After being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, champions Hibernians take on FCI Levadia Tallinn of Estonia in the first leg of the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off at 20:00.
The Paolites bowed out of the UEFA Champions League after losing 0-3 on aggregate to Shamrock Rovers of Ireland but this competition provides the eliminated teams a second chance.
A positive result is a must for Hibernians in order to maintain hopes alive ahead of the second leg. However, once again, this will be no easy match since their opponents, like Shamrock Rovers, are more match-fit considering that the league in Estonia is half-way through the season. They are currently second, two points behind leaders Flora Tallinn. Ironically, Flora Tallinn had eliminated the Paolites last season from the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.
Coach Andrea Pisanu welcomes back Ferdinando Apap after he served a two-match ban but Andrei Agius, Bjorn Kristensen and new signing Kurt Shaw are still unavailable.
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 team would be facing RFS of Latvia in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.