Greens had to settle for a goalless draw with Petrocub-Hincesti at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday.

Beating Petrocub away from home will be no easy task for Gianluca Atzori’s side but still, it is not an impossible task.

Although they have been participating in European competitions for over sixty years, Floriana managed to qualify for a further round of a European competition on just three occasions. In 1993, they eliminated Ekranas of Lithuania from the Preliminary Round of the Champions Cup; in 1999, they eliminated Aberystwyth Town of Wales from the first round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup while in 2020, they defeated Linfield 1-0 away from home in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, played on a single leg, but were unlucky to be eliminated from the third round by Flora Tallinn of Estonia on penalties.

Winners would face either KF Laçi of Albania or Iskra Danilovgrad of Montenegro. The first leg in Albania also ended in a goalless draw.