Hamrun Spartans qualified for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League as they came from behind to beat Alashkert FC of Armenia 4-1 in the second leg of the first qualifying round at a packed Centenary Stadium on Thursday.
The Spartans, therefore, qualify for a second round of a UEFA competition for the second time in the history of the club and will now face Velez Mostar of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Coach Branko Nisevic made just one change, naming Roko Prsa in the starting line-up, instead of Ederson Bruno Domingos.
Hamrun were a better side right during the first half but despite creating a number of chances the Alashkert rear-guard kept them under control.
Against the run of play, Alashkert managed to take the lead three minutes in the second half when off an assist by Khurtsidze, the unmarked Artak Yedigaryan – who had scored the only goal in Yerevan last week – slotted the ball past Bonello.
Hamrun now needed to score two goals to force extra-time as Alashkert were leading 2-0 on aggregate.
On the 55th, Hamrun equalised when off a cross from the right by Jonny, Roko Prsa headed home past the Alashkert goalkeeper.
The Spartans forged ahead on the 63rd when off a corner by Prsa from the right, Ognjen Bjelicic headed the ball home following a deflection by Matthew Guillaumier past goalkeeper Cancerevic.
Hamrun were now brimming with confidence and on the 73rd, Jonny made It 3-1 hitting home past Cancerevic following a cross by Camenzuli from the left.
Two minutes later, the Spartans went 4-1 ahead when off a Roko Prsa freekick, Steve Borg headed the ball down and Ailton Jorge Soares ‘Dodo’ tapped the ball home from close range.
HAMRUN Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Matthew Guillaumier (83’ Matteo Fedele), Elvis Mashike (56’ Igor Nedeljkovic), Ailton Jorge Soares (78’ Bruno Ederson Domingos), Roko Prsa, Ognjen Bjelicic (79’ Rodrigo Callegari Torre), Juan Carlos Corbalan, Jonny, Emerson Marcelina, Ryan Camenzuli.
ALASHKERT Ognjen Cancerevic, Tiago Cameta, Taron Voskanyan, Didier Kadio, Artak Yedigaryan (76’ Faider Burbano), Thiago Galvao (76’ Aleksandre Karapetyan), Artak Grigoryan, David Khurtsidze (83’ Sargis Metoyan), Benik Hovhannisyan (63’ Rumyan Hovsepyan, James, Bladimir Diaz (46’ Ismael Fofana).
Referee: Milos Savovic MNE
Assistant Referees: Nikola Radulovic, Aleksandar Djkanovic MNE
Fourth Official: Predrag Radovanovic MNE