Hamrun Spartans aiming for a better performance in Haifa

Following a 0-4 defeat to Maccabi Haifa in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round last week in a match which was marred by trouble from the Maccabi Haifa fans which led the game to being interrupted twice, Hamrun Spartans face the Israeli champions in the second leg at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa on Tuesday, kick-off at 19:00. 

In fact, the match will proceed as originally scheduled as UEFA turned down a request by the Spartans to stage the game in a neutral venue.

Meanwhile despite the heavy defeat, the Spartans did create chances thanks to which they could have reduced the gap, especially early in the second half when they even hit the woodwork twice.

Chances of reaching the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League are close to zero after the four goals conceded but a good result in Haifa would act as a morale booster ahead their next European commitment.

In the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, the winning side of this two-legged clash will be facing the winner of the clash between Farul Costanta of Romania and Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova. Farul Costanta won the first leg 1-0.

On the other hand, the team which is eliminated will enter the UEFA Europa Conference League where they would face the loser of the clash between Astana of Kazakhstan and Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia. The first leg in Astana ended in a 1-1 draw.

Maccabi Haifa reached the group stage of the UEFA Cup in 2006/07, UEFA Champions League in 2009/10, UEFA Europa League in 2011/12 and 2013/14, UEFA Europa Conference League in 2021/22 and UEFA Champions League last season. Their best run in Europe was in 1998/99 when they reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup while in 2006/07, they made it to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Cup.

Hamrun, on the other hand, made it to the second round of the Cup Winners Cup in 1984 after eliminating Ballymena United of Northern Ireland while last season, reached the play-off round of the UEFA Europa Conference League after eliminating Alashkert of Armenia, Velez Mostar of Bosnia Herzegovina and Levski Sofia of Bulgaria.