Gzira United will be hosting Viktoria Plzen of Czechia at the National Stadium on Thursday, kick-off at 19:00 while at the same kick-off time, Hamrun Spartans face Ferencvaros of Hungary at the Groupama Arena in the second legs of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Following a 4-0 win in the first leg at home, Viktoria Plzen have practically sealed qualification to the play-off round where they would be facing FC Tobol Kostanay of Kazakhstan or Irish side Derry City FC. Tobol Kostanay won the first leg at home 1-0.
Likewise Ferencvaros are almost sure of a place in the next round after an impressive 6-1 win in the first leg at Ta’ Qali. The Hungarians would be facing the loser of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round clash between FK Žalgiris Vilnius of Lithuania and BK Häcken of Sweden. The latter won the first leg away from home 3-1 and therefore Žalgiris Vilnius should be facing Ferencvaros in the next round.
Both Gzira and Hamrun will be hoping to end their European commitments on a positive note with a good performance and possibly a positive result.
In fact, despite the heavy defeats in the first legs, this year’s European campaign for Gzira United and Hamrun Spartans should still be considered as quite positive.
The Maroons eliminated Glentoran after the penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw at the Centenary Stadium and a 1-1 draw in Belfast and then went on to eliminate F91 Diddeleng thanks to a 2-0 win at Ta’ Qali and a 1-2 defeat away from home.
On the other hand, the Spartans were paired with Maccabi Haifa, losing 0-4 at the Centenary Stadium and 2-1 in Haifa in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round but then registered two wins over Dinamo Tbilisi, beating them 2-1 at the National Stadium and 1-0 in Tbilisi.
Meanwhile the other two participants in the UEFA Europa Conference League – Birkirkara and Balzan had mixed fortunes. The Stripes drew 1-1 with NK Maribor in the first leg but lost 1-2 in the second leg at the Centenary Stadium while Balzan defeated NK Domzale, beating them 4-1 away from home and losing 1-3 at the Centenary Stadium to reach the second qualifying round where they were eliminated by Neman Grodno following a 2-0 defeat away from home and a goalless draw at the Centenary Stadium.