Gzira United, Hamrun Spartans and champions Hibernians will be in action once again in the coming weeks in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
The Maroons eliminated Atletic Escaldes of Andorra with a 1-0 win after extra-time away from home following the 1-1 draw at the Centenary Stadium while the Spartans came from behind to beat Alashkert of Armenia 4-1 in the second leg after a narrow defeat in Yerevan. On the other hand, Hibernians enter the competition after being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League by Shamrock Rovers of Ireland with a 0-3 aggregate score.
In the second qualifying round, Gzira United will be facing FK Radnicki Nis of Serbia; Hamrun Spartans take on FK Velez Mostar of Bosnia Herzegovina while Hibernians will be playing FCI Levadia Tallinn of Estonia.
The match schedule is as follows:
|Tue 19-Jul-2022||Hibernians FC vs FCI Levadia Tallinn||20:00||Centenary Stadium|
|Thu 21-Jul-2022||FK Velez Mostar vs Hamrun Spartans FC||20:30||Stadion Grbavica|
|Thu 21-Jul-2022||Gzira United FC vs FK Radnicki Nis||19:00||Centenary Stadium|
|Thu 28-Jul-2022||FCI Levadia Tallinn vs Hibernians FC||19:00||A. Le Coq Arena|
|Thu 28-Jul-2022||FK Radnicki Nis vs Gzira United FC||19:00||Stadion Cair|
|Thu 28-Jul-2022||Hamrun Spartans FC vs FK Velez Mostar||20:00||Centenary Stadium|
Fudbalski klub Radnički, commonly known as Radnički Niš, are based in Niš, Serbia. They were founded in 1923 and were one of the most stable clubs in the former Yugoslavia. The team spent a total of 29 seasons in the Yugoslav First League, achieved two 3rd-place finishes in 1980 and 1981, and a runner-up spot in the Serbian Super Liga in 2018/19.
They took part in the UEFA Cup in seasons 1980/81, 1981/82 and 1983/84, their best achievement being reacing the semi-finals in 1981/82 when they lost to Hamburg with a 3-6 aggregate score. They returned to European football in 2018, eliminating Gzira with a 5-0 aggregate score from the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League although they were later eliminated by Maccabi Tel Aviv. In 2019/20, they were eliminated from the first qualifying round by Flora Tallinn of Estonia.
Last season, they placed fourth behind Red Star, Partizan and Cukaricki. The Serbian Super Liga 2022/23 kicked-off during the weekend with Radnicki losing 4-0 to Red Star Belgrade away from home.
Fudbalski klub Velež Mostar are based in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The club has a history of being one of the most successful clubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were founded in 1922.
During the time of former Yugoslavia, Velež was always in the Yugoslav First League and was the most popular and most successful team from Herzegovina to play in the top Yugoslav League. The team was very popular in Herzegovina, but also had fans all over Yugoslavia, and had a mixture of fans from all three main ethnic groups.
They finished as runners-up in the Yugoslav First League three times in 1972/73, 1973/74 and 1986/87, winning the Yugoslav Cup in 1980/81 and 1985/86 and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Cup last season. The team was relegated from the Premijer Liga at the end of season 2015/16 but regained promotion in 2019.
Last season, Velez placed fifth in the league behind Zrinjski, Tuzla City, Borac Banja Luka and Sarajevo but won the Cup after defeating Sarajevo on penalties.
Velez took part in the UEFA Cup four times and in the Cup Winners Cup twice in the seventies and eighties – their best achievement being reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup when they were eliminated by Twente. They returned to Europe last season, taking part in the UEFA Europa Conference League, eliminating Coleiraine of Northern Ireland and AEK Athens of Greece but bowed out after a 2-5 aggregate defeat to IF Elfsborg of Sweden.
Football Club Infonet Levadia Tallinn, commonly known as FCI Levadia, are based in Tallinn, Estonia.
Founded as Levadia in Maardu in 1998, the club moved to Tallinn in 2004. The club has played in the Meistriliiga since the 1999 season and have never been relegated from the Estonian top division. Levadia have won 10 Meistriliiga titles, a record 9 Estonian Cups and 7 Estonian Supercups. In 2017, Levadia’s first team merged with FCI Tallinn, and became FCI Levadia.
Hibernians had ironically played FCI Tallinn in the UEFA Champions League in 2017, winning with a 3-0 aggregate score.
FCI Levadia won the 2021 title after finishing three points clear of Flora Tallinn. They entered the UEFA Champions League this summer in the Preliminary Round, losing 1-6 to Vikingur Reykjavik in the semi-finals.
Their best achievement in Europe is reaching the first round proper of the UEFA Cup after eliminating Haka of Finland and Twente of the Netherlands, losing out to Newcastle United in 2006.
Meanwhile the winning teams would reach the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League. The draws for the third qualifying round will be held on Monday at 14:00.